Isabel Barfod’s Margaret Tait Commission ‘How Much Air Lungs Can Hold’ at Glasgow Film Theatre

LUX Scotland are delighted to present Isabel Barfod’s new Margaret Tait Commission ‘How Much Air Lungs Can Hold’ at Glasgow Film Theatre, on the evening of Monday, April 29.

‘How Much Air Lungs Can Hold’ is an intimate gathering of testimony. Composed of experimental animation and audio recordings of conversations with Black swimmers living in Glasgow and London, this film considers the phenomenological resonance that emerges from swimming and its enigmatic relation with Blackness.

Sound recordings of 11 conversations are collaged into a sonic architecture, forming the narrative body of the work, a way to both describe and speculate on the ephemeral states of alteration or transcendence various encounters with water can facilitate. Meditating on how these encounters can be enabled by affirming social practices, and precluded by mechanisms of regulation, coloniality and enclosure.

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Invested in the sensory as an experiential field for staging Black spatial liberation, ‘How Much Air Lungs Can Hold’ applies immersive, abstracted imagery using CGI, traditional 2D animation and underwater footage, performing as witness and respondent to oral testimony and aural experience.

‘How Much Air Lungs Can Hold’ seeks to invoke the aquatic animation of interiority, rememory, non-linearity, entanglement and submergence. Speculative arrangements for Black social life resurface alongside ideas of light:dark, presence:non-presence, legibility:opacity and surface:depth. Probing possibility from embodiment to ask questions of our incommensurable capacity to hold, listen, sense and what it means to bear witness.

Isabel Barfod is an animator and artist based in Glasgow. Working across digital, hand-drawn, 2D and 3D animation, her work is driven by irritation and speculation, looking to process agitations through drawing, scratching and mark making.

Her practice seeks to draw out the ‘hard-to-describe’ micro/experiences, feelings and phenomena associated with moving in and out of private/public space as a Black Queer person. Cloaking figures and gestures in abstraction, she evokes absurd, surreal and racialised social realities residing within the ephemeral encounter. As a means of working through her own uncertainty and frustrations, she images reparative and restitutive possibilities that are collectively-imagined and speculated.

Previous screenings, grants and commissions include: Margaret Tait Commission (2023/24), Edinburgh Film Festival (2023), In Motion Festival London & Rotterdam (2023), Flamin’ Animations Commission with Film London (2022 2023), Screening at London International Animation Festival, Barbican, London (2022), We Are Here Scotland – Creators Fund (2021) Screening at We Are Here Scotland Creators Showcase, Scotland (2022), Tramway TV – Sidesteps (2022), Take Me Somewhere – sendiri by Claricia Parinussa (2021), Screening at Africa in Motion Film Festival – Sidesteps (original), Scotland (2019).

The Margaret Tait Commission is a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film, with support from Creative Scotland.

Free tickets for the screening can be booked here: