Sam Smith, Lithic Choreographies, 2018
Gotland was first discovered by a man named Tjelvar. At that time, the island was so bewitched that it sank beneath the waves each day and rose again at night. This man was the first to bring fire to Gotland, and after, it never sank again.
– Guta Saga: The Tales of the Gutes
Lithic Choreographies is a reading list inspired by Sam Smith’s 2018 film of the same name, shot on the Swedish island of Gotland. Characterised by palaeo-sea-stacks, viking burial sites, quarries and concrete production plants, the island’s geological strata holds the record of Gotland’s evolving materiality from its formation as an equatorial coral reef to its emergence from the sea as a limestone landmass, now host to a Baltic ecosystem. Lithic Choreographies seeks to re-imagine our modes of engagement with and contributions to ecological assemblages, focusing on how minerals are circulated in economic, cultural and agricultural contexts.
Guta Saga: The Tales of the Gutes (Fornsalens Förlag, 2012)
J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World (Harper Perennial, 2010)
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke University Press, 2010)
Nils Bubandt, Elaine Gan, Heather Anne Swanson & Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing (eds.), Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
Sara Eliason, Sunstones and Catskulls: Guide to the Fossils and Geology of Gotland (Fornsalens Förlag, 2000)
Richard Grusin (ed.), Anthropocene Feminism (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (Princeton University Press, 2017)
Jussi Parikka, The Anthrobscene (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
Sam Smith (b. Sydney, Australia) is an artist and filmmaker, and the Co-Director of Obsidian Coast with Nella Aarne – a space for exhibitions, residencies and events in Bradford on Avon, UK – where he lives and works. Querying the manipulations inherent in moving image capture and production, his work brings documentary and archival content in contact with speculative narratives to render visible the connective charges between geological formations, architectural apertures, (cinematic) histories, paranormal entities and unimagined futures.
Smith's films, video installations and live desktop performances have has been presented at numerous international art institutions and film festivals including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, Kai Art Center (Tallinn), Gotland Konstmuseet and Sörmlands Museum (Sweden), Whitechapel Gallery and Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) Moscow International Experimental Film Festival, Les Rencontres Internationales, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts (Hong Kong) De Appel Arts Centre (Amsterdam) E-WERK (Freiburg), Riga International Short Film Festival 2ANNAS, Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Copenhagen), The Telfer Gallery for Glasgow International 2016, Centro de Artes Visuais (Portugal) Australian Centre for Moving Image (Melbourne) KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin) and Art Gallery of NSW (Sydney).