A chaotic, hedonistic vision of—and soundtrack for—urban revolution. Greek videopoet Tasos Sagris collaborates with the musician/composer Whodoes. This is the digital single and official video clip from their upcoming LP, Phenomenology of the Guillotine.
Sagris directed the video, with camera work by Alkistis Kafetziis and actors Sissy Doutsiou, Lily Tsesmatzoglou, Katerina Pantouli, Ioanna Kordoni, and Anastasia. They sent us some promotional material, which is worth quoting at some length as one example of an alternative to the more standard ways in which poetry tends to be published and disseminated.
The TASOS SAGRIS + WHODOES duo presents the sound of endless metropolitan pressure. Through his poetry, Tasos Sagris photographs the current era on a political, social and existential level, domestically and globally, asking questions about the present and the future of this world, looking for moments of revolt and escape routes. The synthetic diversity of Whodoes enhances the emotional meaning of the words with post-rock, darkwave, ambient, new classical, avant-garde, electronica and ethnic compositions that travel lyrically while giving a cinematic dimension to the whole work.
The above mix with synchronized video art screenings in their live performances is a unique experience for the public, which makes it special in its artistic categories. Breaking the barrier of classical poetry gatherings, they tour for concerts and performances in Greece and in institutions of known value abroad, such as the Frankfurt School of Fine Arts (Portikus Museum), the London School of Economics, etc.
Tasos Sagris is a poet, theater director and activist born in Athens in 1972. In 1990 he co-created the international anarchist cultural group Void Network and at 2008 the Institute for Experimental Arts- a contemporary theater group for research, performance and cultural education. He tours often in Europe, Asia, Mexico and USA for talks, multimedia poetry actions, exhibitions, performances and theater shows. His poetry is a melancholic call out for chaos, revolt, hedonism and social awareness.
Tasos Sagris was poet and frontman of the Greek music band Horror Vacui during the 90s and from early 90s until today he presents poetry events – cross platform collaborations of poets, djs, video artists and musicians. Organizing for more than 30 years festivals, events and actions in public spaces around the world he is an anarchist artist from 21st century. He participates in social movements in Greece and Europe. […]
Whodoes was born in Greece-Athens in 1981. Whodoes’ music is a combination of ambient / soundtrack music, post rock, shoe-gaze, cinematographic electronica and ethnic soundscapes. His poetic sound works like a bridge for experiences of the past to the present and the future, while at the same time sensitively approaching the functions of life in direct connection with urban environments and secret nature. Guitarist – a composer, a true fan of experimentation, research and improvisation, sharpening his imagination using foreign bodies on the guitar such as effects, violin-bow, metal slide, e-bow, wood (turning the electric guitar in a Mediterranean traditional “Santuri” instrument), combined with the use of music technology, turntables, loops and programming creating a special sound with which he composes. With his own musical identity and style, he presents alone or together with poet Tasos Sagris a unique audiovisual spectacle on stage.
There’s a Facebook page for the duo.
A gorgeous animation by Afroditi Bitzouni accompanies a recitation by the Anglo-Greek poet Chris Sakellaridis. The echo effect makes it a bit hard to understand at first, but the text is included at the end of a review at The Creators Project, which begins:
Animated paper cutouts a la Henri Matisse come together to form a visual representation of a poem influenced by the Greek mythological character Orpheus. In Transmission, illustrator and animator Afroditi Bitzouni interprets Chris Sakellaridis’s poem of the same name through a form of collage animation. The seamless fluidity of Bitzouni’s animation resembles the work of Matt Smithson in his Decoding the Mind video. Taking cues from a chilling score by John Davidson, Bitzouni creates fragmented landscapes and abstract humanoids from scraps of colored paper. The majority of the cut outs are grain layer construction paper while others look like they were taken from a magazine or book.
The film is part of the 3361 Orpheus project,
an experimental performance, that combines poetry, music, animation, dance and opera. Ιt draws inspiration from a range of retellings and adaptations of Orpheus’s myth.
The performance’s concept is based on a triptych. The dismemberment and subsequent journey of Orpheus’s head from the river Evros to the island to Lesvos and the creation of his Oracle near the Petrified Forest. The spatial, disembodied, satellite voice coming from the constellation Lyra, where the lyre was placed after his death. The fate of Orpheus’s limbs, buried near Mount Olympus.
