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“Remember Nature” – a worldwide call by Gustav Metzger

4 November 2015

A WORLDWIDE CALL BY GUSTAV METZGER FOR A DAY OF ACTION TO REMEMBER NATURE

THIS APPEAL IS FOR THE WIDEST POSSIBLE PARTICIPATION from the WORLD OF THE ARTS

THE AIM IS TO CREATE A MASS MOVEMENT ACROSS THE ARTS to ward off EXTINCTION

“The art, architecture and design world needs to take a stand against the ongoing erasure of species – even where there is little chance of ultimate success. It is our privilege and our duty to be at the forefront of the struggle. There is no choice but to follow the path of ethics into aesthetics. We live in societies suffocating in waste.” Gustav Metzger, 2015.

Our task is to remind people of the richness and complexity in nature; to protect nature as far as we can and by doing so art will enter new territories that are inherently creative, that are primarily for the good of the universe.

What we want to do – what is ahead for us is to bring together the world of the arts – to unite in having a day of art actions covering the entire country. We call those who engage in the arts to participate in a day of mass action, to create a collective artwork to Remember Nature.*

Here is my contribution to the Remember Nature project – a photograph of giant icicles I took in Iceland.

icicle

*Copy taken from the Remember Nature press release.

Zata Banks and Roxana Vilk at The Scottish Poetry Library, 3 December 2015

SPL

Enjoy a curated selection of short film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetic structures and experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms introduced by Zata Banks, Director of PoetryFilm, plus a new short film by Roxana Vilk. Award-winning British-Iranian filmmaker Vilk has over the past few years made films about poets from both Britain and the Middle East, not least her acclaimed Poets of Protest series made for Al-Jazeera in 2012. PoetryFilm is the influential research art project founded by Zata Banks in 2002, to explore and exhibit experimental text / image / sound material.

3 December 2015 at 6:30pm
Scottish Poetry Library
5 Crichton’s Close EH8 8DT Edinburgh
£5 / £4
Book via Eventbrite
Call the Scottish Poetry Library on 0131-557-2876

Ruth Sackner R.I.P.

I was very sad to hear that Ruth Sackner passed away last week. When in Miami last year, I was delighted to receive an invitation to visit Ruth and Marvin Sackner to see their extraordinary Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry. It was a phenomenal experience. I remember Ruth was wearing alphabet earrings and an alphabet jacket, and she was especially delighted to show off her walk-in wardrobe containing an enormous collection of fabulous letter-clothes. An article from The Miami Herald is pasted below*. Ruth Sackner R.I.P.

*Ruth Sackner didn’t only collect art. She lived it.

Every inch of the Miami condo she shared with her husband, Marvin, was covered with pieces from their art collection, which was all about words.

“I love living in a museum,” she said a few years ago in a short video about the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. “In fact when we drive up in our driveway we always say, ‘Home, sweet museum.’”

The collection wasn’t confined to their condo. In 2013, hundreds of pieces from the Sackner collection were put on display at the just-opened Pérez Art Museum Miami in an exhibition called A Human Document: Selections from the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry.

Ruth Sackner, along with her husband, amassed more than 75,000 pieces of word art, making it the largest collection in the world. She died in her sleep Saturday at 79.

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PoetryFilm in Cork (documentation)

Photographed in Cork in October 2015. Many thanks to the Festival team for the invitation.

cork

National Poetry Day 2015: PoetryFilm lecture

Happy National Poetry Day 2015!

To mark the occasion of National Poetry Day today (8 October 2015), I will be presenting a PoetryFilm lecture and screening at Millfield in Somerset.

millfield_logo

PoetryFilm at the O Bheal Indie Cork Festival (Ireland), 10-11 October 2015

I will be presenting a curated PoetryFilm screening from The PoetryFilm Archive at the O Bheal Indie Cork International Film Festival on Sunday 11 October at 4pm in the Smurfit Theatre, Firkin Crane, Cork (Ireland).

IndieCork2015

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PoetryFilm at “Art Language Location” art festival, Cambridge, 17 October 2015

I will be presenting a PoetryFilm screening at the Art Language Location art festival in Cambridge on Saturday 17 October at 1pm in the cinema.

*Art Language Location (ALL) is an art festival taking place from 15 October – 1 November 2015 in locations throughout Cambridge, featuring innovative and experimental contemporary artists from across the UK and beyond who use text in their work.

ALL

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BBC Radio 3 interviews Zata about PoetryFilm

Many thanks to BBC Radio 3 for coming to PoetryFilm Equinox at The Groucho Club, and for interviewing me about the PoetryFilm project.

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“Palindrome” by Zata Banks screened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I am delighted that my palindromic poetry film Palindrome was screened in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) at the Cinepoema outdoor screening on 20 September 2015 at Casa da Glória.
IMG_20150922_235215
Palindrome – and a reflection of Palindrome on the ground.

