This is the second of two films that I have made in collaboration with the poet Lucy English as part of her Book of Hours poetry film project (thebookofhours.org). As in our first collaboration, this poetry film began as a colour palette that I generated and sent to Lucy. Lucy wrote in response to the palette and sent me back the text and a voice recording of the poem.
I had some footage sitting waiting, so I got to work straight away. I wasn’t happy with the way the words and the film were rubbing against each other so I cleared the decks and went back to the poem. I listened to the recording over several months, trying to slip under the surface of the words. The poem began to play over and over in my head.
One morning over the summer I lay in bed listening to Odette, my eldest daughter, practicing the piano. As she played, the poem was also playing in my head and I was taken by how the two seemed to fit together. I recorded Odette and combined that recording with Lucy’s voice. This audio track then provided the spark of an idea, which in turn led to new raw footage. By the time I sat down to draw the images and the audio track together it felt as if I knew exactly what I had to do.
The most fruitful collaborations always seem to involve an element of serendipity, don’t they?
Hush. Even in the dark days, there is hope.
Think beyond the light failing on this grubby afternoon…
A video remix by Othniel Smith for Lucy English’s Book of Hours project, with her reading as the only soundtrack. Smith notes in the description that he sourced the imagery from a 1961 film produced by General Motors called A Touch of Magic. Intrigued, I found a Wikipedia page for it. It included the immortal lines:
This dream house you and I will share
Was planned for us by Frigidaire.
A half-century from now, will our contemporary techno-utopian fantasies seem as corn-ball and melancholy as this does now? Nothing ages as poorly as modernism — or is better suited for recycling into poems, especially one as wistful and gently ironic as this.
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).
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!