Filmmaker: Jean Coulombe

Satori en veille (Standby satori) by Jean Coulombe: three selections

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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.

I love everything about this exhibition and these brief videopoems. Watch all 20 on the Éditions Victor & Anita Vimeo page, or click through to the YouTube versions from the exhibition catalogue.

Volières / Aviary by Denis Samson

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A recent videopoem from the Canadian collective CLS Poésie, with text by Denis Samson and video by Jean Coulombe and Gilbert Sévigny.

Ressacs / Backwashes by Jean Coulombe

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A gorgeous, author-made videopoem from Quebecois poet Jean Coulombe and videographer Gilbert Sévigny, “Réalisé pour le blogue de création poétique CLS Poésie.” The text (shown via type on screen) is only in French, but at my request, Coulombe sent along an English translation:

RESSACS / BACKWASHES

À pelleter devant soi / Shovelling forward
des phrases-chocs / shocking sentences
que personne n’écoute / that nobody listens to
à clamer dans le vide / shouting in the emptiness
notre stupeur de vivre / our amazement to live

on désapprend le feu / we unlearn fire
on tressaille sans faire d’ombres / we flinch without casting shadows

il ne faudrait surtout pas / we certainly should not
bloquer le trottoir / block the sidewalk
ramener les illusions / bring back illusions
trop près des braises / too close to the embers

CLS Poésie is a group literary blog after my own heart, and makes me wish I knew French. The three poets behind it even have a joint Blogger/Google account, which reads:

Les poètes Jean Coulombe, Alain Larose et Denis Samson ont ouvert cet espace , libre et sans prétention, en juin 2009, pour partager leur poésie sous toutes ses formes. Cette grande aventure a débuté à Saint-Benjamin dans la région des Etchemins au Québec.

The poets Jean Coulombe, Alain Samson and Denis Larose opened this space, free and unpretentious, in June 2009, to share their poetry in all its forms. This great adventure began in Saint-Benjamin Etchemins in the region in Québec. (via Google Translate)