Usually, the American poet and electronic literature expert Matt Mullins makes his own poetry films, but for this one he teamed up with Spanish director Eduardo Yagüe, providing only the poem, voice and music. The poem is dedicated to the Soviet artist Eva Levina Rozengolts (1898-1975), a drawing of whose appears in the credits. According to the Museum of Russian Art website,
Eva Levina-Rozengolts was one of the few Soviet artists who managed to creatively transform and express the trauma of Stalinist repression in a striking visual language.
Trained in the celebrated VkHuTeMas, the hotbed of early Soviet avant-garde, Eva Rozengolts worked as a textile designer and later a copyist at the Soviet Artists’ Union production studios. She was arrested in 1949 and sentenced to ten years of exile in the depth of Siberia where she lived in a settlement on the Yenisei river, in the Krasnoyarsk region. She was assigned to work as a woodcutter, wall painter, and later medical assistant. After returning from exile, she regained her creativity, undeterred by age and failing health. In fact, it was after her return from Siberia, that her talent came into its own. Unknown to the broad public, her work stirred the attention of the new generation of unofficial artists that emerged after Stalin’s death. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Eva Levina-Rozengolts became recognized as one of the outstanding figures of the ‘lost’ artistic generation of the Stalin era.
Yagüe shot the film in Stockholm with actress Carolina Rosa.
Alzheimer’s/Dementia includes a phase called sundowning during which the afflicted cannot shake the sense that there is somewhere else they must be, regardless of where they are. This includes the need to go “home” even if one is already home. The videopoem comments on this condition even as it comments on how Alzheimer’s/Dementia takes the sufferer “away” from loved ones while that loved one is still in their presence.
Editing original footage/Music: Swoon (Marc Neys)
Direction/Poem/Recitation/Audio-Visual Composition: Matt Mullins
American poet and electronic literature expert Matt Mullins, who has previously made some compelling videopoems on his own, collaborated with filmmaker Marc Neys (A.K.A. Swoon) for this one, as he notes in the Vimeo description:
A film by Swoon. A collaboration with Matt Mullins. Matt Mullins put together a recitation and score for a piece he’d written loosely based around the myth of Arion—a minor Greek god of music and poetry—that plays out in the context [of] corporate America. He pulled aspects of this myth into the score sonically, worked his recitation into it, and sent it off to Swoon, who came back with a visually compelling counterpoint that enhanced the poem’s subtext.
(Update, 28 March) Marc has blogged some fairly extensive process notes, including this:
I loved how he constructed a track around his poem. A scape full of (birdlike) noises that invited me to dive in.
The video is a splitscreen-storyline where I play out a female and male character (Thanks Rebekah, aka Softly Galoshes)
I took words from the poem and paired them with illustrations from other words from the poem. Those pairs blip throughout the video…
We wrote back and forth about certain visual decisions I made;
Matt: “I like what she represents and I like her demeanor and the things she does. I’m just wondering if a man giving off a similar insomniac/doubt vibe might be bring out more of the poem’s layers. His facing us would still give a counterpoint to the man’s back in the window while also adding a kind of visual echo of the narrator. But I don’t know, there are things about the woman I like as well. What do you think?”
Me: “I specifically picked out a female face to open up that perspective. To avoid people relating the narrator to the face…”
Things like that.
I believe the idea, the poem, the track work pretty well together. We were happy enough with it to set up a few more collabs. I’ve sent Matt a bunch of unfinished video’s, raw editings, visual ideas,… to play around with. More to follow this one soon, I guess.