I’m delighted to be presenting a paper at the Seeing Sound symposium at Bath Spa University on 9-10 April 2016, featuring sound-informed artworks from the PoetryFilm Archive.
Seeing Sound is an informal practice-led symposium exploring multimedia work which foregrounds the relationship between sound and image. It explores areas such as visual music, abstract cinema, experimental animation, audiovisual performance and installation practice through paper sessions, screenings, performances and installations.
The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock was premiered at PoetryFilm Paradox at The Groucho Club on 13 December 2015, a venue in the heart of Soho where, as it happens, the work was filmed.
The poem recording was made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of T.S. Eliot’s 1915 poem. In the accompanying film, a man and a woman fail to meet, despite their paths crossing on the neon streets of Soho. The special Super 8 stock (200 ASA Kodak Security Film) was negative rather than positive, and it is this that lends the film a beige ambiance, reflecting Eliot’s “yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes.”
Poem by T.S. Eliot (1915)
Voice and Music by Mikey Georgeson (2015)
Produced by David M. Allen
Encouraged by Simon Indelicate
Film by Martin Pickles (2015)
The Man: Pat Reid
The Woman: Leslie Cummins
Edited from Super 8 film shot in Soho, Piccadilly and Belgravia in 1999
Film stock: 200 ASA Kodak Security Film created by Alan Doyle
Telecine by Lux
Click to play.
From 1964 through around 1969, artist Stan VanDerBeek worked with computer scientist Ken Knowlton on a series of films:
PoemField No. 1 (1965)
PoemField No. 2 (1966) (this one, with a free jazz soundtrack by Paul Motian)
PoemField No. 3 (1967)
PoemField No. 4 (no date)
PoemField No. 5 (1967)
PoemField No. 6 (no date)
PoemField No. 7 (1971)
PoemField No. 8 (no date)
Collido-Oscope (1966) (VanDerBeek, Knowlton and Bosche)
Man and His World, 1967 (shown at Expo ’67)
Each film was constructed using Knowlton’s BEFLIX computer language, which was based on FORTRAN. The films were programmed on a IBM 7094 computer. The films were created in black and white, with colour added later by Brown and Olvey. This particular version is taken from a film with some colour decay.
VanDerBeek passed away in 1984. He is also part of the film Incredible Machine, made in 1968. VanDerBeek was part of a unique program at Bell Labs that allowed artists to work with computer scientists in order to explore and advance the technology in the fields of computer graphics and music. The program was given tacit approval by department head John Robinson Pierce, yet was not a formal arrangement within the Labs.
Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ
I am delighted to have been invited to contribute an academic presentation called The PoetryFilm Archive 2002-2015 to the Pararchive Conference at Leeds University.
This AHRC-funded conference and community showcase marks the climax of an eighteen-month multidisciplinary research project entitled Pararchive: Open Access Community Storytelling and the Digital Archive. The project is based at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds and seeks to build new interactive environments that explore issues of ownership, public and institutional relationships and provide tools for collaborative community research and creative expression using digital heritage resources.
Many thanks to the team at Pararchive for the invitation.
Friday 27th March 2015 – Saturday 28th March 2015
stage@leeds, University of Leeds
Faux Amis by Érik Bullot was shown at PoetryFilm Equinox in September 2014. Another of his films, Tongue Twisters, is also in the PoetryFilm Archive. Below is an insightful interview with Érik Bullot* about language, sound and cinema.
In your artistic research, language and voice seem to be central themes. When and how did this interest start?
I have been always interested by the issue of language, especially the topic of imaginary languages. As you know, the medium of film was originally imagined as an universal language or esperanto. It was a political dream. When I began making films, I made many silent films with the purpose to get a visual language. During my first film made in video, I was very struck by the relationships between video and writing. I think there is a continuity between these different mediums. Video is a kind of writing machine. I made a first film, Speaking in Tongues (2005), based on imaginary languages. It was the first step of a series of films about translation, misunderstandings and puns: Tongue Twisters (2011), about tongue twisters, shot in Berkeley; Faux amis(2012), a film about false friends between French and English, shot in Buffalo; Geographical Fugue (2013), based on a musical piece by Ernst Toch; The Alphabet Revolution (2014), a documentary about the change of alphabet in Turkey. There are always many languages in my film. I like to use linguistic elements as plastic material likely to be deformed, transformed, translated. My dream is making slapstick films with language.
You mainly work with visual media, such as video, photographs, texts and performances. What are your artistic references for what regards sound?
I am interested by artists which work is located between visual and sound fields. I was very impressed for example by the blind avantgarde film made by the German artist and filmmaker Walther Ruttmann, Weekend: a black screen with just a sound piece on the soundtrack. I like very much the works of Cage (Roaratorio) and Kagel (his film Ludwig van) and the experimental filmmakers who work on multilingualism as Peter Rose, Werner Nekes or Michael Snow. I have also a strong interest for the linguistic dimension of slapstick tradition, especially the films of Marx Brothers where you can see a ventriloguist situation between the three brothers.
Click to watch Full Stop. The poem (from a sequence of “punctuation poems” published in Doppelgängers in 2005) is transcreated and presented aurally as Morse Code and visually as a moving telegram. (4 minutes, sound).
Experimental film and sound collage with a spoken poem about embodying a moth. Original Super8 footage with found sound and spoken text.