Nationality: U.K.

Dear Progress by Micah Purnell

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A pair of videos by Mark “Sparky” Tuson documenting a fascinating public poetry-ish project in Manchester a few years ago.

Artist Micah Purnell writes an ‘open letter’ on billboards to make you think. Twenty-one billboards in Manchester will display artwork that discuss some of the challenges facing consumers of Western progress. 24 March 2014 – 7 April 2014

Sadly, the project’s website is no longer online, but you can still read an article about the installation by Kate Feld at creativetourist.com.

[Purnell’s] messages draw a lot of their inspiration from Oliver James’ book Affluenza: How to Be Successful and Stay Sane, a bleakly brilliant polemic against a society infected by rampant capitalism. Basically, James says, the richer we get, the unhappier and more anxious we become. The more things we have, the less we value ourselves, the more we seek satisfaction through buying stuff and attempting to conform to impossible aspirations, put in our minds with the express purpose of turning a profit. To see these messages sprout in advertising space seems deliciously provocative.

Read the rest. (And visit Micah Purnell’s website.) Although Purnell does not claim his brief “letters” are poetry, the first video could easily qualify as a videopoem, I think.

Stone Life by Lucy English

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Words and voice are by Lucy English; film, grading, editing and music by Marc Neys AKA Swoon — his most recent contribution to The Book of Hours project. It features orphaned home movie footage from IICADOM (The International Institute for the Conservation, Archiving and Distribution of Other People’s Memories).

Being & being empty by Jane Glennie

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Here’s UK artist and typographer Jane Glennie‘s latest filmpoem, which she introduces on Vimeo as follows:

How to be a mother … who is this being that I am? Wanting to be half-full with the joy of play, a job well done, and the softness of a bed to sink into at the end. Feeling half-empty with a busy brain that won’t shut down and twitches into awakening too early. Feeling overwhelmed by the chores and feeling rubbish as a result because surely that’s really not important. Tossing and turning and struggling to make a zingy start to each new day.

It’s amazing how hard a skilled poetry filmmaker like Glennie can make 37 seconds work. The effect of an enervated, over-active brain is not merely communicated but, one feels, directly represented. Brava!

Mr. Sky by Lucy English

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From dawn to nightfall, the sky reflects a couple’s relationship.

(don’t forget to look for the face in the clouds)

A recent addition to Lucy English‘s Book of Hours project, this time by her collaborator at Liberated Words, Sarah Tremlett, who’s credited as photographer and director, with James Symonds as editor and music by Kevin MacLeod.

Update (30 March 2018)
Sarah sent along these process notes:

Lucy and I had two separate ideas in parallel. In terms of the visuals – I get up early and noticed the dramatic colours playing out in the winter sky. Actually a mystical orange glow appeared through the window one morning! I wanted to capture the sky at brief intervals from dawn to dusk (with a history as a painter always fascinated by changing patterns of light) and spent a day doing so. Lucy then mentioned she had a new poem – Mr Sky – which was one of those wonderful coincidences. I like to work from nature or live footage where possible and you can wait a long time for the right image to turn up, or just be too preoccupied to see it … and then you need just the right poem and soundscape!

The Fauvist In Spring by Daniel Cockrill

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Poetry by the UK performance poet Daniel Cockrill animated by Richard Jackson (Plume Animation) with music by Julian Ward. Jackson does a marvelous job of expanding and extending the images in the texts, connecting what appear to be two separate poems, and concluding with a purely visual epilogue after the credits. Uploaded to Vimeo six years ago, it came to my attention just the other week when it was shared on YouTube by Muddy Feet Poetry.

This is one of at least four animations that Cockrill and Jackson have collaborated on. I see too that both of Cockrill’s books with Burning Eye have been produced collaboratively with visual artists: Sellotaping Rain to My Cheek with the cartoonist Tony Husband, and In The Beginning Was The Word, Then A Drawing, Then More Words, Another Drawing, And So On, And So On with illustrator Damien Weighill. Very cool.

Bird by Haide Rollo

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A videopoem of the purest sort, meaning that poem and video are one and the same, by filmmaker Helmie Stil with Haide Rollo assisted by Denise Saul. The project from which it and two others emerged sounds fascinating:

Silent Room: A Journey of Language is a collaborative video poem project funded by Arts Council England. Denise Saul, project founder and poet, and Helmie Stil, filmmaker, work with individuals who have the speech disability, aphasia, to produce a series of video poems. This second video poem is Haide Rollo’s Bird.

That’s the Vimeo description. Here’s the Silent Room website. About this film, it says:

Haide Rollo is a workshop participant and emerging poet. … Haide used prompts, writing and hand gesture to create a poem about silent places.

shhh! by Leah Thorn

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A dance-infused poetry film by Leah Thorn and filmmaker Clare Unsworth about the systematic silencing of women — and the need to rebel against it. Leah told me in an email,

The poem was written out of a passion to challenge the invisibility of the many ways women are silenced and I tried it out in performance with many different audiences of women – in schools, universities, feminist groups, at poetry events and in prison. Clare and I then collaborated with three drama students at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England who interpreted the poem through movement.

This locally-produced, no-budget film has been screened internationally at feminist film festivals.

The dancer/choreographers are Kristin Bacheva, Vanessa Owusu and Elle Payne. The sound is by Daniel Battersby, with music by Jahzzar and Ars Sonor.