2 birds by Martha McCollough first appeared several years ago and is still well worth sharing now. Martha is an artist, writer and animator whose sustained work in video poetry is compelling and unique.
The text is an adaption of a verse from the Upanishads. Martha speaks this herself in a many-layered vocal soundtrack. She also created the melodically unusual music, minimal and haunting.
Visually the piece displays a strong relation to experimental film forms. Text on screen is shown in layers, echoing the treatment of the voice. Some lines of verse move very quickly, less like comprehensible words, more an abstract texture of the moving images. Other textual layers appear more legibly. Phrases also appear and disappear at different moments like brief little messages underscoring levels of the voice.
The central visual motif anchoring the different elements reflects the title. Two birds are seen in semi-photographic images and in line drawings. Here we see that the two birds might really be one bird. This is thematically linked to the final couplet that resolves the swirling poetic resonances of the whole.