Blog Archives

Time and the River by Lucy English

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

This contribution to Lucy English‘s Book of Hours project is the work of filmmaker and animator Maciej Piatek and composer Tim Benjamin in collaboration with the poet, as Piatek explains in the Vimeo description:

This film was made as a result of collaboration between Lucy English, Tim Benjamin & Maciej Piatek. More info about the Book of Hours project below. The poem was written by Lucy to the video samples/animations I made earlier on. Then the whole poem was incorporated into the longer visual piece. Lucy wanted to reverse the traditional way of making video poems where words are initiating the whole creative visual process.

Click through for the rest.

Liberté by Maciej Piatek

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A concrete videopoem by the UK-based Polish video artist Maciej Piatek that alludes to a text by Paul Eluard and an historic, public use of that text, as the write-up on Vimeo explains:

The film was screened at Liberté during the ArtsBridge Festival 2014. Liberté was a multi-discipline performance featuring collaborations in poetry, music, film, dance, prose, performance and visual arts, that used Paul Éluard’s “Liberté” poem as a starting point. The poem was famously dropped from aeroplanes during WWII by the British Air force over occupied France.

2014 was a year of the centenary of the start of WWI and the 75th Anniversary of the start of WWII, and in an age where we see almost perpetual war, we are told that it is all necessary “for our freedom”. The performance attempted to analyse what liberty/freedom meant to each contributor.

Featured work by Lianne Brown, Gillie Carpenter, Isolde Davey, Holly Hero, Gaia Holmes, Tallulah Holmes, Cliff James, Alice Mill, Paul Mill, Steve Nash, Maciej Piatek, Winston Plowes

ArtsBridge Festival 2014 at Christchurch, Sowerby Bridge, UK

Kaspar Hauser Lied / Kaspar Hauser Song by Georg Trakl

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker: , , ,

The recently concluded Art Visuals & Poetry Film Festival Vienna challenged filmmakers to make a make a film with this poem by Georg Trakl, and screened the results just two days after the 100 anniversary of his tragic death. For those who wished to use English, festival organizers supplied a most excellent translation by Alexander Stillmark, as well as a reading in German by Christian Reiner. Many of the competition films have now been shared on Vimeo. UK director Maciej Piatek said about his film (above):

Before I started working on the video footage I had conducted a small study on Georg Trakl’s work. The poet himself was one of the most important Austrian Expressionists. As an avant-garde style, Expressionists cherished more emotional experience over physical reality. The starting point for me was to watch Werner Herzog’s “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser”. The movie had inspired me to carry out another research on Georg Trakl. This time I was studying the importance of colours in Georg Trakl’s poetry. The Kaspar Hauser Song incorporates colours into a text as much as the other poems by this poet. The main four colours I was focused on were: crimson, green, black and silver. According to Wiesław Trzeciakowski (,,Kolorystyka wierszy Georga Trakla”,kwartalnik-pobocza.pl) we could ascribe to each colour certain emotions and feelings. Therefore I tried to use those four colours as a foundation and structural framework of my film. Additionally I brought to the film an experimental/improvised music by Fanfare, a perfect background music based on live instruments and free unspoiled expression.

German director Susanne Wiegner‘s 3D animation style is instantly recognizable. Quoting from her description at Vimeo (spoiler alert; watch the video first):

The visualization of the poem is based on the inscription of Hauser’s gravestone where you can read in Latin: “Here lies Kaspar Hauser, riddle of his time. His birth was unknown, his death mysterious.” In the film, the typeface is three-dimensional and builds a sequence of spaces, that is passed by the camera. Images and videos are projected on the letters, that lights up in the dark like kaleidoscopic smithers of memory. By these means the epitaph becomes the abstracted path through Hauser’s life from the subtle, slightly colored experiences of nature to the gradually darken spaces of civilisation, to a confusing labyrinth. Towards the end of the poem, the camera leaves the typeface, the script becomes flat again and one realizes Kaspar Hauser’s headstone.

