Timothy Smith

PhD Student

2016 - current

Timothy Smith is a London-based artist/filmmaker, creator of multi-award-winning narrative short films such as Attack (2005) and Le Weekend (2007); and more recently, experimental non-narrative films Béton brut (2014) and When we come to it (2015). He obtained his BA(Hons) in Film Production and Animation from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia (where he was born and raised); and his MA in Art and Media Practice at the University of Westminster, in London. From 2008 – 2016 Timothy worked at the British Film Institute. Initially as the Events Programmer for the BFI London Film Festival from 2008-10, returning to the LFF as Production Supervisor for BFI Live in 2011. Subsequently, he worked for the BFI on a part-time basis, producing cinema events, until he began his research degree in 2016 at the University of the Arts London. 


Haptic Aurality and the Queering of Memory: Subversive Methods in Audio-Visual Practice


This practice-based research is concerned with the relationship between sound, memory and various notions of landscape (social, political, cultural, as well as natural and urban) in artists’ moving-image work. Utilising a mixed methodology that combines phenomenology, feminist, cultural and queer theory, as well as recent theoretical work in the fields of sound and memory studies, the research attends to the work of John Akomfrah, Clio Barnard and Patrick Keiller. These artists create affective representations of landscape, informing our understanding of the world and our impact on it. What they also have in common is their unconventional use of sound. The aim is to define and develop a theory of ‘Haptic Aurality’, in line with Laura U Marks’ definition of ‘Haptic Visuality’ in which the eyes feel an image. By prioritising listening and drawing on recent work around memory studies and philosophy of sound perception, the research investigates how sound might engage different sense memories in the audience. Examining the work of Akomfrah, Barnard and Keiller in these terms, further develops the theory to encompass the aesthetic framing of artists’ practice in both cinematic and gallery-based contexts.
Through an ongoing series of audiovisual experiments, both the practice and the research engages with different ‘historical’ and mythological narratives that have previously been presented through a white, heteronormative, patriarchal lens and attempts to subvert them through a 'Queering of Memory’. This is framed within the context of established Queer Theory which argues the necessity, for those who have been oppressed and represented unfairly by history, to engage critically with it.