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.)
As her ambitious Book of Hours has unfolded, it’s been fascinating to watch Lucy English‘s poetry evolve and adapt to the online video medium and to the exigencies of particular film-making styles. Here’s how Stevie Ronnie, her collaborator for this film (along with composer Jim Ronnie), describes their process at Vimeo:
Lucy and I wanted to try something different as a way of kick starting the collaborative process for Dark Place. It started from a desire to work on something that was going to become part of Lucy’s Book of Hours poetry film project. Poetry films often begin with the words or footage or sound but we decided to start from a colour palette. I created a palette and sent it to Lucy and she wrote the poem from the colours. Lucy then sent me a couple of drafts of the poem and, after spending some time digesting Lucy’s words, I decided to respond to it visually. Using the colours that I found in Lucy’s poem I rendered the poem as a painting, where each mark on the canvas represents a letter in the poem. I then captured this process as a series of still images which have been strung together into the film. The soundtrack, performed by my father Jim Ronnie, was composed and added during the video editing phase as a response to the poem’s images and the words.
After the birthing of bombs of forks and fear,
the frantic automatic weapons unleashed,
the spray of bullets into a crowd holding hands,
that brute sky opening in a slate metal maw
that swallows only the unsayable in each of us, what’s
left? Even the hidden nowhere river is poisoned
orange and acidic by a coal mine….
Visser has also animated a poem by Czesław Miłosz.