A text-on-screen-style videopoem by Swoon (Marc Neys) with a text from Night Willow, a 2014 collection of prose poems by Luisa A. Igloria. Back in September, Marc blogged some process notes about the video, calling it “The latest experiment in my series of videos where I re-think the relationship of image, sound, and text”.
Combining lines from the poem with the suitable footage, trying out different fonts and sizes for the text on screen, placement of words… It’s a puzzling way of editing.
I’m not only editing film anymore, I’m carefully trying to blend sound, image and text in one cut. It feels more like composing. It makes me rethink the way I worked (and still work) with audible videopoems.
These ‘film Compositions’ are meant to be played full screen and loud!
Marc talked about this style of editing in a brief interview I filmed for Moving Poems, Swoon on finding a new angle in videopoetry composition.
Australian filmmaker Marie Craven demonstrates one way to get away with out-right illustration in a videopoem. Had she used footage of pinball games in a poem that references pinball, it would’ve seemed merely redundant, I think. But instead she hit upon the idea of using colorful still images (by Donald Bell) alternating with dark, silent-film-like title cards bearing the lines of the poem. Cut these images in time with up-tempo, pinball-esque music by CIRC, and rather than simply depicting a game of pinball, the video actually enacts or reproduces the effect of a highly kinetic ball careening around in an inert cabinet. “The whole thing / goes tilt.” And the poem is raised to a new level, I think.
Slumber has always smelled of vanilla,
yeast and semolina.
Doped up to doze,
the flesh augments; hunger
outsizes the sun
into a spectacle darkness might swallow.
Nic Sebastian‘s inspired remix of a poem by Sarah Sloat at The Poetry Storehouse with some gorgeous stock footage and music by David Mackey. I loved this when I first saw it two months ago, but somehow it never made it into the posting queue, which is especially surprising considering that Sloat is one of my favorite contemporary poets.
This is Five Miles (Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas) by Swoon (Marc Neys), made with the text of a poem from Fugitive Pieces, Howie Good’s new collection of poems. Here’s what Marc blogged about it:
So. A New year. New sounds. New videos. A big new project (more on that one later)
A solo exhibition (more on that one later) and
My first video of the year is Five Miles (Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas)
I first got the idea for this when reading ‘Fugitive Pieces’ by Howie Good.
It’s a great book of found poems published by Right Hand Pointing Press.
All proceeds from the book go to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.
People who follow my work, know I’m a big Howie fan. His writing moves me and (very often) is a perfect fit for my videos and sounds.
In Fugitive Pieces Howie Good used the techniques of the collagist.
The poems are collages sourced from various texts as well as his own imagination.
From the author’s note:
This meant creation through destruction, lifting things from one context and dropping them into another, establishing unfamiliar relationships among familiar objects.
That sounds a bit like creating videopoetry. I often find myself using that same approach (especially when working with found footage or archive material)
I first created a track around samples I took from a documentary ‘Target for today’.
Only after creating that track I chose a poem from ‘Fugitive Pieces': Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas
The poem was the perfect match for my soundscape and would work well as ‘text on screen’ in a film composition.
I collected footage (from Videoblocks) to combine with certain lines from the poem. Played around with timing, font and placement of the text and started puzzling it all together. I believe it works well.
Click through for the text of the poem (or, you know, just watch the film).
The deeply clever and always entertaining American poet Albert Goldbarth meets his match in director Chris Jopp. This is one of Motionpoems’ latest releases (click through for the text of the poem), and it was “made possible through a partnership with Graywolf Press.” Supplemental materials on the Motionpoems website include interviews with Goldbarth and Jopp by Rosemary Davis. I particularly liked this last bit of the latter:
MOPO: Have you done any collaborations like this before? What was it like to work with Albert?
JOPP: I have not collaborated with poets before. After hearing Albert did not own a computer, I thought about calling him. I then heard, that he was a fan of letters so I decided to write him a letter through the mail. I always feel like I can communicate better through text anyhow and this was a way to more thoughtfully pick his brain without the nerve-racking reality of this award winning poet breathing on the opposite end of the telephone. In fact, I think our “analog” correspondence influenced the way I made the film. I wanted it to feel genuine and authentic, and something about sending and receiving actual inked letters through the mail made me stick to that idea.
Albert was very receptive through the whole conceptual process and then sort of handed me the reigns and was like, “Alright, you have my thoughts and concerns, and think I trust you, so GO FOR IT!” So now I’m just following my own intuition! He said, at the screening he’d either shake my hand or punch me in the nose. Hopefully, the first.
MOPO: What has this project done for you? Learn anything?
JOPP: It has changed the way I think about poetry.