Anne Robinson’s new film installation is currently a work in progress, due for completion early autumn 2018. It will be screened at 6CP on Saturday October 6th 3pm during the Atlantic platform in Plymouth

Wakeful: If I sleep I may Be Caught.

Listening to the past

It was a beautiful sight, icicles hanging everywhere – forming over our ship just as the wind had blown the waves and spray.

They had frozen before touching the deck. Icicles formed on the guard rail .. as the sea washed over us.

The ship was covered with snow and ice on the fo’castle. It froze all the oil in the guns. We had to light fires under the guns to warm them. Steam was ordered to be kept during our stay here to keep the torpedoes from freezing in their tubes.

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Wakeful  was sent just a few days after the declaration of ‘peace’ at the November 11th Armistice in 1918, on what was later called the ‘Baltic Cruise’ heading through mine-infested waters, for the Gulf of Finland and Estonia: an illegal war on Bolshevism and a government that feared international solidarity of workers.  Traumatised, but largely silent about his war, the artist’s father shared one(a) single, stark memory of ‘Russian sailors in the ice’, waking her one night as a child to listen to an account of horror, ice and death. This experience shapes the film work: its dreamlike sense of temporality and remembered voices. Engaged in research  decades later, she finds Wakeful and accounts of the voyage in two archived journals from sailors on the same ship, one a wireless telegraph officer, the other a signalman.  One contemporary account of bombardments by Wakeful during this conflict describes ‘human debris in the snow’… ‘Russian sailors in the ice’.

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