With 238 videos, most of them poetry films, up on Vimeo, the prolific Belgian artist Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon is taking a well-deserved break from videopoetry this year to focus on one of his other passions: composing electronic music. This is one of the last videos he uploaded before his sabbatical, and unusually for him, it uses a text of his own composition, with English subtitles translated by Annmarie Sauer. He’s recycled some footage from Jan Eerala, but everything else—”Words, voice, concept, camera, editing & music”—is his own.
This is something that I think every serious poetry filmmaker should attempt at least once. You don’t have to be an expert poet to make a powerful and effective videopoem; you simply have to have a well-tuned artist’s eye and musician’s ear for what kinds of sequences and juxtapositions work, so that the whole might become greater than the sum of its parts. Marc makes it look easy, but of course it isn’t. Of all the poetry filmmakers I know, he may be the closest to logging those 10,000 hours of practice supposedly required to turn one into a master.