Swoon‘s take. He wrote about it in a recent blog post:

Once I had a finished [sound-]track I started working on the visuals. A combination of sources this time. Footage by Lauren Lightbody (I used parts of this years ago) and SeriesNegras combined with stuff I filmed myself last fall.
I wanted anything but sharp images…blurry feel, colours green and brown… I wanted the edited parts to project a feeling of travel or movement over a period of time and seasons. From contryside to the city from spring to fall.

And finally, this film was

a collaboration between JosdenbroK (video) and Alfred Marseille (sound). The poem, Das Kaspar Hauser Lied, by Georg Trakl was written in 1913. Kaspar Hauser (30 April 1812 (?) – 17 December 1833) was a German youth who claimed to have grown up in the total isolation of a darkened cell. Hauser’s claims, and his subsequent death by stabbing, sparked much debate and controversy.

This was chosen as the winner of the competition. The statement from the jury reads (in English):

The art work in its graphic-abstract form offers versatile imaginative arrangement and a striking combination of drawn animation and moving image sequences to the text. Together with the coherent music composition a compelling work of art has been created. The film by Jos den Brok and Alfred Marseille on the text of Georg Trakl has been considered to the jury to be particularly outstanding and worthy to win the ART VISUALS Special Award 2014.

The nine other “Kaspar Hauser Lied” films screened at the festival may also be watched on Vimeo or YouTube, from directors Jutta Pryor, Nicolas Pindeus, Zooey Park, Dean Pasch, Othniel Smith, GRAF+ZYX, Justine Bauer, Karina Ille and Timon Mikocki.

Die liebe in den Zeiten der EU / Love in the age of the EU by Björn Kuhligk (Part 1)

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker: ,

For the 2014 ZEBRA festival, filmmakers were challenged to make a film using a text by the young German poet Björn Kuhligk, with an English translation provided by Catherine Hales. According to the program, “23 film makers from ten countries followed the call. Thirteen of the films have been selected for the festival.”

UK filmmaker Maciej Piatek‘s take on the poem was judged one of three best films of the contest. (I’ll share the other two, by Ebele Okoye and Susanne Wiegner, in Part 2 next week.) It includes a voiceover by Lisa Luxx and music by Dominic Rattray. In the Vimeo description, Piatek writes:

We, Europeans have tendency to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world, the EU is almost like a green island in the ocean of poverty. Sometimes our prosperity makes us blind even though we’re going through financial crisis, economy is only a part of the problem. The biggest challenge for the EU is to face the crisis of values, the same values which founded EU such as: “..respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities … “. This short video poem’s trying to visualize the state of mind of an illegal immigrant on its way to “freedom” through fear and despair.

Belgian filmmaker Swoon (Marc Neys) included Kuhligk’s reading in the soundtrack. One simple, powerful visual concept carries the filmpoem. In addition to the ZEBRA screening, it was also screened at the 5th West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival.

One more film from the screening has been shared on Vimeo, but cannot be shown here due to embedding restrictions. Mexican director Alex Saavedra‘s film is a complex narrative with several twists and turns.

Contemplating Hell by Bertolt Brecht

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Brecht’s poem assembled and disassembled line by line in a hypnotic videopoem by the UK-based Polish video artist Maciej Piatek and F_F_P, with music by Karol Wyszynski. In the description at Vimeo, he notes:

In the world of coming from and going to nowhere, we are living in bi-polar reality in which the gap between what’s right and what’s wrong between hell & heaven is getting bigger, thus our life becomes more uncertain. These blended ideas & images are creating chaos and making us lonely. The only solution is to stop and contemplate, contemplate heaven or go to hell.
The movie had its official premiere at Bates Mill, Huddersfield as a part of the multi-arts event ,,Hope,,

(found via London Poetry Systems)

Words (poems by Polish immigrants in the UK)

A beautiful film written and directed by Maciej Piatek with photography by Karol Wyszynski. The poems are “Kupiliśmy cegiełki” and “Translator” by Honorata Chorąży-Przybysz, “Wulgarni” by Jacek Raputa and “I’m telling you, Mate…” by Paweł Lysak, all of which may be found (in Polish) on the webpage “Poezja polskich emigrantów” at the Kobieta na Wyspach (Woman on Island) internet portal for Poles living in the U.K.