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Programme: PoetryFilm Equinox: Translation, Transcreation, Punctuation, September 2014

Below are full programme details for PoetryFilm Equinox: Translation, Transcreation, Punctuation which took place in September 2014.

There was a live BSL interpreter at this event.

 Associations (Director: John Smith) 16mm, 7mins

Associations is a film of phonemes: images from magazines and colour supplements accompany a spoken text taken from Word Associations and Linguistic Theory by Herbert H Clark.


Celan (Director: Louise Stern. Shot by Sophie Lee Pierozzi and featuring Jonathan Hall Kovacs]

The film Celan will be looped twice and accompanied by live poetry performances of Celan’s Below and Etched Away by Polly Frame [7mins]

In this film work, Celan’s fragmented, abstract poetry is transcreated into the concrete vocabulary of sign language in collaboration with the performer Jonathan Hall Kovacs in the hopes that something new emerges. Actress Polly Frame will accompany the film with a live verbal performance of the two poems communicated in the film.


Floaters in the Eye (Director: Antoinette Zwirchmayr) 3mins

The text of Paul Celan’s poem Schliere (Floaters) is printed with a Braille writing machine onto black leader, translating it into Braille writing. The 16mm film is readable to a blind person through physical touch, though projected onto the screen the writing transforms into an unidentifiable code of bright spots. These sequences are punctuated by sewing scenes, the sewing referencing the restrictions of (visual) language to a blind person, and perhaps also the limits of language itself.


London (Sophie Herxheimer and Joseph Gifford Tutt) 3mins

London is the first of a series of dramatic monologues written by Sophie Herxheimer in a Lenkvitch that her ear remembers as the way her paternal grandmother spoke. Sophie’s first seventeen years were Ilse’s last, all spent in their shared London, a place so insistently ‘home’, and yet endlessly renewing its identity. Sophie adapted into loose sonnet form this little story her grandmother recounted, about first arriving in London in 1938. London is the first short film in what Sophie and Joseph hope will also become a Seekvenz!


Faux Amis (Director: Érik Bullot) 14 mins, English and French

Faux Amis is an experimental documentary about false cognates in French and in English using readings of poems, lists of false cognates and nonsensical dialogues. The film was shot at the University of New York at Buffalo with students, artists and poets: Tony Conrad, Steve McCaffery, Karen MacCormack.

* False cognates are pairs of words that are similar in form and meaning, but they have different roots; they appear to be cognates (words sharing the same etymological root), but they are not cognates. However, sometimes there can still be a connection between false cognates, for example, through phono-semantic matching (a kind of camouflaged borrowing).


who needs television? (Bilingual poetry performance by Brian Lee with Alejandro Rodriguez Pena) 6mins

Brian Lee has published two volumes of poetry: Songs for Gaia and Village of Stones. A bilingual edition of Village of Stones (Pueblo de Piedras) has been published by Editorial Ultramarine of Seville. His influences include the poetry of Ezra Pound, the lyrics of Captain Beefheart and the poetry of indigenous people. This evening Brian shall perform his poem who needs television? in English and Alejandro Rodriguez Pena shall perform it in Spanish. The Spanish version has been translated by Jose Manuel Camacho.


The Sleeper Falls (Director: Tracey Holland) 9mins

The film is inspired by, and takes its title from, Rilke’s 1924 poem Gravity. Cine film, digital footage and stills are intercut and overlaid to form a disjointed narrative of a dreaming man, a young boy offering a bird’s nest and the Elysium tower/lighthouse. Rilke often talks of outer space as inner space, “of growth into space, as a tree grows through its rings, as the snail grows in spirals and as the solar system moves in circles.*” The sound uses long wave radio frequency and interference, and sometimes clapping or chanting from religious services is audible, reinforcing notions of interconnectedness of energy flows and methods of communication.

*Robert Bly in Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke


Full Stop (Director and poet: Zata Kitowski) 4m

Full Stop is taken from a sequence of punctuation poems written in 2001. Presented on paper, the poem Full Stop takes the shape of a circular full stop. In this transcreation, the material is presented through sound as Morse Code, and through vision as a telegram.




John Smith was born in Walthamstow, East London in 1952 and studied film at the Royal College of Art. Initially inspired by conceptual art and the structural materialist ideas that dominated British artists’ filmmaking during his formative years, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed an extensive body of work that deftly subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Often rooted in everyday life, Smith’s meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema. Since 1972 John Smith has made over fifty film, video and installation works that have been shown in cinemas, art galleries and on television around the world and awarded major prizes at many international film festivals.

Louise Stern grew up in Fremont, California, the fourth generation deaf in her family. Her art, which is based around ideas of isolation, communication and language, has been exhibited in Geneva, London, Port Eliot, New York City, Paris, Madrid, and other places.  Her book of short stories, “Chattering”, was published by Granta in 2011 and her body of work also includes performances and a contemporary art magazine for children. She has a novel, Ismael and His Sisters, coming out with Granta in 2015.

Polly Frame is an actor/director and occasional writer. Trained at Bristol University, she is an Associate Artist for the live art performance group Bodies in Flight.  She has performed at The National Theatre, The Young Vic, The Royal Court and on London’s West End and on Broadway. She is currently directing the one-woman show We don’t live here anymore and has a script in development for BBC Radio 4.

