Tom’s presentation at Visible Verse Festival 2011, held at the Cinémathèque Pacifique in Vancouver, November 4-5, 2011. Do set aside half an hour to watch this.
We’re living at an amazing point in time as far as this particular genre [videopoetry] is concerned. It is so new. It can make you feel like you’re living in the 1920s, when the great art revolutions were taking place.
As many regular visitors to this site are probably aware, Tom Konyves coined the term “videopoetry” back in the 1970s and has played a strong role in shaping its conception, at least among avant-garde poets. It’s not necessary to have first read his new videopoetry manifesto, but this certainly helps to introduce and contextualize it.
You don’t have to be an avant-garde poet to appreciate Tom’s points about, for example, the subversion of narrative expectations or the importance of poetic juxtaposition in a videopoem. But what’s especially appealing about this talk to me is what it reveals about Tom’s careful and methodical thought process, his essential generosity and his openness to opinions contrary to his own — qualities not normally associated with authors of manifestos, as he acknowledges:
In writing a manifesto, you tend to be very polemic, you tend to say that this is the only way to look at works, but I came across this quote from genre theorist Richard Cole, who wrote: “The phrase ‘tyranny of genre’ is normally taken to signify how generic structures constrain individual creativity. If genre functions as a taxonomic classification system, it could constrain individual creativity.” So I was concerned about that, that what I had to say about videopoetry may have that kind of effect.
Heather Haley wrote and directed this entertaining film about a very serious subject. Here’s her gloss from the video description on YouTube:
The audience is along for a wild ride in AURAL Heather’s “How To Remain” with a compulsive protagonist resolutely heading toward an elusive goal of perfection, perpetually struggling to stay *on* and, or to stay thin. *How to remain in control* is at the heart of anorexia and bulimia. Ubiquitous images of the ideal woman provide pressure and anxiety for us all. She turns to her trusty steed but instead of her body disintegrating, the horse’s body withers away. A symbol of intense desire and instinct, the horse’s ribs start to protrude as it becomes increasingly emaciated until finally disappearing with a *POOF! * Though eating disorders are a serious matter, the story is really about facing our all-too-human mortality. REMAIN is the key word and our secret desire, fueling our heroine’s quest for eternal youth and beauty, i.e., immortality. She is in a race. A horse race. A rat race? Or a labyrinth. Reel time accelerates as it does in real life; time seemingly flying by with advancing years as we move toward our inevitable departure. Of course HOW we live is what really matters.