John Smith- ‘The Girl Chewing Gum’ (1976)
‘The Girl Chewing Gum’ is a 12 minute long Avant-Garde film directed by John Smith in 1976. Smith was born in Walthamstow, London in 1952. He studied at North-East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, before becoming an active member of the London Filmmakers’ Co-op. He was inspired greatly by conceptual art and structural film as well as spoken narrative. His work has challenged the typically perceived boundaries between the abstract and documentary. He has made over 60 films and installations that have shown in independent venues all around the world and has won several awards for his art. ‘The Girl Chewing Gum’ was one of Smith’s most iconic works, being considered by many as one of the most influential Avant-Garde films. The film shows a busy street in Hackney, London with people going about their everyday life, and Smith’s voice is heard over the footage as if he is instructing the people on a film set, however, we later see that the director is actually stood 15 miles away in a field as the voice-over becomes increasingly unreliable and unbelievable. I think that this creates a sense of shock due to the juxtaposition between the busy city street and the calmness of the field.
For my project I am planning to investigate purple. It is my favourite colour and has been for as long as I can remember and I own a lot of purple items and clothes. I plan to start by just taking some photographs of purple things I own and possibly creating a mood board to display these. I am also watching a series of YouTube videos interviewing women who are ‘addicted’ to different colours. I think it’s interesting to see their perspectives, why they love the colour so much and what it means to them.
These photos are of some of the purple items that I have. It’s definitely not all of them so I plan to take a lot more pictures. I also want to use paint to make colour palette sheets.