A new videopoem by Marc Neys in response to a text and reading by Czech poet Jaromír Typlt, translated for the English subtitles by David Vichnar. The footage is from Jan Eerala, and the music is Neys’ own. He quotes Typlt in the Vimeo description:
The central image of the poem is the “postcard rack”, but the second meaning is now also the meaning of corona-restrictions of the international movements: I wrote the poem in my Paris isolation (confinement).
Typlt added this in a blog post (adapted from a Google translation):
There are two dangers to “filmed poems”: either they illustrate the text too literally with a picture, or they are so loose that they are interchangeable with anything else. And that is why for me SWOON (Marc Neys), a video artist from Belgium, is such a remarkable phenomenon: he can open a space free enough for the text, and at the same time close-fitting. […] The film A Parade is our third collaboration after In the Sign (2013) and Instincteia (2014). This time the voice recording was not made in the studio, but in makeshift conditions at the same window in Paris where the whole strange vision was born on April 10, 2020…
If there’s one thing I really like about the internet, it got to be the possibility and speed in how we can ‘meet’ and collaborate with people everywhere.
Throught the fiber I ‘met’ Jaromír Typlt.
At a certain point we started to write about poetry and videopoems and the possibility of working together.
On his website there were English translations of some of his poems.
We decided on one of them …
The translator is David Vichnar, and the poem is dedicated to the late poet and translator Ludvík Kundera. See Swoon’s blog post for the complete text in Czech and English, as well as the rest of his process notes.
This is The Tone of a Broken Harp, The Sound of a Snapped String performed by the composer, Jiří Kadeřábek, and Fourbythree. It uses two brief excerpts from the poem, which may be read in its entirety here. Kadeřábek writes,
This piece is inspired by the dark, almost decadent level of the Czech romantic poem May by Karel Hynek Mácha. Poetic images of love and spring nature mix with description of ruin, despair and death. The quotations, used in the piece as well as in its title, have been taken from the latest English translation of the poem. The concept of the piece as well as the exact image of the video came to me, when I suddenly and unusually took a nap one afternoon.
My spirit – my spirit – and my soul!
that’s how his words, each one distinct,
escape from his clenched lips.
Before the voice reaches the ear
these awful words are once more nothing –
they die – as they were born.
It was late evening – first of May
was evening – the time for love.
The turtledove invited love
to where the pine grove’s fragrance lay.
The video is as effective as the music, I thought. It was put together by Avion Film and Sound Postproduction in Prague.