Susanne Wiegner‘s most recent 3D animation of a poem by Robert Lax is among the films scheduled for screening this Saturday, October 17, at Visible Verse in Vancouver, North America’s longest-running videopoetry festival.
To me, this is an excellent example of how a good videopoem can open up a difficult or hermetic text. If I’d encountered Lax’s poem on the page, I doubt I would’ve given it more than ten seconds of my attention before becoming irritated or exasperated, but Wiegner’s animation is so compelling and so full of surprises, its seven minutes went by all too quickly. Here’s what she wrote in the Vimeo description:
“the light – the shade” is a poem by Robert Lax that plays with the contrasts and opposites light and shade, with bright and dark, black and white, red and blue. The film begins with a nighttime scenery in a city, moves into a room and starts watching the movement of the shadows on the wall. Finally the camera enters the screen of a laptop and goes deeper and deeper into the poem. The film becomes a journey through the realm of imagination, through spaces and pictures, through letters and words. In that way the minimal language of the poem is unfolded into unexpected pictures.
“something I remember” is a poem by Robert Lax that describes a certain moment outside of time and space during a rainy night. For the film the letters of the poem are divided in a large amount of layers. These layers become spaces, streets and the falling rain.
And at the end … “there is nothing particular about it to recall.”
An interesting solution to the problem of how to envideo a poem whose typographical arrangement was very important to its author. Susanne Wiegner notes at Vimeo,
“just midnight” is a poem by Robert Lax that describes a temporal and spacial situation by very minimal means. For Robert Lax the composition of the letters and words on the paper was very important. And so he created one of his vertical typefaces, that was transferred for the film. The letters become spaces and actors, crossed and circled by the camera. Step by step a three-dimensional formation of words is generated and disappears again in a sheet of paper.
The film has been very widely screened — click through for a full list of festivals and awards.
German animator Susanne Wiegner made this film with audio from the late poet, who “did nothing to court publicity or expand his literary career or reputation,” according to the Wikipedia. A man after my own heart!