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LADA Screens: Maxima Smith

Please join us for the screening of Crying with my Family as the third of four LADA Screens events centred around the themes of voice, care and healing.

Maxima Smith’s short film questions the authenticity of emotion as well as the roles we perform within the complex dynamics in our families. Oscillating between absurdity, performativity and intimacy, this performance to camera offers a way to cry together and reflects on the importance of non-verbal communication and somatic processing.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the artist. The audience will also be invited to join Maxima and each other around a table to cut onions and share tears with strangers.

About Crying with my Family

Crying with my Family (2022) questions the authenticity of emotion as well as how non-verbal somatic processing can lead to corporeal catharsis and collective healing. The film is set in the artist’s family home, where she is joined around the kitchen table by her brother and parents. As they follow the direction to cut onions, they begin to produce tears and silently cry.

This work was made within the final few weeks of the artist’s grandfather’s life, and the complex family dynamics surrounding this led to a difficulty in processing emotions during this period. Within this context, the performance uses the camera as an ‘excuse’ to ‘perform’ tears and in turn process corporeally and silently through a collective moment of sadness.

Crying with my Family is imbued with the themes of voice(less) care and healing and proposes that in a world in which everything is processed through language, text and screens, there is irreplaceable importance to being in space with one another, to bypass verbalisation and process somatically, and heal on a cellular level. By keeping the moment non-verbal, free from intricacies or details, Maxima’s hope is that her family can act as a stand-in for whomever is watching, and whomever they would like to cut onions and cry with.

Following the screening, the film will be available to watch online until Saturday 20 April.


Maxima Smith‘s work, primarily based in performances to camera, examines the mediation of the camera and somatic processing, and is influenced by the slippage between sincerity and absurdity. Maxima questions feminine archetypes and roles, critiquing gendered acts such as mimicry to reinforce the performativity of gender. She situates much of her work in the blurred boundary between ‘on’ and ‘off-stage,’ where questions arise of how we act and perform ourselves.

Maxima holds a BA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London (2016) and an MA in Art Praxis from the Dutch Art Institute (2023). After receiving the Queen Mary’s Commission and Award in 2017, she created Ode to a Window Cleaner; a body of work which included a live performance event performed by Danny Collony, as well as a public art work at QMUL, and a multichannel video installation. Maxima has continually shown at the Nunnery Gallery for their recurring moving-image programme, Visions (2022, 2020, 2018). She has exhibited across the UK and has shown internationally at Pixelache2019 in Helsinki; Magazzino Gallery in Venice (2023); and Centrale Fies, Dro (2023), where she performed Crying with Friends. She has an upcoming solo exhibition Crocodile Tears in April 2024 at Asylum Studios in Suffolk.

more about Maxima's work

About LADA Screens

LADA Screens is a series of free, online screenings of seminal performance documentation, works to camera, short films/video and archival footage. It is part of Live Online, LADA’s dedicated space where you can watch short videos and films drawn from LADA’s Study Room or generated through our programmes and initiatives.

Each screening is available to view for a limited time only, and is launched with a live event at our space in Bethnal Green, London.

This film was selected through an open call for short videos and films around the themes of voice, care and healing.

LADA Screens is curated by the Live Art Development Agency (LADA). LADA is a ‘Centre for Live Art’: a knowledge centre, a production centre for programmes and publications, a research centre setting artists and ideas in motion, and an online centre for digital experimentation, representation and dissemination.

more about lada screens

Access information

We kindly ask the attendees of the event to wear masks to protect those who are disproportionately affected by the ongoing pandemic. We have a limited supply of disposable masks available at LADA but only while stocks last.

The film is not captioned but does not contain speech.

LADA and The Garrett Centre are wheelchair accessible by lift and provide gender inclusive bathrooms.

Should you have any particular requirements please email [email protected] and we will be happy to offer further support.


Banner image credit:

Maxima Smith, Crying with my Family (film still), 2022. 4k Video, 09:52

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