An animation by Lily Fang, part of the Poetry of Perception series for the Harvard University course Fundamentals of Neuroscience. Sarah Jessop provided the voiceover with music by Skillbard. The epigraph is by Igor Stravinsky: “I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I’ve felt it.”
An eight-part series (vimeo.com/channels/972301) on representations of perception and sensation made for fundamentalsofneuroscience.com. “Both artists and scientists strive, even if in different ways, toward the goal of discovering new uniformities or lawful regularities.” Hermann Helmholtz
This is Dickinson’s poem F477 (1862)/J315, translated into Dutch by J. Eijkelboom and into film by Marc Neys, A.K.A. Swoon, who says he began with an old reading he had made of the poem, building an experimental soundtrack around it.
The track was (except for the electronic ‘drumthumbs’ in the back) completely constructed out of (altered) sounds I made with my mouth. A fun experiment. For some reason the track worked quite well with that old recording. Maybe there was a short video in it too?
Keeping a similar kind of restriction as I did with the sounds, I wanted only one short piece of footage in the video; leaves.
The whole thing was created in one afternoon (and it probably shows), but I had fun doing so. Keeping it simple and fresh.
A fun inbetweenie stuffed between longer videos and ongoing projects.
To Flee From Memory is “A short film about being lost set to a poem by Emily Dickinson,” according to the director, Irish filmmaker Simon Eustace. Click through to Vimeo for a full list of credits. The voiceover is a bit quiet, so let me paste in the text of the poem:
To flee from memory
Had we the Wings
Many would fly
Inured to slower things
Birds with surprise
Would scan the cowering Van
Of men escaping
From the mind of man
Othniel Smith repurposes public-domain imagery from the Internet Archive to accompany Dickinson’s text, which was written in 1862, during the American Civil War.
I watched this when it was first uploaded to Vimeo two years ago, but for whatever reason didn’t share it then. Perhaps I felt it was too far from the spirit of the poem as I understood it. Be that as it may, however, I think it’s important as an international and pop-cultural interpretation of Dickinson, and also may help clarify some of the differences between the related genres of music video and videopoetry.
Los Angeles Movie Awards 2010 – Best Visual Effects in a music video, Award of Excellence
Canada International Film Festival 2010 – Royal Reel Award VSM 2010 festival – Special Recognition
Yach Film 2008 – Grand Prix nominee
Thanks to CreatureCast for licensing this wonderful undersea footage under a Creative Commons license, permitting this repurposing. I blogged about the making of it at Via Negativa. Due to the format of the original film, I was forced to learn how to make a widescreen (16:9) video, which turned out not be difficult at all (thought the standardized dimensions of videos here at Moving Poems give it an extra-wide top and bottom border).
For a very different audio interpretation of the poem, listen to videopoet Brenda Clews‘ reading on the Woodrat Podcast, Episode 31: Emily Dickinson at 180. Brenda’s reading starts just past the four-minute mark.