Poet: Ottar Ormstad

Navn Nome Name by OTTERAS

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Sound poetry and concrete poetry elude most efforts at translation — except for translation into videopoetry, as in this new release from Ottar Ormstad, Taras Mashtalir and Alexander Vojjov. I’m sure knowing Norwegian would add layers of meaning but even without that, I found the visualization of names as planetary objects or one-celled organisms intriguing and delightful. Here’s the Vimeo description:

NAVN NOME NAME (2016) is based on Ottar Ormstad’s “telefonkatalogdiktet” (‘the phonebook poem’). It is his third book of concrete poetry, published in Norway by Samlaget (2006). For this language research project, Ormstad read (!) the phonebook of Oslo 2004 and selected names on a poetic basis. In the book, the names are presented visually as concrete poetry. Most of the names are strongly connected to Norwegian and describe phenomena in nature.

NAVN NOME NAME is the second work of a collection of video poems created by the Norwegian-Russian duo OTTARAS (Ottar Ormstad and Taras Mashtalir) in collaboration with Russian video artist Alexander Vojjov. In the video, Ormstad reads names selected by the Russian-American composer Mashtalir. Through this work, Norwegian language turns into international sound poetry. Ormstad’s collection of family names present in Oslo’s phonebook at the time of reading are exposed and read by the author while performing to Mashtalir’s pulsating music. Is everyone connected to each other in the sphere that is shaping before the viewer’s eyes? How do names and language relate to the atmospheric scapes Vojjov creates of numbers, geometric forms and abstract shapes?

NAVN NOME NAME exists in different versions made for screening and live performance. Raising awareness of electronic poetry and sonic ecology, attracting new audience to a potent yet to come genre is the inspiration for this collaboration.

The video is produced in HD 16:9 in color, stereo.
Duration: 06:05 mins
Animation: Alexander Vojjov
Music: Taras Mashtalir
Concrete poetry, voice & production: Ottar Ormstad
© Ottar Ormstad 2016

Long Rong Song by OTTARAS

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The Norwegian concrete poet Ottar Ormstad and Russian composer Taras Mashtalir form the duo OTTARAS, currently looking for live performance venues. This video was produced in collaboration with Russian video artist Alexander Vojjov, and “exists in different versions made for screening and live performance,” according the Vimeo description.

Projected on a grid of particles that at times seem ordered, while sometimes chaotic and always in flux, Ormstad’s constructed language poetry is exposed and read by the author while performing to Mashtalirs pulsating music. Is everything connected to one another in the sphere that is shaping before the viewer’s eyes? How does language relate to the atmospheric scapes Vojjov creates of numbers, geometric forms and abstract shapes? LONG RONG SONG (2015) conveys Ormstad’s language research project that is based on AUDITION FOR FENOMENER UTEN BETEGNELSE (Audition for Phenomena without a Name), his second book of concrete poetry (2004). In the video, Ormstad reads through a cycle of 5 poems that present combinations of four letters made of an artifical language system that he has created and which may, or may not result in words commonly used in latin languages. […] Raising awareness of electronic poetry and sonic ecology, attracting new audience to a potent yet to come genre is the inspiration for this collaboration.
The video is produced in HD 16:9 in color, stereo, duration 05:26
Animation: Alexander Vojjov
Music: Taras Mashtalir
Concrete poetry, voice & production: Ottar Ormstad
© Ottar Ormstad 2015

I find it a mesmerizing hybrid of concrete and sound poetry—a great example of how an effective video can make avant-garde poetry approachable.

when by Ottar Ormstad

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Experimental poetry can sometimes seem excessively cerebral and lacking in emotion, but Norwegian visual poet Ottar Ormstad escapes that trap here with the help of terrific still images and a compelling score. The description from Ormstad’s upload to Vimeo is worth quoting at length:

In the film “when” Ottar Ormstad is transferring his practice as concrete poet to the realm of a programmable networked space, blending his poetry with specially composed modern music and electronic elements. His photographs are presented in combination with words in different languages, most of them presented as “letter-carpets”. Some sentences are from well known songs or films, other letter-combinations are invented by the author.

The film is telling a story about life and death, basically from the standpoint of cars, rotten in a field in Sweden. The narrative is open, and each viewer may experience the film very differently. It is also dependent upon the viewer’s language background, any translation is – intentionally – not given.
This experimental film cannot be translated in a traditional way. The words in different languages are integrated in the poetic expression. Subtitles are irrelevant.

The music and the animation was created in close cooperation with the author.
Music: Hagen & Nilsen from Xploding Plastix
Animation: Ina Pillat
Script, photographs, visual poetry by director & producer: Ottar Ormstad