Monday, 1 February 2016

New year videopoems

Several months have passed since the last news from me here. But the new year has given rise to three new video-poetry remixes. Here are some notes on the conception and editing of them.

Transmission



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Many of the video poetry remixes I've put together since 2014 have included the wonderful voice of Nic S. Via The Poetry Storehouse and other websites, she has made recordings of poetry available to remixers to freely work into their own creative endeavours. Here Nic reads Ashleigh Lambert's poem, 'Transmission'. For me the poem generated thoughts about the ways so many of us now present our identities to the world via computer and mobile technology. I went to the royalty-free media site, Videoblocks, to find suitable images and was drawn to three time-lapse shots showing the interior of a car as it drives through city streets. I heard Adrian Carter's instrumental track 'Dark Ray' around the same time and started experimenting with putting together the media. First I edited the instrumental and voice together for the soundtrack, slightly rearranging the words for a better musical fit. I then edited the images in rhythm with the soundtrack, transforming them over four-screens, extending their duration and using fx to create something abstracted and kinetic. Once a first draft of the video was done, Adrian made a more skilled job of mixing the voice and the instrumental, slightly editing my original voice placement and adding some new sounds to the mix. I then made a second draft of the video from this new version of the soundtrack. This turned out to be the final video. Adrian has since produced an extended version of the soundtrack that can be heard as a stand-alone music piece here. Thanks to Dave Bonta at Moving Poems for featuring the video on that great site. It will also appear in the next month or two as part of the multimedia literary journal, Gnarled Oak.

Double Life



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About May last year I read Cindy St. Onge's paradoxical poem, 'Double Life in REM State'. The memory of it stayed with me over several months. Then, searching the Prelinger Archives towards the end of last year, I found a 1940s film advertisement photographed in a noir style that I thought might work with the written piece. The ad also had an espionage theme that I felt drawn to in relation to the poem. I selected key shots and slowed them down, and created two mirrored screens from the single images. I then changed the synchronisation on them so that the femme fatale was seen to be following herself in her mirror world. I wanted too to create a greater sense of 'dream time' to follow the themes of the poem. The music is by Purple Planet, otherwise known as Geoff Harvey and Chris Martyn. It's a track called 'Slowly Creeping' that, along with other music, is available for free use in video projects from their website. For logistical reasons related to available footage and duration of music, I took a lot of liberties with the text of the original poem in this video remix, performing a kind of 'erasure' or distillation. This I presented as subtitles to an otherwise 'silent film' with music. The poet, Cindy St. Onge, is also a video maker. Her wonderful videopoems can be seen here.

The Meeting Ran Long



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After putting together a first videopoem last year based on the poetry of Eric Blanchard, I went exploring more of his writing to be found on the web. I was especially drawn to a prose poem called 'The Meeting Ran Long', published in Literary Orphans. The piece created for me a sense of daydreaming in an empty room in a transitional moment of solitude, evoking a short stream from the unconscious mind. I started experimenting with how I might present this as text on screen and settled on simply deconstructing the written piece into component phrases that might reveal or give rise to new resonances in the unconscious spaces of the writing itself. Once I had transferred all the text to the screen, I cut the visual phrases to an experimental music piece by C.P. McDill, a sound artist whose work I have followed and admired since about 2008. The track, 'Iced Coffee', was sourced from The Internet Archive, where it is freely available for remixing on Creative Commons licence. For the images I went to Vimeo and did some searches on key words in their large pool of videos also available for remixing via Creative Commons. I discovered the work of the Mono No Aware group and selected three hand-processed films by Rachael Guma, Ashley Swinnerton and David Beard. Aside from being wonderful experimental film pieces in themselves, each flowed in a kinetic way that reminded me of the pace of thoughts, memories and images as they flow through a human brain. I put these together with a universal film leader from an old vaudeville show to come up with a first draft of the video. I then sent it to the poet to ask his permission to proceed with a final version. Eric kindly agreed. After a little reworking, this is the video that emerged.