Érik Bullot has directed numerous films that lie midway between documentary and experimental film. His most recent book is Sortir du cinema: histoire virtuelle des relations de l’art et du cinema (Mamco, 2013). He was a Visiting Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2009-2011. Currently he teaches film at the École nationale supérieure d’arts (ENSA) Bourges and he is director of the postgraduate course “Document and contemporary art” at the European School of Visual Arts.

Sophie Herxheimer moves between painting, drawing, print and poetry. Projects have included hand making a 300 metre tablecloth for the Thames Festival, featuring personal stories about food collected from over 1000 Londoners; a woman-sized concrete poem about Mrs Beeton sited next to her grave; curating/exhibiting work on pilgrimage for Wiltons Music Hall, and the creation of the colour palette for Cbeebies hit: In The Night Garden. She’s held residencies for London International Festival of Theatre, London Printworks Trust, Marine Studios, Margate, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, and Transport for London. She has taught at Central St Martins, the British Library, Turner Contemporary, Dulwich Picture Gallery, and many others.  Currently she is running workshops for The Poetry School and Morley College. In 2013 her work was selected for Visual Poetics at The Poetry Library, collaboration project Pistols and Pollinators, and London Lines, a project for The South Bank Centre. Her paintings have been shown in many small galleries and alternative art spaces as well as at The Whitworth, Manchester, and The National Portrait Gallery. Sophie has illustrated five collections of fairy tales and mythology, and more recently has made two artists’ books, Hurricane Butter (2012) and Ghost Hotel (2013) which were exhibited at the Bookartbookshop in Hoxton. Her poems have been published in Otoliths, The Other Room, Catechism (Poems for Pussy Riot) Best Friends Forever (The Emma Press) and the P.O.W. series of broadsides, twenty one poems from her series Inklisch Rekordtinks will appear in Long Poem Magazine this autumn.

Joseph Giffard Tutt was interested in making Sophie’s poems into films to add to their accessibility and broaden them out with lively sound and colour. The collaborators discussed ways to find a way to show the world of the story without being too literal about it. Joe had the idea about the subtitles and cutting together blurry London exteriors with Sophie’s enacting of domestic tasks in her house.  Joseph Giffard Tutt’s Vimeo link is

Tracey Holland uses objects, paint, drawing, light, film and photography to create work. These are mainly installation pieces, which over the past 24 years have been shown both in the UK and internationally. For the past 12 years she has been working with the moving image, exploring the integration of the moving and still image/still image sequence within a piece of work. She often deals in images that have an innate sense of history and contain elements of the naturalistic, but often these are out of place or askew. Combined with objects embodying a more personal iconography, the work is layered with place, time and history. Holland employs certain elements of folk tale and religious myth as reference points for new work. The archetypal imagery and themes found here interlink with Holland’s preoccupations and personal interpretation of similar motifs. The psychological archetypes found in these tales and myths transcend a particular time and place, and relate to unchanging and inescapable truths about human nature and experience. Holland’s work is often an exploration derived from their historical and/or biological origins and their psychological significance. Images of metamorphosis are often explored; raw electricity into lightning, maps of how energy flows, how it’s created, held and transmitted. Histological images and scientific glassware are set alongside a range of objects that have relevance, sometimes a personal iconography, often a more universal one. Objects used range from chemistry lab glassware, eggs, blood, branch and roots, to microscopic projections of webs, dirt and insect wings. Projection onto drafting film is a key element in the construction and presentation in much of the work; it elicits an instant abstracting of image and scale in which a cosmos can be projected into a jar and plant roots transform into forest like arteries. Distinctions between genres are blurred and in making the work, the act of projection provides the ability to contrast seemingly disparate images or objects and draw comparisons on the macro and micro level. Contrasted with this are references to stories, myths and folk tales that often embody a symbolic metamorphosis. Earlier this year, the Arts Council funded show ‘Magnetic Atlas’ was shown at St Johns Church, 20-21 Visual arts centre in North Lincolnshire, featuring new film installations and photographic series including the film work shown as part of PoetryFilm, The Sleeper Falls . Her first major individual exhibition was ‘Mortal Remains’ in 1992 at the Site Gallery in Sheffield. This work was shown at Internationales de la Photographie d’Aries, Mai de la Photo, France, and nominated for the ICI Fox Talbot Awards at the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television. Her work featured in the Thames and Hudson publication Flora Photagraphica, and the associated US and Canadian touring show. ‘Vessel’ installation was included in the Wellcome Trust’s Truth and Beauty touring show in 2002-4. Her first major film work ‘Resurrection Stories’ was commissioned by Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham in 2005, and in 2007 she was artist in residence at The Baaken Museum of Electricity in Minneapolis. Recent group shows include Picturing Science at the Riverside Gallery Twickenham, and Art Science and Neutrality at Bar Lane Gallery York. More information and images at 

Zata Kitowski founded PoetryFilm in 2002. Her poetry collection Doppelgangers was published in 2005 and her own work explores the creation, perception and experience of emotion and meaning.

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