Monday, 6 October 2008


John Smith. Images from the video series Hotel Diaries (2001-7)

Inseparable from the self 

this camera when filming 

the world at its most extreme...

diary films have an X that keeps 

in place the tension between:

Joke  ⇔  World Events

Self  ⇔  World Events

In realization of itself 

as a performance, diary film

turns everything into STORY

every story into FABLE

so we have this awareness  

it gives all our speech 

a comic timing it looks 

everywhere for the ironic 

juxtaposition we cannot

be more than a prosumer 

now it is October

The performance promises 

significance the performance 

guarantees irrelevance

So, try something else:

A Diary film free of the self

A Diary of the world

to do this we will have to 

look at looking at what 

we do not look at:

An Impossible Diary

the self and world events

past and present

all X, the film 

attempts to make a future

for itself and for

the film maker but

camera won't focus

it is far too busy

making history and

our own past into other

peoples pasts its

alchemy destroys us with 

connection catharsis 

when all that matters:

to watch the film and

to be embarrassed to

watch the film not

recognizing myself


Throughout October the Curzon Soho has organized Notes on the Image: A Season of Diary Films. It began this weekend with a screening, followed by a Q&A, of John Smith's Hotel Diaries, and an evening session juxtaposing the diary informed work of Tracey Emin and Ian Breakwell. It was after these screenings that the above notes were written. 

The season progresses toward screenings of Terence Davies' Of Time And The City and - another! - evening of Jonas Mekas In Conversation. Mekas' concept-manifesto of a CINEMA NATION is also the theme of a new strand of programming at the cinema, which invites both the submission of short films and proposals for future events at