• Alan Smith ACA

Nothing - The first six months

Updated: Jul 18

On the 17th of January 2020 I began collecting three short videos a day of wherever I happened to be. They are mostly collected once a day, although on some days it might happen two or three times, depending on how many ‘nothings’ I came across that I deemed worthy of grabbing.

‘Nothing’ began without any consideration for COVID-19 and demonstrates the importance of casting a net with no knowledge of what might be caught and without consideration for intent, significance or concept. Little could I have known the forthcoming consequence of my new found habit of grabbing 3X 20” videos dovetailing into the new life constraints brought about by Coronavirus. ‘Nothing’ combined with the newly enhanced Covid silence and my solitary, shielding life in Allenheads provided a fresh seeing and listening experience to a place that is my home and workplace.


And as much as I optimistically look forward to the end of COVID-19, ‘Nothing’ will continue through till the 17th of January 2021, illuminating seasonal changes and life shifts that are sure to continue. ‘Nothing’ places me central to the videos, I have to stop, stand, look and listen - as we all have occasion to - and it’s revealed to me how rare it is that we take time to consider the intensity of that privileged, contemplative time to evaluate the depth and relevance that we share with our surroundings.

‘Nothing’ has provided a wonderful way of watching time pass and has reconnected me with the place I have lived for the last 30 years, the place I had become too familiar with and I shamefully recall moments of telling people that I had become bored with our surrounding landscape, its beauty had become invisible after such an extended period in it, I had stopped seeing it.

Now rewired through collecting the ‘Nothings’ I am astounded with the immense power that each set of three videos contain to trigger detailed and specific memories of each location; time, feelings and happenings of those short periods in a day filming (one minute for the 3). The six months has been a living time time-lapse of seeing seasonal change, plant growth and meteorological movement across this small part of the planet.


In this video a new video appears every 2:4” and remains visible for 19:08”, apparently the average length of time spent looking at an artwork in a gallery.



© 2018 Allenheads Contemporary Arts, Allenheads, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 9HR

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