Our second video, “The Center” by Annelyse Gelman has us eyeing the eerie potential for non-human entities to replicate or replace human jobs, relationships, and even literature. Like examples of video art that pushed the limits of early green screen technology, “The Center” repurposes face swap and text-to-voice in a savvy, uncanny pairing of poetry and digital media that brings out the specific resonances of the text. Gelman’s project nods to animal experiments involving cages with electrified flooring, centers and peripheries that implicate and confront the viewer: “Are you thinking about your own heartbeat?”
“After the chaos of the Nazi march in Charlottesville, one key voice is hapless,” reads the description of this 2017 film by filmmaker/poet Caroline Rumley. She notes further that it was “Created in response to this photo, which eventually won a Pulitzer: [link].” Stevie Ronnie drew attention to it in his report from the 2018 ZEBRA festival as one of the stand-out films there for him. It was also screened at the 2107 Ó Bhéal and Filmpoem festivals.
This two-year-old videopoem by the Australian polymath Ian Gibbins is more relevant than ever, with this past week’s dire new report on the worldwide collapse of insect populations, which found that “More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered… The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.”
Compared with that forecast, Gibbins sounds down-right optimistic. Here’s how he describes the film on Vimeo:
“nearly extinct … we burrow… far from toxic miasmata … we will wait … once more fill the skies…”
Brooding, breeding underground, the insects wait until the time is right to escape the confines of gravity and environmental degradation.
Hexapod was short-listed and screened at 5th Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition, Cork, Ireland, 2017, as part of the IndieCork Film Festival.
It was screened at the 6th International Video Poetry Festival, Athens, January, 2018 and published on-line at Atticus Review in February, 2019.
Do visit the Atticus Review for additional process notes.
For those of us in the middle of a snowy winter, it can fun to recall how we think of winter the rest of the year. This is one of three “micro film-poems” released by Colorado-based poet and filmmaker R.W. Perkins last July in Atticus Review. It went on to be selected for the ZEBRA and Rabbit Heart poetry film festivals in the fall. The artist statement reads:
Much of life comes down to the simple things, small in nature but complicated in terms of the inner workings of the mind. Most of my work centers around the effortless red-letter moments of life, where the heart seems to linger. I create poetic snapshots of the past facing the present in a subtle attempt to draw attention to where we are culturally at this moment in our history. My poetry and films harken back to my Texas roots and friends and family in rural Colorado, bringing a touch of surrealism to my small town recollections, highlighting the occasions that seem to bind us emotionally and culturally.
The latest issue (#155) of Triquarterly came out on January 14, opening as usual with a section of video essays/cinepoems, including this one by Allain Daigle, which is described as a cinepoem on Vimeo but labeled a video essay on the website. His bio at the latter location reads:
Allain Daigle is a PhD candidate in Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently writing his dissertation, which historicizes the industrialization of lens production between the late 19th century and the 1920s. His work has appeared in Film History, [in]Transition, The Atlantic, and TriQuarterly.
In “An Introduction to Video Essays” in TQ 155, Sarah Minor writes,
Using a style that sets high-quality footage to the pace of slow breathing, Allain Daigle’s “New Arctic” thinks about the future of our planet without using images of landscape. In this project, Daigle shows us a house being built from the inside: industrial lighting, radio waves, breaths that rise in parcels. He asks us to consider the changes “our skin doesn’t notice” that mean our children will “dream about icebergs,” because “the new Arctic,” of course, is an oxymoron.
The videos in this suite trick us into seeing three familiar technologies in unfamiliar ways. Each piece showcases the variety of formats, structures, and new media that today’s literary videos might take on.
Click the closed captioning (CC) icon to read the English subtitles.
An author-made videopoem by Eta Dahlia, who notes in the Vimeo description:
Song (Сонг) is part of an album of thirteen compositions called Tsvetochki (Цветочки). The video poem aims to create a new type of poetic language, integrating spoken word with moving image and not merely echoing or illustrating the spoken word with visuals.
Eta Dahlia is
A London based Russian film maker and video-poet. I am part of the No Such Thing collective.
These are numbers 3, 7 and 15 from a 20-part series of videopoems made for an exhibition last year in Quebec City by Jean Coulombe and Gilbert Sévigny, AKA Éditions VA. The haiku-like texts are by Coulombe, they collaborated on the videos, and the sounds are credited to Marie-Louise. The exhibition itself consisted of “20 tableaux ayant pour thématique la basse-ville de Québec. Chaque tableau était jumelé à un vidéo poème accessible sur internet, par un code QR” (20 pictures about downtown Quebec City. Each picture was twinned to a vidéo-poem linked on the web with a QR code). The exhibition catalogue is online in PDF form.
Many of the texts are coffee-themed, and I gather the exhibition was in a coffee shop. Satori in Zen means awakening, so it makes sense to refer to the effect of caffeine as a sort of satori on stand-by. There’s a preface in the catalogue called “Un petit moment” (A small moment) which I ran through Google Translate (I don’t know much French):
Each passing day gives us a chance to appreciate small moments. Stopping for coffee is one of them.
This special moment allows reflection and even in some cases a form of meditation.
What remains afterward?
Of course, in our minds a lot of things are floating around: daydreams, inner dialogues or observations. But there is also the physical and ephemeral presence of this little “ring” left by the cup of coffee on the table. One does not notice it, and yet one is witness to the discreet happiness of this tiny moment.