Filmed from the artist’s window during the first English lockdown, ‘Citadel’ combines short fragments from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speeches relating to coronavirus with views of the London skyline. Recognising the government’s decision to place business interests before public health, it relocates the centre of power from Parliament to the financial district of the City of London. Presenting the city as a site of both horror and aesthetic beauty, the film documents the dramatic effects of changing light conditions upon its architecture. Shifting its focus from the city’s gleaming skyscrapers to the inhabitants of the dense urban housing that lies in their shadow, ‘Citadel’ contrasts faceless corporate power with the particularities of individual lives.
‘Now you see it … then back into the shadows … the real centre of government power and policy … John Smith’s brilliantly incisive chronicle of the covid catastrophe viewed from his window with damning soundtrack from the PM.’ Louisa Buck
Commissioned for ‘Paranoia TV’ by Steirischer Herbst ’20, Graz, Austria