A new, text-on-screen-style videopoem by Australian artist Marie Craven using a text by American poet Eric Blanchard and sections of three hand-processed, experimental films. Craven recently shared some process notes as a part of a blog post about her recent videopoetry remixes.
After putting together a first videopoem last year based on the poetry of Eric Blanchard, I went exploring more of his writing to be found on the web. I was especially drawn to a prose poem called ‘The Meeting Ran Long‘, published in Literary Orphans. The piece created for me a sense of daydreaming in an empty room in a transitional moment of solitude, evoking a short stream from the unconscious mind. I started experimenting with how I might present this as text on screen and settled on simply deconstructing the written piece into component phrases that might reveal or give rise to new resonances in the unconscious spaces of the writing itself. Once I had transferred all the text to the screen, I cut the visual phrases to an experimental music piece by C.P. McDill, a sound artist whose work I have followed and admired since about 2008. The track, ‘Iced Coffee‘, was sourced from The Internet Archive, where it is freely available for remixing on a Creative Commons licence. For the images I went to Vimeo and did some searches on key words in their large pool of videos also available for remixing via Creative Commons. I discovered the work of the Mono No Aware group and selected three hand-processed films by Rachael Guma, Ashley Swinnerton and David Beard. Aside from being wonderful experimental film pieces in themselves, each flowed in a kinetic way that reminded me of the pace of thoughts, memories and images as they flow through a human brain. I put these together with a universal film leader from an old vaudeville show to come up with a first draft of the video. I then sent it to the poet to ask his permission to proceed with a final version. Eric kindly agreed. After a little reworking, this is the video that emerged.
Poe’s 1849 poem in a 2014 adaptation by Catalonian poet Josep Porcar with cinematography by Tomás Baltazar, a voiceover by Tom O’Bedlam and a Catalan translation by Txema Martínez Inglés in subtitles. The actor is Luis Carvalho.
This delightful film by Tom Jacobsen (Pixel Farm) was one of the winners of Motionpoems‘ Big Bridges Film Festival in Minneapolis last year. Sophie Jacobsen is the actress and Jesse Marks provided the sound mix. The many nods to selfie culture recall some of the best video work of Alt Lit poet Steve Roggenbuck.
For more on the poet, Jessica Jacobs, see her website.
A poem by Jessica Goodfellow adapted to film for Motionpoems by Alex Hanson and Edward Chase Masterson of Commandr studio. See Masterson’s Vimeo upload for a full list of credits, which appear to have gone missing in Motionpoems’ otherwise fabulous new website design.
Released on January 1, this was the last episode (as they’re now calling them) in Motionpoems’ Season 6, which was produced in partnership with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and featured a lineup of all female U.S. poets. As with the others in this season, there’s a bonus interview with the poet. Here’s the final question and response:
What was your initial reaction to seeing the motionpoem?
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I had to watch the movie two or three times before I could take it in, because its story line was so different from the poem. I was all the while captivated by the the textures in the imagery, the childlike yet knowing voice of the narrator, the mystery of the film, those actual crows (I had expected animation since I did not think real animals would be feasible) and that final striking image. Even now, though I’ve watched the film a dozen times, it remains mysterious to me, but that’s the genius of what Alex Hanson and Edward Chase Masterson have done—adding layers of mystery rather than in trying to explicate the poem. Because of their film, the poem has become a deeper, more moving experience, one that evokes a despair in me that I did not expect.