John Smith

Worst Case Scenario

01.12.2023 -

A window overlooking pedestrian and vehicular traffic on a street corner. “Worst Case Scenario” consists of a collection of still images that show daily life on a Viennese street corner and only begin to move carefully as the scene progresses.

John Smith, Worst Case Scenario (still), 2003
John Smith, Worst Case Scenario (still), 2003
John Smith, Worst Case Scenario (still), 2003

A subtle game with the viewer's attention begins, because what happens every day on the street and among passers-by seems to be subject to invisible control. Gradually everything comes to a crescendo towards an unforeseeable event. What moves people so purposefully through the streets? How does the human will work and how does it find its direction?

While the Viennese street scene is already experiencing hectic processes and threatening background noise, the author suddenly appears at the window and admits to the fiction of the video. Is it all just based on a simple error, on the English reading of a Viennese shop sign for “Wurst & Käse” (sausage and cheese)?

Shot over the course of a week from a window overlooking the scene, “Worst Case Scenario” explores the ambiguities of the images. The film develops themes that focus on observing and being observed, distance and uncomfortable closeness. As the static world of the photographs gradually comes to life, the soundtrack opens up another, invisible space and an increasingly unlikely chain of events and relationships begins to unfold.