A simple but perfect animation of an Anne Sexton poem by Montreal-based multi-disciplinary artist Ohara Hale, with Maria Popova of the venerable Brain Pickings blog supplying the voiceover. It’s been viewed 136,000 times since Hale posted it to Vimeo in May of 2015. Popova blogged about their collaboration — a great post, too long to reproduce here. A snippet:
Hale’s concept, predicated on the mesmerism of angles, was inspired by legendary neurologist Oliver Sacks and his work on how the blind see the world. It sparked in her a fascination with how they construct a kaleidoscope of angularity, which led her to imagine how a dog is perceived not as a single dog but as a million dogs, each “seen” from a different angle. Many of the angles don’t resemble a “dog” in the pictorial sense but still contribute to the understanding of what a dog is.
This way of deconstructing the world into fragments and reconstructing them into a wholeness of understanding is so different from how we see via regular vision that, as Dr. Sacks so movingly wrote in The Mind’s Eye, the newly sighted are often utterly overwhelmed by having to process information in this new way and revert to “blindness,” closing their eyes and continuing to navigate the world scanning for angles.
It is concerned with not speaking out, keeping your feet still or actually biting the bullet and achieving inner freedom. And about how individual mental states influence the world.
I can’t say enough good things about this animated film by the ever-inventive Kate Sweeney. It works equally well as a poetry film or as a lyrical promo for vaccination; the transition from prose narration (by Dr. Mohamed Osman) to poetry half-way through is natural and powerful, and the poem by Christy Ducker is extraordinarily good. Here’s the description:
An animated film highlighting the research and fieldwork into finding a cure for Leishmaniasis, a chronic disease affecting millions of people in areas such as Sudan and Syria. The film was made as part of a collaboration between poet Christy Ducker and artist Kate Sweeney and scientists working at York University at The Centre for Chronic Disease.
Working in collaboration allows access to an other’s research, in this case, the work of scientists who are actively working to find a cure, and to study the causes and exacerbations of the Leishmaniasis disease. Dr Mohamed Osman sent me photographs he had taken when in Sudan of the people he was working with, trialing a vaccine for the disease. I was able to interview him, talk to him about my interests in stories and how we tell stories to frame experiences and use his response and his photographs in the initial part of the film. The second part of the film is an animated response to Christy’s poem that explores metaphorical links between medical vaccinations and the grieving process. Where the loose style of the first part of the film reflects the nature of conversation, the more structured animation in the second part reflects poetry’s structured, considered language.
The winner for Best Animation at Rabbit Heart Poetry Festival 2017, where it was also a finalist for Best Overall Production. Filmmaker Kate Sweeney notes in her c.v. that the 2016 film is a “2.05 min hand-drawn animation. In collaboration with poet Christy Ducker and Centre for Chronic Diseases, York. Funded by Wellcome Trust.” It’s one of at least two films that came from that collaboration, as well as a pamphlet of photography and poetry called Messenger.
Drawing on the science of immunology, Messenger explores how we wound and how we heal. Whether the focus is a tiny molecule or a global problem, Christy Ducker’s succinct poems offer ‘hope and a warning’. Illustrated throughout by Kate Sweeney’s striking photographs, Messenger shuttles between science and art to suggest alternative ways of looking at recovery.
For more on Ducker, see her website.
A 2014 film by Pablo Diartinez and Erik Parys that’s been out of reach to web viewers until now, making the indie film festival rounds and racking up a bunch of awards — and rightfully so. It’s a beautiful film. Here’s the summary from IMDb:
‘Out of reach (rain night)’ is the first installment in ‘From the pages of Album’, a series of short films adapting the poetry of Jorge Diaz Martinez to the screen in a collage of animated graphics, texts and live action. ‘Out of reach (rain night)’ finds the series’ protagonist, a nameless poet in Brussels, seeking shelter and a place to sleep in a tram stop, while memories of lost friendship and love invade his clouded mind and the screen. The poem for this episode, a ‘found object’, paints a state of incommunicado and evasion.
Music and sound are by T.S.E.G. (Thomas Giry). For more on the poet, see his blog; the Pages of Album has its own website and Facebook page. I’ll be following the progress of this “fusion cinema poetry book” with great interest.
Animation by Victor Newman of a poem from Gary Jackson‘s book Missing You, Metropolis, which “imagines the comic-book worlds of Superman, Batman, and the X-Men alongside the veritable worlds of Kansas, racial isolation, and the gravesides of a sister and a friend,” according to the publisher’s description. Newman was assisted by animators Jonathan Djob Nkonbo and Jeff Chong, JD McMillin did the sound design, and the voiceover is by Chuck Johnson.
Tryouts was produced by Motionpoems as part of their Season 7, in partnership with Cave Canem. For the text of the poem, see the Motionpoems website.