Sunday, August 09, 2020

video killed the poetry star

My experiments with video poems continue.  I'm liking, in this era of no public readings, the opportunity to record audio of some of the poems (though I am still struggling to get decent quality recordings.)  I am also loving the ones that are text-based and over music. I think often about the ways art is changing in the era of social distancing, and while poetry can obv. be enjoyed alone in your house, much of the experience of poetry was sometimes readings and performances (even though, in all the crazy of the past year, I only did like one actual reading.)  Since I didn't get to do an actual release party for SEX & VIOLENCE, I instead made five different book trailer-ish video poems that turned out nicely, one from almost every section of the book, as well as aligned with the cover design and general tone of the book.

I think "what's inside a girl? is my favorite of these for it's nod to the slasher movies in the /slash/ section, and it's horror movie music. It's almost like a trailer to a movie that doesn't exist.  The "how to tell a love story in a time of war" have a more turn-of-the century feel, the clips culled from a 1923 nature video about bees and spiders.  "the honey machine" video pulls from some weird public domain family film footage of a taxidermy collection. "dirty blonde' is old shampoo videos and an infectious song. The process takes a while, sometimes an entire afternoon of preparing still slides, collection images, splicing films, and waiting for things to upload. (toward the end of the month I have terrible internet since I use my phone as a hotspot and run low on high-speed data.)  Then there is getting things to match timing-wise with the music or recorded reading. Friday, I made a video to promote the library and ended up working from around 6pm til 3am. It's not easy, but I really love the results.  And again, it keeps me from doomscrolling the news for awhile. 

And of course, there is something of collage about it.  I find myself randomly scrolling through public domain offerings and saving bits for later videos, much in the way I tear and cut paper things for collages. Or even saving bits on my computer for digital manipulations for art or covers.  Different mediums, but the same impulse. I also appreciate weird matchups--the strip-tease in "what's inside a girl?" combined with the creepy still photos and music. Plath's re-worked cento lines and the dizzying taxidermy footage. Looking toward fall, I have a couple video-centric projects plotted, including a series of videos for the "swallow" poems--almost a digital chapbook but with videos instead of still-art.  I'm excited to get to work on this, plus maybe some smaller projects that go with other things ( I recorded the above  audio bit for the summer house last weekend that accompanies it on the website.)I love that this is a new tool in my arsenal and am curious what will come of it. And perhaps, if I can master After Effects, those animated poems are just a little bit closer..)

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