Paul Antick’s Research Product #4: The Aestheticization of Smith –featuring actor Raymond Waring (24 Hour Party People, The Cock and Bull Story, 28 Weeks Later) and journalist and writer Iain Miller – is a 45 minute performance piece with two chairs, a table, a screen, three voices and some photographs. It recounts the story of Smith, a fictional photographer and university lecturer, who in 2009 exhibited Research Product #4 in a small park on the outskirts of the medieval Polish city of Toruń. Smith’s exhibition was composed of seven billboard posters, each of which contained an unremarkable colour portrait of a person, or small group of persons, either in or in the vicinity of one of the following ’museums’: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibor and Madjanak.
Narrated by the fictional anthropologist Willing (Raymond Waring), this performance will address a number of related incidents: Smith’s appropriation of an image purportedly taken in 1941 by a German soldier called Wily Georg in the Warsaw ghetto; the experience of Holocaust tourism – (that’s to say, Smith’s experience of Holocaust tourism); the uses of photography by a Holocaust tourist – (that’s to say, Smith’s uses of it); the consumption of photography in a public place in Poland; and the connection between Research Product #4 and the commodification of knowledge, including photography, in a notional British university.
Note that Smith’s project bears a resemblance to Paul Antick’s own itourist?, a public art project originally commissioned in 2006 by John Hansard Gallery (UK) and subsequently also staged in 2009 in a small park somewhere in Poland.
Research Product #4: The Aestheticization of Smith is one of a series of recent documentary-fiction projects by Paul Antick featuring the photographer Smith and the anthropologist Willing, who’s current research involves ‘identifying the ways in which Smith behaves in challenging environments and difficult situations’. Other projects in the series include: Smith’s Tour Favela, Smith in Palestine (to be read aloud in its entirety) and Bhopal to Bridgehampton: Schema for a Disaster Tourism Event (see April 2013 issue of Journal of Visual Culture).
The piece will be performed on Saturday 8th June at 1pm at Belfast Exposed. For more information visit http://www.belfastexposed.org/