This is Drive, a remix by Daniel Cantagallo of Robert Creeley’s poem I Know a Man. The poet’s reading is a bit stilted, pausing for the enjambed line breaks (not reproduced by the text on screen here) that were so central to his style, but somehow it makes a perfect fit with the music (“Red Tide” by loscil) and the full-tilt footage. Quoting Cantagallo’s description:
There’s always been something deeply existential about driving…the open road, the possibilty of escape from identity…and of course the threat of death by accident.
In Robert Creeley’s most famous poem, “I Know A Man”, the speaker contemplates what we can do against the darkness and chaos of modern life.
In this cheeky and moody remix, I use a recording of Robert Creeley reading his poem juxtaposed with a 1951 government public information series on automobile safety and the dangers of driving at night.
Driving on the Highway can be watched in all its glory on the Internet Archive. The National Archives description:
TRAINING FILM: On techniques on driving on highway. Sixty percent of all accidents happen at night because of poor visability and fatigue. Reduce speed, use headlights and avoid using interior lights at night.
A video remix by Othniel Smith for Lucy English’s Book of Hours project, with her reading as the only soundtrack. Smith notes in the description that he sourced the imagery from a 1961 film produced by General Motors called A Touch of Magic. Intrigued, I found a Wikipedia page for it. It included the immortal lines:
This dream house you and I will share
Was planned for us by Frigidaire.
A half-century from now, will our contemporary techno-utopian fantasies seem as corn-ball and melancholy as this does now? Nothing ages as poorly as modernism — or is better suited for recycling into poems, especially one as wistful and gently ironic as this.
My latest Moving Poems production remixes a translation I made of a poem by the great, 20th-century Mexican writer Rosario Castellanos with footage of a performance art piece. I found the latter on Videezy: two clips licensed CC0, i.e. public domain, but I still think it’s important to acknowledge the original director, Derek Alan Rowe—especially since I made so few changes to his clips—as well as the artist/performer, Stephanie Leathers. In place of the original soundtrack, which was more atmospheric, I hit on the idea of using a tango (for hopefully obvious reasons), and found a Creative Commons-licensed one on SoundCloud that I liked by an Iranian musician named Roozbeh Fallah. As usual, my tools were basic: Magix Movie Edit Pro and Audacity.
A gorgeous poetry video by artist Jennifer Stock, who calls it “An audiovisual illumination of the poem “Tungaska” by Vicki Kennelly Stock. Music and video by Jennifer Stock.” According to her website, she “recorded found sounds and my own piano music and processed with software I built in Max/MSP. I recorded the video on an Iphone and processed with custom software built in Jitter.”
A pair of videos by Mark “Sparky” Tuson documenting a fascinating public poetry-ish project in Manchester a few years ago.
Artist Micah Purnell writes an ‘open letter’ on billboards to make you think. Twenty-one billboards in Manchester will display artwork that discuss some of the challenges facing consumers of Western progress. 24 March 2014 – 7 April 2014
Sadly, the project’s website is no longer online, but you can still read an article about the installation by Kate Feld at creativetourist.com.
[Purnell’s] messages draw a lot of their inspiration from Oliver James’ book Affluenza: How to Be Successful and Stay Sane, a bleakly brilliant polemic against a society infected by rampant capitalism. Basically, James says, the richer we get, the unhappier and more anxious we become. The more things we have, the less we value ourselves, the more we seek satisfaction through buying stuff and attempting to conform to impossible aspirations, put in our minds with the express purpose of turning a profit. To see these messages sprout in advertising space seems deliciously provocative.