Dear Robot 2018 is a mail collaboration with Jeff Crouch and Diana Magallon music. A personal housebot goes rogue on an emergency disaster relief mission. Jeff and I have spent YEARS emailing each other links and articles about AI and robots and speculation about behavior.
Just uploaded to Vimeo, this 2008 videopoem is from the long-time video-making partnership of artists Jeff Crouch and Cecelia Chapman:
Cecelia Chapman’s work explores the image in communication and revolves around environmental and cultural transformation.
For the past ten years Chapman has been collaborating with artist Jeff Crouch, with performer Christa Hunter, and with sound artists she meets online to produce short new media video.
The music here is by Crouch, as are the drawings. Rarely does one see an ekphrastic poetry video that succeeds as a separate artwork in its own right. Perhaps part of the key here is that Crouch’s sketches satisfy what I think of as the Konyvesian imperative: “In a successful videopoem, the work’s elements contain a collaborative property, an original incompleteness.” (Tom Konyves, In Retrospect: A Manifesto and its Underpinnings, p. 3.)
Artists Cecelia Chapman and Jeff Crouch have collaborated on a number of videos over the years, some of which — like this one — can be seen as videopoems. The soundtrack is by Halo Svevo, and Christa Hunter appears in the video along with footage from 1956 film On Guard! by IBM. There’s also a small folded book and CD.
Message4u is a video and folding book based on email conversations between myself and Jeff Crouch about knowledge, democracy, technology and the computer and oracle as repositories of knowledge and prediction.
Cecelia Chapman shows how to turn a folktale into a compelling videopoem. (Is that a sickle in the moon-dancer’s hand? Nice touch!) The credits only appear on the screen for a nanosecond, but according to the notes on YouTube, include: “Grat Bodkin music. Christa Hunter. Tara Naqishbendi. Kara Chan. Fancy the dog. Jeff Crouch image.” Chapman also mentions that this was originally featured in The Houston Literary Review, and is part of her video series “Signs, Wishes & Wonders.”
Cecelia Chapman directed the film and wrote the text, which may be read at Referential Magazine. The soundtrack was provided by Jeff Crouch (music) and Blaine Reininger (chant). At her tumblelog, Chapman contextualizes the film:
She does look like that art director that fired you, he the coke dealer at last years xmas party. But they are the inhabitants of apartments about to fall into the sea. MEET THE BLUFFS. They want the good life. Entertaining their friends drinking local cabs on the terrace watching the great fireball hit the horizon. Jogs on the beach. But wait! There is no more beach!
For a long time it has been apparent that the left side of the continental shelf, balanced on a plate that likes to shift, is slipping into the sea. But never doubt the selling power of California real estate agents and developers! Despite the bulldozers, workers hanging outside smoking, cranes throwing giant rocks into the sea to defend the cliff, an infinite variety of caterpillar equipment parked in the private parking lot, warning signs all over the area, midnight evacuations in soul-humbling storms to the apartment down the block, the apartments continue to rent. And the mile long cliff of small gated private communities continues to fall into the sea when the big north storms hit.