Dir: Beatrice Gibson

United States of America (USA) United Kingdom (UK)




This programme explores abstraction as subject and form, looking at music, money, numbers and narrative through the frame of experimental cinema.

It opens with Tony Conrad’s Cycles of 3s and 7s, in which the harmonic intervals ordinarily performed by a musical instrument are represented through the computation of their arithmetic relationships or frequency ratios.

In Gibson’s two most recent films, F For Fibonacci and Crippled Symmetries, abstract financial flows are connected to the avant-garde musical works of John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and the New York school.

American artist Laida Lertxundi’s Vivir Para Vivir deploys similar algorithmic structuring principles and is likewise inspired by a cinema that manages to simultaneously dismantle character and rouse empathy.

Mary Helena Clark’s trance-like Sound Over Water, meanwhile, pulsates between abstract hues of sky and sea and fragments of a forgotten whale-watching trip, discernible on the horizon.

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Cycles of 3s and 7s

Tony Conrad / USA / 1976 / 12 minute excerpt from 31 minutes

A performance in which the harmonic intervals that would ordinarily be performed by a musical instrument are represented through the computation of their arithmetic relationships or frequency ratios.

Conrad and the other members of the Theater of Eternal Music composed and performed ‘dream music’ in the early ‘60s: a seminal group which was a major influence on what became known as minimalist music.

F for Fibonacci

Beatrice Gibson / UK / 2014 / 16 minutes

F for Fibonacci develops a particular episode from William Gaddis’ eerily prescient modernist novel JR (1975) in which a televised music lesson is scrambled with a maths class on derivatives inside the mind of its child protagonist.

Musings on aleatory music become muddled with virtual stock pickings and a theory of ‘market noise’. Unfolding through the modular machine aesthetics of the video game Minecraft, text book geometries, graphic scores and images from physics experiments blend with images from Wall Street: stock market crashes, trading pits and algorithms.

Vivir para Vivir (Live to Live)

Laida Lertxundi / USA / 2015 / 11 minutes

A certain trajectory of being lost is drawn across sparsely populated mountain regions while physical processes from heartbeat to orgasm shape image, sound and colour patterns until the horizon is reached.

Sound Over Water

Mary Helena Clark / USA / 2009 / 6 minutes

‘The sky and the sea meet in the deep blue Sound Over Water. A prolonged underwater evocation in which the floating particles and schools of fish combine with the stains and grains on the emulsion of the 16mm film.’ IFF Rotterdam

Crippled Symmetries

Beatrice Gibson / UK / 2015 / 25 minutes

A precocious 11-year-old capitalist and his sidekick, an ailing composer, are the two unlikely protagonists of this experimental meditation on money, music and abstraction in post-crisis Britain. A companion piece to F for Fibonacci, Crippled Symmetries draws on many of the same elements, including its soundtrack and cast, from a four-day experimental music workshop conceived and run by Gibson and composer Anton Lukoszevieze, and staged at an adventure playground in east London.

About the artist

Beatrice Gibson (b.1978) is an artist who lives and works in London. She has exhibited widely, including recent solo shows at Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and Art Basel (both 2015); Laura Bartlett Gallery, (2014); The Showroom, London (2012); and Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart (2010). Her work has also shown at film festivals internationally, including International Film Festival Rotterdam, London Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and others. She was shortlisted for the MaxMara Art Prize for Women in 2013 and in 2015 won the 17th Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel.

Release supported by

Arts Council England

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