Sound poetry and concrete poetry elude most efforts at translation — except for translation into videopoetry, as in this new release from OTTARAS (Ottar Ormstad and Taras Mashtalir) and Alexander Vojjov. I’m sure knowing Norwegian would add layers of meaning but even without that, I found the visualization of names as planetary objects or one-celled organisms intriguing and delightful. Here’s the Vimeo description:
NAVN NOME NAME (2016) is based on Ottar Ormstad’s “telefonkatalogdiktet” (‘the phonebook poem’). It is his third book of concrete poetry, published in Norway by Samlaget (2006). For this language research project, Ormstad read (!) the phonebook of Oslo 2004 and selected names on a poetic basis. In the book, the names are presented visually as concrete poetry. Most of the names are strongly connected to Norwegian and describe phenomena in nature.
NAVN NOME NAME is the second work of a collection of video poems created by the Norwegian-Russian duo OTTARAS (Ottar Ormstad and Taras Mashtalir) in collaboration with Russian video artist Alexander Vojjov. In the video, Ormstad reads names selected by the Russian-American composer Mashtalir. Through this work, Norwegian language turns into international sound poetry. Ormstad’s collection of family names present in Oslo’s phonebook at the time of reading are exposed and read by the author while performing to Mashtalir’s pulsating music. Is everyone connected to each other in the sphere that is shaping before the viewer’s eyes? How do names and language relate to the atmospheric scapes Vojjov creates of numbers, geometric forms and abstract shapes?
NAVN NOME NAME exists in different versions made for screening and live performance. Raising awareness of electronic poetry and sonic ecology, attracting new audience to a potent yet to come genre is the inspiration for this collaboration.
The video is produced in HD 16:9 in color, stereo.
Duration: 06:05 mins
Animation: Alexander Vojjov
Music: Taras Mashtalir
Concrete poetry, voice & production: Ottar Ormstad
© Ottar Ormstad 2016
A film by John Deryl, who also supplied the voiceover using the English translation by Andrey Kneller. The YouTube description includes a process note:
Usual people don’t see many things around them. This piece shows what usually happens in my mind when I walk on the street. This morning I did not plan to make a film, but I happened to take my camera with me, and it resulted in this video. So I filmed it, found the right poem and narrated, chose the right music, mixed, edited, and color graded everything in about 6 hours. And now you have a chance to be in my mind for some time.
A simple but effective video by actor John Deryl, who also does the voiceover, using Genia Gurarie’s English translation of Pushkin’s poem. (h/t: Ivan Mason, via email)
Ukrainian filmmaker Anzhela (Angie) Bogachenko directed and edited this surrealist videopoem with a text by the contemporary Russian poet Dmitry Vodennikov (who is no stranger to video). That’s Vodennikov’s reading in the soundtrack, which was put together by Victor 78 — the long-haired male lead. The English translation in the subtitles is credited to Anna Shwets. (I like the way even the post-it notes are translated. And I love the post-it notes in general.) The cast includes Zoryana Tarasyuta along with Bogachenko and Victor 78. Vladimir Gusev was the cameraman. Asya was the cat.
Bogachenko also made that delightful film with the dancing cosmonauts that I posted back in October, “А у вас дім далеко від нас?” (Do you have a home away from us?).
It has been said her poetry offers no consolation, no ‘right’ solution to the tragedy of life, but paradoxically this is precisely the only one I needed when the time came for consolation.
Yana’s voice is a true voice, with no concession, no need for gilding, no lies.
She’s not only an inimitable writer, but a beautiful woman and an irreplaceable friend.
Sergei Yesenin‘s poem stunningly translated into film by director Alexander Fedorov (who also contributed the voiceover, soundtrack, and some of the animation), with additional animation by Nikolay Vologdin and videography by Mikhail Kazantsev and Artur Zaynullin. There’s also a version without the English subtitles.
Jacky De Groen, a masters student in animation from Belgium, made this videopoem last year based on a text by Daniil Kharms, the early 20th-century Russian author of surrealist poems and absurdist short stories; “The Blue Notebook, No. 10” is one of the latter.
This is the second film based on this text that I’ve shared here. Compare Franco Geens’ version.