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Frozen War

(Ireland, October 8th 2001) SD video, 11 mins, colour, sound
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A disorientating experience while attempting to watch the TV news in an Irish hotel room triggers a spontaneous response to the bombing of Afghanistan.

“The news is on, and it is the day after bombing began in Afghanistan: oddly, the picture is frozen at 1:41am on a talking head giving, presumably, their opinion on the then new conflict. It shares with all Smith’s work a droll and deadpan humour, whilst managing to also convey the anxiety of an individual whose government has just declared war on another country. At the end of the video, Smith turns his camera on one of those stool-like bits of furniture found in hotel rooms for resting suitcases on top: ‘What a fucking useless bit of furniture…’ he states – a nice bit of bathos deflating the pathos of his war worries.”  Dan Fox, Frieze magazine

“Filmed less than a month after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, this film finds a profound metaphor for the discomfort and dread provoked by those events – and their aftermath.”   Adrian Danks, Senses of Cinema

“In Frozen War, UK artist John Smith, holed up in a hotel room far from home, turns the tables on the TV news as he starts to ask the questions they never do.” Abina Manning, programme notes for Video Mundi Film Festival, Chicago


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