Artist filmmaker Anne Robinson presents and is in conversation with writer Cherry Smyth about her long-term, multi-disciplinary project Wakeful. Building on a fragmented childhood memory and looking back to a 1918 sea voyage to the Baltic on which her father was ship’s cook, she experiments with film technologies to record time strangely: performers re-inhabit conflict zones and long gone soundscapes seep into the present. Wakeful has been presented as a gallery installation and with live score by percussionist Limpe Fuchs and also Breathing Space.
The screening will also include two films by artist Mairéad McClean: A Line Was Drawn (2019, 14min), exploring how our world is structured through the creation of borders and boundaries limiting movement, thinking, questioning and agency; and No More (2013, 16 mins) considering the introduction of internment without trial in Northern Ireland in 1971, which won the inaugural MAC International Art Prize.
“Anne Robinson’s piece, produced in two distinct iterations both as an essay film and an installation, draws on her father’s experience to expose the way that war and peace intersect through ongoing military interventions – there is no ‘end of the war’ since, as Clausewitz famously had it, war is merely the continuation of politics. As such, Robinson’s work also comments on the contemporary relevance and connection between the Baltic region and world politics. In constructing an artwork that is structured around the excesses of heterogeneity – documentary footage, diary reports, personal reminiscence combined with actors standing in as symbolic figures to the passage of time – Wakeful offers an embodied experience of history that leaks through from the past to resurrect those events and make them vivid; to position and contextualise while sublimating the truth to an experiential understanding and visibility of an event that is disappearing from view.”
From catalogue essay: in the leak of another time, Anne Robinson’s ‘Wakeful’ by Prof. Rachel Garfield of University of Reading and with thanks to APT Gallery, London
Wakeful was produced with support from: Arts Council England, The David Family Foundation and Middlesex University. With thanks to IWM and NMM for archive material and to everyone involved, especially: Limpe Fuchs, Breathing Space, Rachel Garfield and Karina Townsend.
Part of Not Just Me but You Too: Cinemas of Sisterhood, April 2019 – April 2020.
This year-long season of films, entirely by women and gender non-binary filmmakers, covers artists’ and experimental film, documentary and essay film, alongside filmmaker appearances, readings, discussion and guest speakers. Expect programmes dedicated to particular makers, themed programmes with contemporary artists and celebrations of key feminist thinkers, all in dialogue with Pages Cheshire Street, a new independent bookshop dedicated to women and non-binary writers.
Anne Robinson is an artist who lives and works in east London. Her experimental practice is concerned with the perception and politics of time passing and encompasses painting, film and sound. She holds a practice-led PhD on painting, film and time and currently teaches at Middlesex University. Recent works include: Common Birds (2017), Inside Out Blues (2013) and Thrashing in the Static (2014) She has exhibited nationally and internationally, published in journals and has a longstanding engagement with collective practice, including See Red Women’s Workshop. Curatorial projects include: Over Time (2014) and Supernormal festival (2012-16).
Cherry Smyth is an Irish poet and writer, born in Ballymoney, County Antrim and raised in Portstewart. She has written one novel, four collections of poetry, a poetry pamphlet as well as a book, essays and reviews on contemporary visual arts. She has also published short fiction. She is currently working on Famished, a project that explores the Irish Famine and how imperialism helped cause the largest refugee crisis of the 19th century. She collaborates with composer Ed Bennett and vocalist Lauren Kinsella to draw on the power of collective lament, using poetry, music and expanded singing.
Mairéad McClean uses material from a diverse range of sources in her films: found footage, historical and family archives, filmed performances and televisual media, appear in many of her single screen films and installations. Her work often features people as they cope with forms of control. Whether the camera follows actual events or follows enactments by a performer, people are seen to challenge or circumvent authority or to improvise with their own actions. McClean has received a number of awards for her work both in the UK and Ireland. Her video work No More (2013), exploring questions around the introduction of internment without trial in Northern Ireland in 1971, won the inaugural MAC International Art Prize in 2014.