Filmmaker: Jan Peeters

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig (3)

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This take on Sandig’s poem is by the Belgian filmmaker Jan Peeters.

In his artistic practice, Jan Peeters currently focuses on so-called ‘iconotextual’ works: he merges words (and more precisely, texts that are set typographically) and moving images (with emphasis on filmic images) to form visual-textual unities of content, which cannot be categorised as either pure image or pure text. In these ‘reading films’ he brings together the languages of literature and visual art, without focussing necessarily on certain implicit elements of mainstream film, such as narration, acting or characters.

For full credits and screening information, see the relevant page on his website. The summary reads:

While a university librarian struggles with words at lonely heights,
an old pigeon fancier awaits the homecoming of his pigeons …

Guesswork (Raden) by Bart Van der Straeten

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An interesting, high-concept videopoem, and the first I’ve seen to credit the typeface designer. Let me quote the description from Vimeo in full:

Guesswork. Variation 8 (Belgium, 2011) – short version (3 minutes)
film by Jan Peeters
text by Bart Van der Straeten
typeface: Jean-Luc by Atelier Carvalho Bernau, carvalho-bernau.com

In “Guesswork” poetry and film literally come together. A super 8 reel with worn and withered documentary footage is overlaid with the text from the Dutch poem Raden (meaning ‘guesswork’) by Belgian writer and critic Bart Van der Straeten (°1979), forming a filmic-typographic collage.

The condensed verses are unravelled word by word, inciting a tentative reading. They describe the existential and uncomfortable feeling of instability one can have with the public space of the city one dwells in.

Although the word and image layers are in disjunction, involuntarily the found footage of Parisian monuments starts connecting with the text, stressing a distant and impersonal relationship with the surrounding urban environment.

Jan Peeters has also uploaded a version in Dutch, which is almost two minutes longer: