An animated poem with text and voiceover by David Olimpio and animation and direction by Efrat Dahan. It was made as part Moving Words, a project from the New Jersey-based organization ARTS By The People pairing American writers with animators from the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv. The international premiere of the 2017 animations in Tel Aviv has already happened (August 11), but the US premiere is still up-coming on Sept. 9 at Drew University. (Reserve tickets.) Olimpio told me in an email:
What ABTP is trying to do with the “Moving Words” project is to not only make these stand-alone animation pieces, but also to integrate them with live performances. Here’s the video of me performing this piece live at the Animix Animation Festival in Tel Aviv, where this animation was one of many featured the day before.
Integrating multimedia with live readings is something poets don’t do nearly enough, in my view, and I’ve also long felt that there ought to be more efforts to get university film and animation students to collaborate with poets, so I was excited to learn about Moving Words. (I also really like their name, for some reason.)
A fascinating multimedia project from artist-poet Holly Corfield Carr. Her description on Vimeo:
A harbour travels around a line. The line travels around a boat. The boat travels around your body, star-jumping in the water’s private weather. Written through the rhythms of Bristol’s last shantyman, Stanley Slade, Aft is a sightseeing trip with the ferryman across Bristol’s Floating Harbour.
Commissioned by Spike Island with Bristol Ferry Boats as part of the Spike Open 2015.
Own binoculars and someone else’s obol recommended.
Carr goes into more detail about the project in a blog post:
I have to thank Spike Island and Bristol Ferry for commissioning this poem for Matilda, the Bristol Ferry boat that chugs brightly across the Floating Harbour from Temple Meads to Hotwells, via the city centre, Spike Island, Arnolfini and SS Great Britain. It was a proper joy of a project and thanks to the patience of the crew and passengers, I took several trips to watch the city from the water, standing at the back window, feeling the engine’s rhythm in my feet. I composed much of the poem on site, on the boat, measuring my line to the cm width of the window.
I started to listen to the sea shanties of the Bristol sailor Stanley Slade, which were recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1950 and are now held in the British Library’s sound archive, and let the length of the halyard’s lines also instruct the breath and breadth of the poem that was then transferred directly, in Bristol Ferry yellow, to the windows of Matilda.
At first, I saw the couplets banding around the cabin as a two-level Plimsoll line, a measure of the rising waters (or a sinking boat), or as a twin rope, each a precaution against the severance of the other. Certainly on the page, the poem presents its shortening of breath much more clearly and you can read the full text here.
But on the boat, it wasn’t all visible at once. Walking the line to read the poem across the wide windows, rocking back a little to read the second line from where the first line landed you, and all the while reading as the boat pulls you across the water, makes something knotty of the reader.
As you read, the city interrupts, aligns your reader’s attention with the sudden sight of mooning stags, lads! lads! lads! on tour, traffic on the bridge, seagulls lifting in the wake of another ferry, the train, kayaks and paddles and sunburned backs, a tiny flotilla of crisp packets.
First, a translation by Manolis Aligizakis included in the Vimeo description:
There is a door in the night that only the blind see,
darkness makes the animals hear better,
and him, staggered, not from being drunk,
but from his futile effort to climb
up to the tower we once lost.
And now for the rest of the description:
An animated interpretation of the Greek poet Tasos Livaditis’s “Night,” Afroditi Bitzouni conceived her video “when my laptop was broken.” “At that time,” she explains, “there was nothing better to do other than flipping the pages of my fairytales and reading my favorite poems. I was reading [the poem ‘Night,’] every night for months. The illustrations [in my video] were based on a drawing I had done on the bottom of the poem in the book.”
Afroditi Bitzouni is a member of Indyvisuals Design Collective. She studied Product and Systems Design Engineering at The University of the Aegean, as well as Animation at The Glasgow School of Art. Her work has appeared in the Athens Video Art Festival, LPM (Live Performers Meeting), the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, and other venues.
The sound was produced by DJ Enthro of Psyclinic Tactix.
There isn’t much about Livaditis on the web in English, but I found this blog post helpful.
Tasos Livaditis (Athens, 1922-1988) was a Greek poet. Livaditis studied law at Athens University, but soon his gift for creating poetry was discovered. He had a strong political commitment in the political left movement, and because of that he was condemned, led to exile and has been kept in prison from 1947 till 1951, among others on the island of torture Makronisos, together with Yannis Ritsos, Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Katrakis.
In 1946 the journal Elefthera Grammata published a first article . In 1952 his first volume of poems appeared battle on the edge of the night. Between 1954 and 1980 he worked as a literary critic for the newspaper Avgi. Some of his books were banned in the 1950s because of their seditious content.
Tasos Livaditis got a number of national and international awards for his poetry and was considered one of the outstanding Greek poets of the last century.
The video was uploaded by Tin House, a well-regarded print literary magazine with a growing online component, including a weekly series called Tin House Reels, where this video was featured on January 9th. Tin House Reels features “videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words,” and is open to video submissions (though for some reason only of work that has not previously appeared on the web).