Double Life in REM State by Cindy St. Onge

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A Swoon (Marc Neys) videopoem using a text from the Poetry Storehouse by Cindy St. Onge. Marc used footage by Jan Eerala, Videoblocks and Grant Porter, and says:

Double Life in REM State […] has all the dreamlike quality and strange reality that I look for in a poem. […] The poem was perfect for text on screen (and I love the line ‘Dreams are always about the dreamer’)
I started collecting footage for certain lines (insects, animals, nature, movement, and a few haunting ones)

Meanwhile I also began working on a fitting soundtrack;
[Bandcamp link]

Once I had all my building blocks, I could start ‘composing’.
Image by image, placing lines, adjusting pace,…

It’s what I call fun.

Undersong by Stacey Lynn Brown

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Motionpoems’ latest, a Vimeo Staff Pick, is a pencil animation by Matt Smithson A.K.A. man vs magnet of a poem by Stacey Lynn Brown. Yaa Asantewa provided the voiceover and Joshua Smoak composed the music.

“Citizen journalist” Jeannie E. Roberts conducted interviews for Motionpoems with both the poet and the filmmaker—check them out. Brown says, in part:

“Undersong” is both an elegy and an ode to the poet Jake Adam York, who died at the age of 40 in December 2012. Jake was a poet of extraordinary depth, courage, wisdom, and empathy. His life’s work, a project entitled “Inscriptions for Air,” was an excavation of race and involved writing an elegy for every single man, woman, and child who were martyred in the Civil Rights Movement. He was a white man from Alabama who confronted the challenges and implications and devastation of racism head on, and the literary world is so much richer for his work—and so much more bereft for the work that will not follow.

Poetry is, in many ways, the only language I have at my disposal to say certain things, and this poem is an example of that. As a poet from the South, I wanted to pay homage to the visual landscape that connected us, to evoke the places we’re both from in an effort to encapsulate origin while memorializing just how far from there we journeyed in our thoughts and actions and words.

And Smithson’s description of his process is extremely impressive:

The process of creating the Motionpoem for “Undersong” was two-fold. Once I had decided on a direction and concept, I spent quite a bit of time researching specific locations that I felt best captured the visual quality described in the poem. Traveling through the South, through rural Virginia, North and South Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky, I filmed a variety of places, people, and details that I planned to use in the creation of this Motionpoem. Not every piece of footage was used, but this process helped further connect me to many of the places Stacey Lynn Brown describes, places echoing with a storied past.

The process I used to create the visual style of this Motionpoem involved the labor intensive process of tracing each image by hand to give the piece a handmade quality. Using the filmed footage as a starting point for most of the scenes, I merged the reality with my stylized interpretation, taking creative liberty in the development of each moment.

Read the rest.

Normalization of Deviance by Charlotte Pence

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A new film by artist and poet Dave Richardson using a text and reading by Charlotte Pence. As the Vimeo description notes, “Normalization of Deviance” appears in Pence’s collection Many Small Fires, just out from Black Lawrence Press.

It’s Complicated by Jade Graves

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A love story with a surprise ending from teenage videopoet Jade Graves. This is one of several more videos uploaded to Vimeo by Media Poetry Studio since we ran Erica Goss’s report on the videopoetry summer camp in Moving Poems Magazine.

How many luxury cars in your town? by Daniel H. Dugas

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Newly uploaded to Vimeo, Canadian poet and filmmaker Daniel H. Dugas‘ 2004 experimental videopoem

analyses the traffic on highways and in one projection, merges fragments of vehicles, with lines from the Book One* of Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations. This project looks at the symbolic of cars as an anthropomorphic fantasy of individualism.

The Essence of Instinct by Robert Peake

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The first use of Google Deep Dream technology for poetry film of which I’m aware. American-British poet and filmmaker Robert Peake worked with his usual collaborator, Valerie Kampmeier, who created the soundscape. Robert shared some process notes (along with the text of poem) on his blog:

This film-poem began as an exploration of the possibilities of using Google Deep Dream technology for film. I ran the Deep Dream software on frames of time-lapse clouds. Initial experiments were not deterministic enough, flickering wildly between very different images from frame to frame. I then composited dreamed-upon frames with their siblings to create a kind of motion blur frame, which when dreamed upon a second time created greater continuity both of movement and shape. To create further continuity, I also morphed various dream frames into each other.

The process is an attempt to simulate pareidolia — the phenomenon whereby we “recognise” patterns in random data, which is very much what Deep Dream is doing here, and what we humans do when we see shapes in clouds. The solid, iridescent imagery reminded me of William Blake, but the constantly-changing nature of these creatures made me think of the evolution of species. In researching Charles Darwin’s early life, the poem took shape. Valerie then designed the soundscape to accompany and complete this piece, drawing on her own childhood experience of hearing distant, indistinct voices.

To see more of Robert’s experiments with Deep Dream and morphing technologies, check out his recent uploads to Vimeo.

American House Fire by David Campos

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A highly effective author-made film by the Fresno, California-based poet David Campos. The text originally appeared in Luna Luna.

Thanks to Nicelle Davis for the tip.

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