Posts in Category: Author-made videopoems

Namesake by Robert Peake

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker: ,

A witty animated poem by American-British poet Robert Peake that begins with a Google image search and gets progressively more surreal. It’s based on what he calls “a poem for my nemesis“—the 17th-century court painter Robert Peake the Elder. That original posting included links to the referenced paintings which appear as pop-ups on hover, so a visual component was part of the poem from the beginning, as Peake acknowledged in a more recent blog post about the video:

Having already enhanced this ekphrastic poem with imagery, I decided that a film-poem seemed like an obvious next step. Visually, the film follows the poem’s concerns about different kinds of reality — personal, virtual, and historical — by playing with dimensionality.

It gave me the opportunity to try out parallax 2.5d animation using all open-source tools (Gimp and Blender), which I found both painstaking and enjoyable. I also mocked up flat animations in HTML and Javascript — such as the opening search scene and ending Matrix-style text, using screen capture to convert it to video. Valerie Kampmeier wrote and performed the score, inspired by courtly dances and the D-minor feel of a dial-up modem sequence.

It’s interesting to compare this with Ross Sutherland’s “Poem Looked Up On Google Streetview.” Google has more to offer videopoets than just search-query poems, it seems.

No Table Anymore Wankers by Ross Sutherland

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Another of Ross Sutherland‘s quick-and-dirty videopoems for his “30 Videos/30 Poems” digital residency at The Poetry School. I love his process here. This is videopoeming at its purest:

A piece of graffiti I found on the side of the law courts in Newcastle (just around the corner from my hotel). I have no idea why anyone would write this (which automatically makes me want to write it myself). I quickly wrote down some notes in my jotter & tried to extend the moment a little bit longer.

I recorded image first, then sound after, then put the two back together.

Poem Looked Up On Google Streetview by Ross Sutherland

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Here’s an approach to videopoetry that I’ve never seen before: using Google Street View as a poetry prompt, then turning screen grabs of the prompt location into a visual accompaniment to a recitation of the poem. Or, as Ross Sutherland rather more eloquently explains it in the description on Vimeo:

Few years ago, I was commissioned to write a poem about “living in London and being a Londoner”.
I don’t live in London. But I also don’t like to disappoint people.

I took the little Google Streetview man, dropped him into London, then wrote about the street he landed in. The result was this poem, which ended up in my 2012 collection, Emergency Window.

The video was uploaded by The Poetry School, where Sutherland is currently the digital poet in residence.

For his residency – ’30 Videos / 30 Poems’ – Ross will create thirty new films over March to April 2015, while he tours across the UK with his show Standby For Tape Backup. Each new film will be a synthesis of poetry and video, exploring the different ways that the two mediums can shape and influence the other. Ross will use his residency to respond to the places he visits and the people he meets while on tour, hence, the project also doubles as a video diary of a working poet in the world.

This is the 10th (and latest) of these videos. (Watch the others on Vimeo.) In three additional videos, Sutherland “answers questions about his ’30 Poems / 30 Videos’ project, the distinctions between film poetry and poetry film, and what all this writing lark is about anyway.”

For more on Ross Sutherland, see his page at The Poetry Archive.

Situation 6 (Stop And Frisk) by Claudia Rankine

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker: ,

One of a series of “Situation” videos created by Jamaican-American poet Claudia Rankine in collaboration with her husband, the photographer John Lucas, using texts from her award-winning, genre-bending poetry collection Citizen: An American Lyric (2014). This one employs a technique I find very effective in maintaining viewer interest during longer videopoems: interweaving separate stories in the footage and voiceover to create a kind of dialectical tension. What doesn’t happen, or might happen, becomes as important as what does.

Thanks to PBS NewsHour for this upload. For more on Rankine’s collaboration with Lucas, see the interview at BOMB Magazine that I quoted from last September when I posted “Situation 5.” All six Situation videos may be viewed on Rankine’s website (Flash required).

Late by Keith Sargent

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

An author-made videopoem by the creative director of the British design company immprint. It was nominated for best editing at the Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival 2014. Keith Sargent gave this background:

My father was dying of cancer, I was in London and he was in Kent, a 45 mile distance; this would normally take one and a half hours. On the 8th of August at 8.30 a.m. I received a call from my Mum who passed the phone to my Dad, he said “I love you. Night, night.” At 10 a.m. I received a call from his nurse saying he was very close (to dying). I set off. I arrived at 1.15. I was late. He had gone. I held his still warm hand (Mum had wrapped him in duvet to keep his body warm). I missed him. I miss him.

Liberated Words’ Vimeo upload description goes on to say:

Keith Sargent is creative director of multi-disciplinary design company immprint ltd and has worked as an educator, illustrator, filmmaker and graphic designer since graduating from the RCA in 1988. His films have been commissioned for commercial projects and screened at Bath Mix, Zebra, Athens and Visible Verse poetry film festivals.

director / scriptwriter / editor / music: Keith Sargent
cast: Keith Sargent, Stan Sargent, Rebecca Sargent, Stanley Sargent

Since my friend Rachel Rawlins saw this film at Liberated Words’ March 5 screening at The Little Theatre in Bath and really liked it, I asked her if she’d be willing to write a short review. We don’t get to hear very often from fans of poetry film who are neither poets nor filmmakers. Here’s what she sent along:

I love the way this video poem manages in a deceptively simple way to juxtapose so many of the profound dualities around life and death. There’s the physical rootedness of warmth and cold as well as our subjective experience of time, both forwards and backwards. The soundtrack and film unite to give a sense of slow, almost underwater/otherworldliness whilst narrating an experience of considerable tension and stress where the need for speed is central. The use of text on the screen is something I often have great difficulty with (perhaps as a result of a dyslexia-like inability to process letters easily) but its use here—slow, deliberate and carefully planted within the physical visual environment of the film—really works for me. I find the overall experience utterly immersive.

What I don’t like (and actually makes my toes curl) is the addition, one by one, of crosses above the heads of the three adults in the family photograph. I’m happy there wasn’t the usual slow focusing in on the child’s face or suchlike but I feel there’s no need to use any device to underscore the fact that he’s the last one left. We’ve already been told that.

An Affair by Tia Dunn

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker:

“Exploring the relationship we have (she has) with alcohol,” says the brief description on Vimeo of this videopoem by Tia Dunn, a British-American artist, photographer, filmmaker and poet currently based in Brooklyn. Mariette Papic supplied the voiceover, the music is by Grand Union Hijack, and the footage comes from a variety of sources including liquor ads.

This is a Self Portrait by Shea Fitzpatrick

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

An interesting, somewhat meta student film in which collage techniques were used to generate the text. Shea Fitzpatrick has been making poetry films for more than a year. Here’s her description for this one:

FILM441: Video Art with Janne Hoeltermann. Assignment 3: Manipulate time.

Text is comprised of individual lines and fragments of lines taken from 2 years worth of personal journal entries, rearranged into a disjointed poem. The piece is conceptually aimed to embody that a mind does not exist chronologically, and that it creates chronology to form meaning. It is also very much a self-portrait of hyper-self-criticism in the artistic process. Libraries are giant brains.
Music is an excerpt from “Available Forms I,” by Earle Brown.

12345...40