Another short excerpt from Justin Stephenson‘s terrific film The Complete Works, based on the poetry of bpNichol. (See my post of the “White Sound” excerpt for more about the project, including my thumbnail review of the film.) “In this segment, Nichol reads his visual text, Interrupted Nap. The film translates the reading into an animated sequence,” Stephenson notes on Vimeo. He also has a post on the film’s website which goes into more detail, and includes images of the source text (click through for those).
Interrupted Nap is a recording from the 1982 collection, Ear Rational. In it we hear snippets of a narrative, “Once upon a time…,” which are interrupted by bursts of vocal sounds. It sounds as if the narrator is having difficulty telling the story. The word “aphasia”, the inability to make sense in language or of language, appears at the end of the piece. In Interrupted Nap, either the listener has receptive aphasia, or the narrator has expressive aphasia.
The source text is a series of visual panels that appear to have been reproduced from pages on which someone has used a magic marker to write. The marker has bled through each page to the subsequent pages onto which new material has then been written.
Nichol presents the text as if his visual and speaking faculties operate like the head of a magnetic tape recorder, reading and speaking the information on the page including the “noise” from the marker bleed.