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screen copyWakeful (2018) A new artists’ moving image work on war trauma, nonviolence and listening to the past.

‘If I Sleep, I May be Caught’: the motto of HMS Wakeful a WW1 destroyer, built on Red Clydeside in 1917 on which the artist’s father was ship’s cook. Drawing on a fragmented childhood memory and ‘hidden history’ from a century ago, Wakeful is a new artists’ moving image work about listening to the past. Percussive sound has been constructed for the work with international collaborators, considering the ‘peace’ one hundred years on.

HMS Wakeful was sent off within days after of the November 1918 Armistice on what was later called the ‘Baltic Cruise’ through mine-infested waters, from Rosyth to the Gulf of Finland and Estonia: an illegal war on Bolshevism and a government that feared international solidarity of workers. Today, the arms trade brings in cash and scatters human debris and the seas are still the site of conflict as the displaced pass through contested waters. Wakeful experiments with film technologies to record the passing of time as performers re-inhabit the past, the landscapes of war give up their dead and soundscapes of the past seep into the present.

The artist has followed a single memory fragment of her father speaking about ‘Russian sailors in the ice’ travelling to Estonia and Russia and transcribing sailors’ diaries:accounts of a concert on board on Christmas day in Tallin harbour, and the capture of ‘admiral’ Raskolnikov, a leading Bolshevik.. While Wakeful was away, Britain was as close to revolution as it has ever been, with troops deployed against protestors in Glasgow and Liverpool.

At APT Gallery and on board art space LV21 this autumn and coinciding with the centenary of the core events of this narrative, the piece will be shown as a video installation in the gallery for two weeks accompanied by historical research material from the project.  During the show, there will be gigs with live score by German percussionist Limpe Fuchs and a panel discussion on artists’ responses to war legacies, intergenerational memory and nonviolence.

Video Trailer:

First screenings and events: October – December 2018.

Wakeful: If I Sleep I May Be Caught.  New work by Anne Robinson at APT Gallery:

9th-18th November, 2018, gallery open 12-6pm, Thursday – Sunday.



Screening in Plymouth at 6CP art Space, 3pm Saturday 6th October.

APT Private View: Thursday 8th November, 6pm – 8pm at APT Gallery

Screening with live score performed by Limpe Fuchs, Saturday 10th November, 7pm-9pm at APT

Screening with live score by Limpe Fuchs and guests, Cafe Oto, Sunday 11th November, 2pm. (ticketed: booking via Cafe Oto).

Gallery discussion on artists’ responses to the legacies of war: Saturday 17th November, from 3pm to 6pm at APT

Artist tour of Wakeful project, Sunday 18th November, 2-5pm at APT

Screening and events on board Lightship art space: LV21, Gravesend on the evening of Friday 7th/daytime Saturday 8th December: more info at: LV21


Art in Perpetuity Trust
Harold Wharf
6 Creekside
London SE8 4SA

Registered Charity No. 1045363

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Wakeful has received generous support from: Arts Council England, Middlesex University and the David Family Foundation.


The artist gratefully acknowledges the following amazing individuals who have supported this project and made it possible:

Limpe Fuchs, Breathing Space Collective, Anna Hints, Jurri Metssalu, Oligarkh, Helen Spackman, Karina Townsend, Edwin Mingard, Erin Hopkins, Martha K. Luigujõe, Ian Thompson, Paivi Seppala, Charlie Fox, Jaime Rory Lucy, Nayomi Roshini, Zane Dedlow,  Kareem Dorman, Omari Carter, Louie Keen, Leto Dietrich, Oier Sola, Neus Gil Cortés, Charlie Woods, Gareth Evans, Liz May, Rachel Garfield, Veronique Chance, Andrea Luka-Zimmerman, Margareta Kern, Jo David, Middlesex University, Arts Council England, Arto Oll, Eda and Karl, Naissaar, Andy Diagram, Caroline Sheldon, Kay Walsh, Charlotte Squire and of course everyone who supported the crowdfunder!

And the following organisations: APT Gallery, LV21, Cafe Oto, The Imperial War Museum and Mr John Hunter., The Caird Library, RMG, National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive, EFA, National Maritime Museum of Estonia, Clydebank Museum, Verso, Bloomsbury, Taylor and Francis, New Society, The National Archives.

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Wakeful in progress: 2017-18

One of the first screenings for Wakeful will be on ‘armistice day 2018, the centenary of the ‘end of war’, at Cafe Oto with live score by percussionist Limpe Fuchs.

As I was writing the final sections of voice over, the UK decided to send hundreds of troops back in to the ‘stalemate’ of Afghanistan to ‘match’ the 4000 sent by America. There are wars in Iraq, Palestine, Syria. Myanmar, Darfur, Yemen, Ukraine, Kashmir and some fifty other countries with more than 11,000 estimated deaths through conflict within the past year.

According to the campaign against the arms trade: this ‘ is dominated by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, UK and the US, along with Germany and, increasingly, Israel. The permanent members alone account for around three quarters of exported arms.’

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If I sleep, I may be caught… the motto of HMS Wakeful, a WW1 destroyer on which my father was ship’s cook, sent off in November 1918 just days after the armistice to fight Bolsheviks in the Gulf of Finland. 

Wakeful is a work about listening to the past and being vigilant. Film records the passing of time experimentally: the sorcery of catching frames, slowly, outside the minutes and hours of history, shifting lenses in ritual movement: strange time travel and the crossing of temporal borders. We walk, as vigilambulists, awakened through the past, softly, softly, listening to the brutal rivet sparks of human-machines that make war move across the seas, to all the sparkling bones of the lost boys dispatched in ships to hell and ice and killing and to their brothers across false borderlines in fluid depths. Awake, we listen to the voices raised in worksong, sailor song, love song, shot through with cold or heat or fear, later strained away to the silence of trauma. Lyric sounds move us beyond language rationally comprehended and voices soar, refusing borderlines. Noise echoes, the voice comes through in body-remembered songs, felt deep and raised again. 

And with their blood they were to colour red
A shore that neither owned. I hear it said
That they were forced to kill each other. True
My only question is: who forced them to?
Bertolt  Brecht, from: War Primer

This new, experimental work in progress  considers the ‘peace’ 100 years on: working as a filmmaker in collaboration with sound artists from Estonia, Russia, Germany and the UK to explore and reflect on pacifism, loss, war trauma, voice and inter-generational memory. My father was traumatised but largely silent about his war experience apart from one single, stark memory, related in a drunk delirium: of ‘Russian sailors in the ice.’

There will be two versions of Wakeful: one of these will be a single screen, experimental film work, including sound mixed from the collaborations. approx. 30 minutes which may be screened in cinema, gallery, educational or community settings. The other will have the material edited in a longer, expanded version, which will work across more than one screen and which may either be shown with the existing sound or in a ‘gig’ context with a live score performed by sound artists.

If I sleep, I may yet dream. If we sing, we may be heard. The sea, always in motion: and voices fluid. Borders in the sea are an impossibility and we may overflow them.

Still image from Scottish Screen Archives


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