Human Condition was written and performed by the one and only Rich Ferguson, beat poet laureate of California. For this spectacular film he teamed up with film director Mark Wilkinson and a marvellous ensemble of performers and musicians including gospel singer Stella Ademiluyi and James Morrison from the cast of Twin Peaks.
Human Condition is one of his best so far. It is highly musical, and at the same time funny, mournful and uplifting. The text of the poem is posted at YouTube in the video notes.
Rich posts daily at his blog, RichRant. The constant stream of inspired writing is marvelous, some of it existential, some political, some funny, frequently all three, and almost always on key.
The selection and editing of archival film is the work of a master. Any film-maker who has worked with footage from the Prelinger Archives will appreciate the countless hours that must have gone into finding all the shots, that are then cut to the fast rhythms of Rich’s voice.
Chris’s virtual home is at Patreon, where can be found a blackly hilarious account of his life and aims as a film-maker/writer/human. The synopses of his short fiction are alone worth the visit.
The ongoing collaboration between Rich and Chris has produced several videos so far, of which a small collection can be found on this playlist at YouTube.
The poem and music are both by Los Angeles spoken word performer Rich Ferguson. This is one of the more inspired riffs on the “I’m from…” meme I’ve heard, and the directing, by Eric Smith and Ersellia Ferron, is very good. (Thanks to Khadija Anderson for the tip.)
The “I’m from…” meme, by the way, appears to have originated in a poetry workshop manual by George Ella Lyon called Where I’m From, Where Poems Come From, published in 1999 — here’s the title poem that served as a template. It was turned into a blog meme in 2005 by Fred First at the place blog Fragments from Floyd (post no longer online).