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PoetryFilm Equinox at The Groucho Club (documentation)

Below is documentation from the PoetryFilm Equinox event at The Groucho Club on Sunday 4 October 2015, featuring colourful sofa-armchairs.

Many thanks to BBC Radio 3 for covering the event.

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PoetryFilm Equinox at The Groucho Club, Sunday 4 October 2015

Groucho

A screening of short poetry films curated by British artist Zata Banks.

To mark the autumn equinox, Zata Banks will introduce a curated selection of film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetry, with poetic structures, with poetic experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms.

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Zata Banks on the International Jury for the CYCLOP Videopoetry Festival

CYCLOP

I am delighted to be on the International Jury for the CYCLOP International Videopoetry Festival in Kiev, Ukraine. Further details are below.

*The 5th CYCLOP International Videopoetry Festival will take place on 20 – 22 November 2015 in Ukraine (Kyiv). The festival programme features video poetry-related lectures, workshops, round tables, discussions, presentations of international contests and festivals, as well as a demonstration of the best examples of Ukrainian and world videopoetry, a competitive programme, an awards ceremony and other related projects.

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“Full Stop” played on Nova radio programme (RTE Lyric FM, Ireland)

“Nova is about new music, chronicling what’s radical and what’s conservative, who’s established and who’s in the avant-garde.”

I am delighted to hear that Full Stop was played on the RTE Lyric FM’s “Nova” radio programme.

Many thanks to Bernard at Nova.

Click here to listen to the programme. Full Stop is played about 37 minutes in. The full programme schedule is below.

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PoemFields: Visual(is)ing Poetry with 1960s Computer Graphics – AT&T Archive

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

PoetryFilm Equinox, The Groucho Club, Sunday 4 October 2015

groucho logo

PoetryFilm Equinox

The Groucho Club

Sunday 4 October, 3pm and 6pm

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PoetryFilm Paradox awarded funding for the BFI LOVE season

I am delighted to announce that PoetryFilm has been awarded funding by the BFI to join the BFI’s nationwide BFI LOVE blockbuster film season this autumn.

As part of the BFI LOVE season, PoetryFilm will present PoetryFilm Paradox, a curated selection of short film artworks exploring the theme of Love.

Further details will be announced shortly.

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*This autumn the BFI will rekindle the nation’s passion for film and television’s most enduring love stories with a major UK-wide season dedicated to LOVE, running from late October to the end of December 2015. A special Summer Love Weekend at the British Museum over the August Bank Holiday (27-29 August) will act as a curtain raiser for the main project.

BFI LOVE will encompass three key themes – The Power of Love, Fools for Love and Fatal Attractions incorporating the heartbreak and longing of epic love stories like Brief Encounter (1945) and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), cherished and light-hearted romcom classics like When Harry Met Sally (1989) and the darkest tales of obsession, betrayal and danger including True Romance (1993). There will be rereleases of Brief Encounter (6 November), When Harry Met Sally (11 December) and True Romance (20 November) by Park Circus during the season. Alongside a major film and TV programme at BFI Southbank, the BFI will ensure that audiences all over the UK can find that loving feeling via UK-wide theatrical rereleases, DVDs, a collection on BFI Player and bespoke film screenings and experiences up and down the country, presented in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN).

Details of the full programme for BFI LOVE, including screenings, events, film and DVD releases, special guests and more, will be revealed on Tuesday 15 September at BFI Southbank.

*copy taken from the BFI website.

PoetryFilm Parallax at The ICA (documentation)

Thanks to the c.100 guests who attended PoetryFilm Parallax at The ICA on Sunday 16 August 2015.

Documentation of the event is below.

“Feast your eyes on a curated selection of short film artworks” – Film London

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Work iPhone 1122

“Great afternoon ‪@poetryfilmorg ‪@ICALondon great curation wonderful films”

“Parallax- a magical & stimulating ‪@poetryfilmorg event ‪@ICALondon Loved ‪#spiritofplace ‪#breathing ‪#eye ‪#talkingskull ‪#fasterthanbirds”

“PARALLAX ‪@poetryfilmorg Great selection by Zata Banks of short films ‪@ICALondon today Next one at ‪@GrouchoClubSoho

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“‘Everything Makes Love with the Silence’ an exquisite fusion of film image and wonderful poetry. ‘It Started with a Murder’ and ‘The Lost Reels’ – two film poems that make art from extreme personal events. Thank you for organising. I’ll be back!”

 “‘Spirit of Place’ – a wonderful beginning to an inspirational event. ‘Eye’ made me witness the most intricate movements of vision i had not previously seen.”

“PoetryFilm was absolutely amazing today. Was one of the best collections of films and artists impressions. Great work and long may it continue!” 

