St. Petersburg, FL
Greg Smith is a multidisciplinary artist whose work often involves the “artifice mechanic.” A skilled engineer attempting to give structure to his environment, but also a flamboyant performer, he is prone to excesses and at times haplessness. Smith has a PhD in Physics, and indeed his work explores the big questions of our experience. Breakdown Lane (2013) functions as both an exploration, and upending, of the archetypal journey of escapism and independence inherent to the road movie genre, and as a reflection on the video medium itself.
Throughout the absurd narrative, the mechanic (played by Smith) rigorously attempts to maneuver his improbable automobile. The horizon line is referenced throughout the video and the accompanying installation of hand-stitched textiles–even the mechanic’s ruff acts as a makeshift horizon. It is the unattainable destination, highlighting the importance of the journey. As the car continues to breakdown, the mechanic uses video probes to persist in the journey, sending a video stream back to the car’s command center. Here, Smith presents us with the question of how video allows us to experience the world around us.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website