I Hope I’m Loud when I’m Dead (2018) opens with the voice of the artist describing a panic attack on the London underground. Grainy and anxious images of global events: Brexit, Donald Trump’s election, the climate crisis, the Grenfell tower fire, riots and refugees, flash and flicker on screen, interspersed with personal images drawn from the artist’s by contrast priviledged and comfortable family life. Amidst this daily, relentless and all too familiar spiral of chaos, Gibson’s voice describes the visceral, heightened and porous state of alert that accompanies anxiety: “I can still feel my body except it’s like the skin has gone. It’s all nerve. Edgeless. Pulsating. There’s intense breathlessness.”
I Hope I’m Loud when I’m Dead deals with the tension or porosity between the harshness of global newsfeed and the precarious feeling of protection to be found in intimacy. The film explores the intersection of panic in the face of a future anticipated by current events and the demand for a liveable and sustainable future. A demand that, in Gibson’s case, is amplified by the pressing long-term exigency of motherhood. Standing at this intersection between the global and the domestic, I Hope I’m Loud when I’m Dead is like a spell; an invocation of the voices that make it possible to not surrender to cynicism or despair and to keep afloat the possibility of political response. The poetry of CAConrad and Eileen Myles, (both of whom appear in the film), fragments of poems by Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and Alice Notley, alongside the cinema of Claire Denis and the music by Pauline Oliveiro: become the chorus that sustains the artist in this ambivalent place between love and rage. “Grief, war, destruction, fear, It’s almost all okay because these voices exist.”
These voices form a kind of chosen survival family, an intentional community that the artist shares with the audience in general but with her daughter in particular. “I wanted to put all these voices in one frame for you, so that one day, if needed, you could use them to unwrite whoever it is you’re told you’re supposed to be.” Rather than a survival kit, these companionships function as her poetic survival kin.
Faced with an increasingly turbulent biological, social, political and economic landscape, alongside an irreversibly warming planet, I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Dead takes on renewed relevance. Gibson’s film posits poetry, kinship and the power of collective rhythm as a form of therapeutic appeasement and political action. Indeed in the the last scene in the film, a re-working of the unforgettable ending of Claire Denis’ Beau Travail, in which Denis Lavant dances alone in an empty club; Gibson dances ecstatically with her son allowing us the deep priviledge of an intake of breath: of a few minutes immersed in the pure pleasure of letting go, of abandoning oneself to rythmn and movement.
Beatrice Gibson (1978) is an artist and filmmaker based in London. Her films are improvised and experimental in nature, exploring the attraction between chaos and control during the production process. Drawing on cult figures from experimental music, literature, and poetry, from Cornelius Cardew and Robert Ashley to Kathy Acker and Gertrude Stein, Gibson’s films are citational and participatory. Populated by friends and influences from her immediate community, they often quote and incorporate co-creative and collaborative processes and ideas. Gibson is a two-time winner of the Rotterdam Film Festival’s The Tiger Award for Best Short Film, winner of the Art Basel Baloise Art Prize 2015 and Marian McMahon Akimbo Award for Autobiography, 2019. In 2013 she was nominated for the Max Mara Prize for Women Artists. She has been twice shortlisted for the Jarman Award in 2013 and 2019. Gibson has recently had solo exhibitions at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, (2018) Camden Arts Center, London, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen and Mercer Union, Toronto (2019). Her films have been shown at film festivals around the world, including the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Oberhausen Film Festival, the Courtisane Film Festival , the international documentary film festival Punto De Vista among many others. Her latest film premiered at La Quinzainne des réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival, 2019.
Anna Manubens (1984) is an independent curator and producer with a preference for hybrid roles at the intersection between writing, research, programming, project development, institutional analysis, and exhibitions. She was Head of Public Programs at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain in Bordeaux until 2017 and previously combined her independent activity with teaching at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra with regular work at the artist-run organisation Auguste Orts (Brussels). Her recent exhibitions include Wendelien van Oldenborgh. tono legua boca, CA2M, Madrid (2019); entre, hacia, hasta, para, por, según, sin, EACC, Castellón (2019); Visceral Blue, La Capella, Barcelona (2016); Hacer cuerpo con la máquina: Joachim Koester, Blue Project Foundation, Barcelona (2016); and Contornos de lo Audiovisual (with Soledad Guitiérrez), Tabakalera, San Sebastián (2015).