I am an interdisciplinary, research-based artist invested in witnessing what is marked, lost, and lingers in the aftermath of death. In turn, I am interested in how what we inherit from the past shapes our future trajectories. My work responds to sites with histories of decay or haunting: cemeteries, archives of forgotten family images, locked briefcases, retired military barracks, and remnants of ancient earthworks. I imagine each of these subjects as ghostly bodies to access their embedded phenomenological, historical, and subjective knowledge.

My practice begins in the field, whereI utilize a foundational language of drawing to record sensory experiences. I borrow ethnographic strategies from anthropology, folklore, and sociology to collaborate with these locations through walking audits, interviews, and field recordings.Returning to the studio, I apply organizational processes of assemblage, sequencing, and editing to translate what I have collected into hybrid forms of image, performance, and installation. Utilizing the structural apparatus of the map, the archive, and the document, I explore the margins of memory and attempt to communicate felt experience. Abstraction references the slippery aspects of the unknown, and participation becomes a feminist and anti-colonial intervention.I invite the viewer to activate my work through simple acts like the turning ofa book page or picking of a lock. 

Lydia Smith 

Using Format