Posts Tagged: Tom Konyves

Learning about inch worms by Simply Sylvio

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I figured it would only be a matter of time before someone created a viral videopoem on Vine. (This has also been uploaded to YouTube.) The author, Simply Sylvio, is “Vine’s first avant-garde gorilla,” according to Mashable.

Sylvio’s Vine feed is a treasure chest of drama, comedy, animation and abstract art, all in the form of six-second looping videos. He’s taken a cinematic approach on the platform, showcasing his travels and everyday routines for his 300,000 followers.

Sylvio doesn’t speak, but he once wrote to us: “Vine became the perfect way to capture all of the small, quiet moments on the road that would otherwise have been lost.”

Sylvio himself may not claim that this is a videopoem, but I think it fits the classic, Konyvesian definition to a T.

Presented as a multimedia object of a fixed duration, the principal function of a videopoem is to demonstrate the process of thought and the simultaneity of experience, expressed in words — visible and/or audible — whose meaning is blended with, but not illustrated by, the images and the soundtrack.

The playful manipulation of a Google search recalls the screenshot poetry of Google Poetics. The search acquires a certain pathos, the frantic flailing of the eponymous inchworm remaining open to interpretation no matter how often we re-watch it on Vine’s infinite loop. Given that inchworms are also commonly referred to as loopers, there may also be a certain self-reflexivity at work.

I do think it’s better with the sound off, though. That’s just cheesy.

Todos esos momentos se perderan (All these moments will be lost in time) by Dier

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In celebration of World Poetry Day, here’s a video which may not fit some people’s idea of a poem at all — but which, to my way of thinking, represents the purest form of videopoetry. In fact, it was brought to my attention by videopoetry pioneer Tom Konyves (more about that in a minute). It’s the work of the Madrid-based filmmaker and graffiti artist Dier, and incorporates two kinds of found text: in the soundtrack, a monologue from the movie Blade Runner, and as images on the screen, the erased words of painted-over graffiti. The former is (eventually) translated into Spanish-language graffiti, but it’s the “lost” words that are uniquely able to communicate — or fail to communicate — in all languages, due to the universality of silence. This struck me as especially suggestive today, given the emphasis of World Poetry Day on endangered languages and censored or silenced poets, as well as on dialogue between poetry and the other arts. To quote from the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova’s message,

Today, contemporary forms of poetry, from graffiti to slam, enable young people to become engaged in the practice and renew it by opening the door to a new space for creation. The forms evolve, but the poetic impulse remains intact. […] As a deep expression of the human mind and as a universal art, poetry is a tool for dialogue and rapprochement.

In videopoetry as Konyves conceives of it, the meshing of different media goes well beyond mere dialogue, however. In a review of this video, “Loss, Memory, Spectacle, Redemption: A Hermeneutic Approach to Dier’s Videopoem Todos esos momentos se perderan (All Those Moments Will Be Lost In Time),” he reminds us that, in his view, “the ‘poetry’ in a videopoem is not the privileged ‘text’ — it is the moment of intersection between the text, image and sound.”

In “Todos esos momentos se perderan”, Dier succeeded in discovering the collaborative properties of the elements of text, image and sound. (Not all texts, images and soundtracks can be said to have ‘collaborative properties’; a previous!y published poem, for example, may arrive complete-in-itself.) The text is appropriated and bifurcated so that its relationship to the images (supported by a soundtrack that is itself an appropriation) presents to the viewer a metaphor extended and redrawn through key ‘moments’ in the unfolding of the work. The words of the spoken text are translated to Spanish before they are “enacted”, emphasizing their adaptation and service to the real world.

Due to the difficulty of copying and pasting from the online document, I’ll leave my quoting at that, but do click through and read the rest — an illuminating analysis which, unlike a lot of theorizing, should also be of practical value to any poets or filmmakers working in the field. For credits and Dier’s found-poem text translated from Blade Runner, see the description on Vimeo.