“Inspiring way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Hail Zata!”

“Inspiring. Welcoming. Well curated. Thank you!”

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“Special afternoon watching ‘Barattolo di Sale’ on a big screen at my favourite London film venue. A memory of a truly special afternoon. Thank you Zata Banks of PoetryFilm for this great occasion!” 

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PoetryFilm Parallax, ICA Cinema, Sunday 16 August, 4pm

Eye
Parallax is the apparent displacement, or difference in the apparent position, of a visual object, when viewed along different lines of sight. In his book Transcritique, the Japanese philosopher Kojin Karatani uses the word ‘parallax’ to describe Kant’s shifting between contradictory perspectives. Kant’s “Antinomies of Reason” are contradictory propositions, which seem valid from their own perspectives, but which cannot be simultaneously true. Kant argues alternately from one perspective, then from the other, and Karatani describes Kant’s approach as establishing a parallax between philosophical positions. Karatani asserts that parallax does not equate with negativity, but it does not negate negativity either. The basis of parallax is the positivity of both positions.

Slavoj Žižek argues that in Karatani’s concept of the parallax view, the observed difference is not simply subjective, but that the viewer’s change in perspective reflects an ontological shift in the object itself; “the subject’s gaze is always-already inscribed into the perceived object itself, in the guise of its ‘blind spot’, that which is ‘in the object more than the object itself’, the point from which the object itself returns the gaze” (Žižek, The Parallax View, 2006). “Sure, the picture is in my eye, but me, I am also in the picture” (Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1979).

For the PoetryFilm Parallax screening at The ICA on 16 August 2015, Zata Banks will introduce a curated selection of short film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetic structures and experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms.

PoetryFilm is the influential research art project founded by British artist Zata Banks in 2002, to explore and exhibit experimental text / image / sound material. Since 2002, Zata Banks has presented over 70 PoetryFilm events at venues including Tate Britain, The ICA, CCCB Barcelona, O Miami, The Groucho Club, Cannes Film Festival, The Royal College of Art, FACT Liverpool, Mengi Reykjavik and Curzon Cinemas. Zata has judged poetry film prizes for the Southbank Centre in London, Zebra Festival in Berlin, and for the American journal Carbon Culture Review. PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England, and is a member of Film Hub London and part of the BFI Audience Network. The PoetryFilm Archive, which at present contains over 1,000 artworks, welcomes submissions all year round.

info@poetryfilm.org + www.poetryfilm.org

*Image: Eye by Guy Sherwin, courtesy of the artist

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Film London competition for PoetryFilm Parallax

Please note the newsletter sent out by Film London this morning offering a free pair of tickets to PoetryFilm Parallax as a competition prize features THE WRONG DATE.

PoetryFilm Parallax is on Sunday 16 August at 4pm at The ICA Cinema.

Film London says: “We should have double checked this though so I do apologise.” 

Please see below for details of how to enter the competition.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 14.50.52

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 14.51.01

PoetryFilm Parallax at The ICA, 16 August 2015

Eye

Parallax is the apparent displacement, or difference in the apparent position, of a visual object, when viewed along different lines of sight. In his book Transcritique, the Japanese philosopher Kojin Karatani uses the word ‘parallax’ to describe Kant’s shifting between contradictory perspectives. Kant’s “Antinomies of Reason” are contradictory propositions, which seem valid from their own perspectives, but which cannot be simultaneously true. Kant argues alternately from one perspective, then from the other, and Karatani describes Kant’s approach as establishing a parallax between philosophical positions. Karatani asserts that parallax does not equate with negativity, but it does not negate negativity either. The basis of parallax is the positivity of both positions.

Slavoj Žižek argues that in Karatani’s concept of the parallax view, the observed difference is not simply subjective, but that the viewer’s change in perspective reflects an ontological shift in the object itself; “the subject’s gaze is always-already inscribed into the perceived object itself, in the guise of its ‘blind spot’, that which is ‘in the object more than the object itself’, the point from which the object itself returns the gaze” (Žižek, The Parallax View, 2006). “Sure, the picture is in my eye, but me, I am also in the picture” (Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1979).

For the PoetryFilm Parallax screening at The ICA on 16 August 2015, Zata Banks will introduce a curated selection of short film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetic structures and experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms.

PoetryFilm is the influential research art project founded by British artist Zata Banks in 2002, to explore and exhibit experimental text / image / sound material. Since 2002, Zata Banks has presented over 70 PoetryFilm events at venues including Tate Britain, The ICA, CCCB Barcelona, O Miami, The Groucho Club, Cannes Film Festival, The Royal College of Art, FACT Liverpool, Mengi Reykjavik and Curzon Cinemas. Zata has judged poetry film prizes for the Southbank Centre in London, Zebra Festival in Berlin, and for the American journal Carbon Culture Review. PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England, and is a member of Film Hub London and part of the BFI Audience Network. The PoetryFilm Archive, which at present contains over 1,000 artworks, welcomes submissions all year round.

info@poetryfilm.org + www.poetryfilm.org

*Image: Eye by Guy Sherwin, courtesy of the artist

 

Here is the full programme for PoetryFilm Parallax at The ICA Cinema on Sunday 16 August 2015 at 4pm.

