Views from the screening of Words Don’t Come Easy (Hope That You Believe It’s True) (2022) at Hangar, Lisbon 2023
Video, b/w, sound, 2’09’’ (loop)
Variable dimensions

«AnaMary Bilbao builds her visual fictions out of archival footage in an effort to challenge the limits of a single Truth. By abstracting content from origins, she dislodges and rearticulates context. This creates a new vantage point for the viewer to consider these moving images as well as their inscriptions of time-and-place. 

Submarines and life under the sea have been of specific interest within Bilbao’s current headspace, their confidential nature and control structures producing a ripe basis for examination. Some of her recent videos, like Words Don’t Come Easy (Hope That You Believe It’s True) (2022) for example, feature excerpts from archival films that were created in the 1950s. They illustrate oceanic circumstances and a guide for the management of the sea-bound vessels, which are often shrouded in secrecy, per governmental operations.

Words Don’t Come Easy (Hope That You Believe It’s True), is aptly titled as the video features F. R. David’s performance of the song “Words,” which is edited so that the lyric “words don't come easy” repeats over and over again. The linguistic tension is magnified by the spate of letters flashing across the screen, evidently to no end as there is no clear connection between them besides their aesthetic congruence. However, this content was sourced from an archival film which delineates the tactics for controlling and defending against submarines.» By Reilly Davidson, An Ongoing Phenomenological Investigation of the Moving Image. (1)

* The images that one sees in Words Don’t Come Easy (Hope That You Believe It’s True) were taken from an archival film that was found in the public domain and which explains how the so called “secret” operations intended to uncovered / shoot down submarines were carried out. As “silent frames”, they exist in the orginal film but are not visible if you project it at a normal speed. To see these images you have to slow down the projection speed a lot. Together with the fleeting flashes of these stills one hears an insistent beep that recalls failed attempts to communicate with obsolete technologies and the song “Words” performed by F. R. David on repeat. (the artist)

(1) Reilly Davidson is a writer and curator based in New York. She is also the partner/director at Shoot the Lobster.

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