Posts in Category: Kinestasis

Vuosirengas / Tree Ring — poems by Katri Vala

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Another one of my personal favorites from the 2014 ZEBRA competition screenings, this poetry film was directed, filmed and animated by Maria Björklund. All the photography was done in a park in Helsinki named for a poet who used to live nearby, Katri Vala (1901-1944), and excerpts from several of her poems are included in the soundtrack. “The filming took place once a week through the year” (2009), according to the credits. Here’s the description at Vimeo:

A film by Maria Björklund (2012)

Script: Maria Björklund, Antti Mäki, Maria Palavamäki
Editing: Maria Palavamäki
Sound design and music: Antti Mäki

The infamous Katri Vala Park in Sörnäinen, Helsinki is a meeting place for urban nature and poetry in this experimental animated documentary.

The film was produced by Animaatiokopla.

The poetry was translated by Annira Silver and read by Kimberli Mäkäräinen. There’s also a version of the film in Finnish.

Boy in a field by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

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I could watch this again and again. Nic Sebastian makes great use of artwork by Michael Vincent Manalo in this kinestatic video remix of a poem from The Poetry Storehouse by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick.

Items of Value to a Dying Man by Kristin LaTour

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This Poetry Storehouse remix by Nic Sebastian deploys still images by artist Peter Gric and a soundscape by Jarred Gibb for a strangely compelling and disturbing accompaniment to Kristin LaTour’s poem.

The astounding reception of this kinestatic video might offer some lessons for those interested in videopoetry as a way to reach new and larger audiences. In a post on her personal blog, Sebastian pondered “What happens when a poetry video gets 3,000 plays in 5 days?” I encourage everyone to click through and read the whole post, which is much more angst-ridden than boastful (we poets do not always handle success well). I particularly liked this part:

A poem has no life outside its interaction with people. When they are not being interacted with, poems lie dead in the dark, where they are purposeless, and meaningless.

The role of the curator, remixer or publisher of poetry is to maximize the number of interactions each poem has with people. In the hands of the successful curator/publisher, the poem lives in interaction repeatedly and reaches a higher level of its interaction potential than poems in the custody of less successful handlers.

That’s the role of the curator/publisher in the scheme of things poetry. But it doesn’t have to be their motivation. This is where I got confused. If things go well, more people will interact with poems as a result of my remixing and curating. If things don’t, they won’t. But that’s not why I do what I do. I do what I do because I like voicing poems, I like exploring the technology of putting poems online in different ways, I like the challenge of combining poetry and digital imagery in video, and experimenting with sound.

Orchids by Diane Lockward

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A poem by Diane Lockward from The Poetry Storehouse, in what Nic Sebastian calls a still image remix — the first of two videopoems she’s made so far with the digital artwork of Adam Martinakis. Nic has just posted some process notes for the two videos. A couple of snippets:

I loved [Adam Martinakis'] weird and wonderful images as soon as I saw them. His website pictures are downloadable (not everyone is so open, even though the files for online viewing are necessarily quite small), so I was able to download the ones I liked and privately get a good sense of how I might work with them before I asked Adam for permission. He gave it at once, and went so far as to say there was no need for me to clear the final version with him. (I did, though – things work better if you keep folks posted all the way, I find).

[...]

A subset of Adam’s images were more rawly sexual, almost predatory, and these came together in my mind as a great backdrop for Diane’s lush, voluptuous poem about orchids, but not about orchids. The poem is couched as a warning to the predator against obsessive pursuit of the object, and I thought I could present the corollary of that – the vulnerability to exploitation of the object, whether a woman or an orchid in the wild. Adam’s image of the falling girl in a fetal position wrapped in gold foil struck me as exquisitely vulnerable and a wonderful way to wrap up this ‘story’.

This genre, to which I have perhaps inappropriately applied the term kinestasis — basically, fancy slideshows in video form — probably accounts for 90 percent of all poetry videos on YouTube. Most, of course, are thoroughly unimaginative, so I told Nic in an email that I was happy to see her elevating the genre a bit. Much to both of our surprise, however, the four still-image remixes she’s made so far have already surpassed almost every other videopoem she’s ever made in the number of views they’ve racked up. I would suggest that’s because, when the artists whose work she uses link to the videos, their artist friends on Facebook actually go and watch them. Poets trying to get other poets to watch videos is always going to be more of a struggle. At any rate, read Nic’s full account on her blog.

Endlessly by Daniel Dugas

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Poet, musician and videographer Daniel Dugas writes:

This video is part of a two channel video installation What We Take With Us, a collaborative work with Valerie LeBlanc. For the installation, we each created a distinct program of short videos poems exploring different aspects of memory and presence. Endlessly deals with the implication of what is seen and the tourist gaze. It is one of six videos that I created for the installation.

For more about the project, see its website.

Love? by Julie Gard

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Words are a fugitive, ghostly presence in this film by Kathy McTavish. For more poems by Julia Gard, see her website.

Three poems by Michelle Matthees

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This is the rest, another of Kathy McTavish‘s mesmerizing pieces of sound art and kinestatic imagery. Three poems by Michelle Matthees in type form—”The Gardner Hotel,” “Bouquets” and “The Rest”—scroll slowly up the screen against a background (or is it a foreground?) of shifting shapes and tones.

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