'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 fragmented memory and ’hidden history’ from a century ago, Wakeful is a new artists’ moving image work about listening to the past. The artist has worked with international collaborators, using voice and percussive sound.
Wakeful was sent off within days 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 the 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. 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, Cafe Oto and on board art space LV21, coinciding with the centenary of ‘the end of war’ the work will be shown as a video installation in the gallery for two weeks accompanied by research material. During the show, there will be a gig with live score by German percussionist Limpe Fuchs and a panel discussion on artists’ responses to war legacies, intergenerational memory and nonviolence.