Emma Smith: Playback

London-based artist Emma Smith undertook a one year fellowship in the context of the Communal Knowledge programme. During this time Smith worked on a research project: Public Relations, and a commission for new work: Playback.

Playback explores the exchange of tacit knowledge and intuited response in relation to place within the locality of The Showroom. Using storytelling as a form through which to share knowledge, the project was developed through a series of research workshops in which tales were collected and exchanged, and turned into a series of scripts.

Collaborative processes are at the heart of this project, as Emma Smith worked with local groups of students to collect and share narratives embedded in The Showroom’s immediate neighbourhood. A research team that included pupils from Quintin Kynaston School is integral to the project; gathering narratives with local groups in the area and through street interviews with members of the public.

Twenty fictitious monologues based on responsive actions from the stories collected are displayed in the gallery, which is set up as a reading room and performance space. The public are invited to construct their own short plays by playing out a chosen role from the available narratives.

The discussion series Public Relations continued throughout the exhibition alongside a series of scheduled workshops for members of the public to enact the work within larger groups.

Playback is a collaborative project led by artist Emma Smith. Translators: Mahdi Fleifel, Shuncai Wang and Shadha Neiroukh. Research Development: Ewa Wisniewska, Quintin Kynaston School, Denis Kane, 60 Penfold Street, Emma Duff and Barnabus group. Performance Development: Richard Sumitro, Becki Lunn and DreamArts.

Playback and Public Relations form part of a series of participation-based commissions under the umbrella title of Communal Knowledge.

Communal Knowledge is supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, John Lyon’s Charity and Westminster Arts. Playback been carried out within the framework of ‘Survival Kit. Art linking society, knowledge and activism’, with the support of the Culture 2007–2013 programme of the European Union.


We use cookies to remember if you logged in or if you’ve interacted with the newsletter subscription form.
Pages that have embedded media such as YouTube videos or Spotify playlists require third party cookies to function.