The main characters in the narrative are Hermes, in his capacity as psychopomp and transporter of dead souls; Eurydice, recounting her own experience, in the form of shade and dryad, as well as memory; and Orpheus with his lyre, which is seen as a fourth character, a creature alive with its own vital energy.
This is Bitzouni’s second appearance at Moving Poems. Back in 2014 I shared her animation of Night by Tasos Livaditis, a video from Tin House magazine’s late, lamented videos section, Tin House Reels.
A gorgeous film from 2003 by the London-based animation artist Katerina Athanasopoulou, with an English translation of a poem by Cavafy (Kavafis) in the soundtrack. Click through to Vimeo for additional credits and a list of selected screenings.
First, a translation by Manolis Aligizakis included in the Vimeo description:
There is a door in the night that only the blind see,
darkness makes the animals hear better,
and him, staggered, not from being drunk,
but from his futile effort to climb
up to the tower we once lost.
And now for the rest of the description:
An animated interpretation of the Greek poet Tasos Livaditis’s “Night,” Afroditi Bitzouni conceived her video “when my laptop was broken.” “At that time,” she explains, “there was nothing better to do other than flipping the pages of my fairytales and reading my favorite poems. I was reading [the poem ‘Night,’] every night for months. The illustrations [in my video] were based on a drawing I had done on the bottom of the poem in the book.”
Afroditi Bitzouni is a member of Indyvisuals Design Collective. She studied Product and Systems Design Engineering at The University of the Aegean, as well as Animation at The Glasgow School of Art. Her work has appeared in the Athens Video Art Festival, LPM (Live Performers Meeting), the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, and other venues.
The sound was produced by DJ Enthro of Psyclinic Tactix.
There isn’t much about Livaditis on the web in English, but I found this blog post helpful.
Tasos Livaditis (Athens, 1922-1988) was a Greek poet. Livaditis studied law at Athens University, but soon his gift for creating poetry was discovered. He had a strong political commitment in the political left movement, and because of that he was condemned, led to exile and has been kept in prison from 1947 till 1951, among others on the island of torture Makronisos, together with Yannis Ritsos, Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Katrakis.
In 1946 the journal Elefthera Grammata published a first article . In 1952 his first volume of poems appeared battle on the edge of the night. Between 1954 and 1980 he worked as a literary critic for the newspaper Avgi. Some of his books were banned in the 1950s because of their seditious content.
Tasos Livaditis got a number of national and international awards for his poetry and was considered one of the outstanding Greek poets of the last century.
The video was uploaded by Tin House, a well-regarded print literary magazine with a growing online component, including a weekly series called Tin House Reels, where this video was featured on January 9th. Tin House Reels features “videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words,” and is open to video submissions (though for some reason only of work that has not previously appeared on the web).
Pablo Lópes Jordán directed, filmed and composed the soundtrack for a text by Vangelis Skouras. Jordán noted at Vimeo:
Daily thoughts can be a form of poetry even if, or assisted by the fact that, they are not expressed face to face. Images of real life help these words gain further substance and depth.
I like the leisurely pace at which the text fragments are shared, and how well that contrasts with the more frenetic image-stream and (excellent) soundtrack.
Compare with the interpretations of the poem shared here three years ago, the first in the original Greek from a movie-length biopic. (The second one is pretty god-awful, but a good example of a very common approach to poetry film. I was a little less picky about what I posted in the early days of this site.)
I find this to be a visually witty commentary on Marxist cant; your milage may vary. The text is computer-generated, from Theory Arsenal, programmed by Ryan Loewen and based on the poem “Free Sets” by Brian Ang, who’s also responsible for the recitation here. The filmmaker and composer is N.O. Koumoundouros, A.K.A. Nicholas Komodore, who shares attribution with his experimental poetry project Mayakov+sky, a “Polemical Platform Constructing Potent Poetics.” What the credits call a dialogical montage includes text, so it seemed appropriate to designate Mayakov+sky as co-author in my fusty cataloguing system. Ang and Koumoundouros are both based in Oakland, California, ground zero for the cinepoetry movement.