The poem is about my liminal experiences as an immigrant child, caught between the old world and the new world, but never belonging to either one. It is a poem about dual identities: the public one, with broken English, and my secret domestic one, with broken Maltese. ‘Broken Words’ explores the identity that emerges from the language that breaks us.
They include a bio:
Maria Vella was born in Qormi, Malta, in 1980 and immigrated with her parents and younger brother to Melbourne in 1983. She is a video poet, poet and visual artist. Her work has appeared in The Best Australian Poems, Overland and elsewhere. She is a PhD candidate and tutor at Deakin University in Geelong. She is currently working on a collection of bilingual poems.
Hat-tip: The Poetry Film Live group on Facebook.
The underlying sequence of buildings panning along to a beachscape is actually a single still image that I built in Photoshop. It is constructed from about 100 images of buildings around the Adelaide CBD, North Haven, and Brighton. They were photographed on days with bright sunshine and clear blue skies so that the lighting was comparable across the shots. Even so, I needed to adjust colour, brightness, saturation, scale, perspective and so on to get the visual mix right. The blue skies also allowed for easier compositing later on. In the final mix, the background sky was processed to be the same in all assemblies and was derived from the average sky colour in the images. The final Photoshop file is huge: 62,000 x 1800 pixels and about 500 MB. It was assembled from 5 smaller montages, each of which was from a specific location, and each of which contained dozens of layers.
I then took the final composite image into Final Cut Pro X and animated the pan from one end to the other. To save memory, I rendered it, and used the resulting video clip in the final composite. The sky with moving clouds is composited from three sets of vids I took all on the same day, but in slightly different parts of the sky so that the cloud movements were not quite the same. They are sped up and looped to varying degrees. The various flying objects are from a commercial image library that I animated. The final moonrise sequence is taken from the recent lunar eclipse we had (click here to see that). It is composited via an animated mask and a couple of other image processing tweaks. The whole lot was composited using colour keys, background colour gradients, key framed text and opacity animations.
The soundtrack is tin can, a performance I did as part of a Paroxysm Press tribute to David Bowie. The text is inspired by Bowie’s Space Oddity, Arthur C Clarke & Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and NASA’s Pioneer 10 / 11 space probes to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, with all due reference to Homer’s Odyssey. The music is derived from the chord pattern of Space Oddity. You might find a few other references as well…
Ian’s text also demonstrates, I think, why poets can benefit from greater scientific literacy. When was the last time you read or heard a poem about the moon that didn’t still act as if ours were the only moon in the sky?
Nothing makes me happier than finding a cool, new, author-made videopoem by a new-to-me poet who’s saved me the trouble of doing much research by adding a very complete video description:
A short film to accompany the poem Badlands from my poem a day project (day 354). An experiment in impromptu video making with my new Nikon D7500. Trying out different speeds etc. Ended up a bit wobbly, but good lessons learned all around. Shot in Badwater Basin, Death Valley, CA.
More from the poem a day project: poemadaydoctoraway.tumblr.com
Photos from Death Valley: natalieraymond.com/digitalphoto
Special thanks to Sanora Park for becoming a desert performer!
Music is “Port Horizon” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
An author-made videopoem that takes us inside the mind of someone with dementia, struggling to remember names and dreaming of the forest. It’s by Margate, UK-based artist Cactus Chilly, and appeared in Poetry Film Live back in December as part of a feature on her work.
A beautifully simple, effective video for a stunning poem by the Eugene, Oregon-based poet Sam Roxas-Chua 姚 (Yao).
Here’s UK artist and typographer Jane Glennie‘s latest filmpoem, which she introduces on Vimeo as follows:
How to be a mother … who is this being that I am? Wanting to be half-full with the joy of play, a job well done, and the softness of a bed to sink into at the end. Feeling half-empty with a busy brain that won’t shut down and twitches into awakening too early. Feeling overwhelmed by the chores and feeling rubbish as a result because surely that’s really not important. Tossing and turning and struggling to make a zingy start to each new day.
It’s amazing how hard a skilled poetry filmmaker like Glennie can make 37 seconds work. The effect of an enervated, over-active brain is not merely communicated but, one feels, directly represented. Brava!