Tickets: https://www.ica.org.uk/whats-on/poetryfilm-parallax 

Spirit of Place, Oliver Harrison, 10 mins

PF Parallax -5.jpg Oliver Harrison

Twelve Hours of Daylight, Bridget Sutherland, 7 minutes (16mm, 35mm, archive, video)

PF Parallax -8.jpg Bridget Sutherland

It Started With a Murder, Susan Young, HD, 3mins (HD)

PF Parallax -1.jpg Susan Young

Liberté, Maciej Piatek, 2mins

PF Parallax 11.jpg Maciej Piatek

The Lost Reels, Matthew Humphreys, 5mins (Super8)

PF Parallax -2.jpg Matthew Humphreys

Everything Makes Love with the Silence, Hernán Talevara, 2 mins

PF Parallax -9.jpg Hernán Talavera

Breathing, Guy Sherwin, 3mins (100ft of 16mm)

PF Parallax -7.jpg Guy Sherwin

Eye, Guy Sherwin, 3mins (100ft of 16mm)

Eye

Our Bodies, Matt Mullins, 2mins (archive footage)

PF Parallax 10.jpg Matt Mullins

Talking Skull, David Asher Brook, 3mins (stop motion)

PF Parallax 12.jpg David Asher Brook

Constellations, Julian Scordato, 8 mins

PF Parallax 13.jpg Julian Scordato

Barattolo di Sale, PNEUMA, 10 mins

PF Parallax 14.jpg Francesca Ricci

Growing Up, Eugeny Tsymbalyuk, 2mins 30seconds (stop motion)

PF Parallax 15.jpg Eugeny Tsymbalyuk

Faster than Birds, Liliane Lijn, 2009 (Poemdrum) 3 minutes

PF Parallax 16.jpg Liliane Lijn

PoetryFilm: Future Events in 2015

August 2015
  • PoetryFilm Parallax event at The ICA Cinema (London), 16 August, 4pm.

October 2015

  • PoetryFilm Equinox event at The Groucho Club Cinema, Sunday 4 October 2015 (London, UK)
  • I have been invited to present a PoetryFilm lecture-demonstration at Millfield School, Science Lecture Theatre, 8 October 2015 (Somerset, UK)
  • PoetryFilm programme at the O Bheal Cork Film Festival, 9-11 October 2015 (Cork, Ireland)
  • PoetryFilm programme at the Rabbit Heart Festival, 11 October 2015 (Massachusetts, USA)

November 2015

  • PoetryFilm event as part of the BFI LOVE Blockbuster season (London, UK)
  • I have been invited to judge the CYCLOP International Videopoetry Festival (KIev, Ukraine)

December 2015

  • PoetryFilm presentation at the Scottish Poetry Library + Zata Banks in conversation, 3 December 2015 (Scotland, UK)

Invitation to submit poetry films about LOVE

All topics and themes are welcome, and material exploring LOVE is invited specifically for an event in December 2015.

Work welcome: poetry films, art films, text films, sound films, silent films, collaborations, auteur films, films based on poems, poems based on films, and other experimental text/image/sound screening and performance material. Submissions will be catalogued in the PoetryFilm Archive and will be considered for all future PoetryFilm projects.

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Cannes Lions 2015: Scientists vs. Poets

SCIENTISTS VS. POETS – THE ART OF CONNECTING DATA TO STORYTELLING

Traditionally the artistic left-brain indulgences have been diametrically opposed to the analytical right-brain disciplines. However, in today’s hyper-connected world, the best marketing comes when you embrace the creative tension between left-brain and right-brain. Powerful storytelling will always be the best way to motivate people’s behaviour, but data and analytics can help brands get under the skin of that behaviour. DigitasLBi Chief Creative Officer, Chris Clarke, and Chief Data Scientist, Jason Kodish, will battle it out on-stage before using real data gleaned from the audience to create compelling “stories” in real-time. Using these practical examples they will demonstrate that the best, most compelling narratives come from a combination of data and storytelling. They will prove once and for all that the scientists and the poets should join forces.

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Festival of the Unconscious at The Freud Museum, 24 June – 4 October 2015

The Unconscious Revisited at the Freud Museum

*Exciting things are happening at the Freud Museum London this summer. A century after Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary ideas reached a wider public, his final home, dedicated to preserving his legacy, has invited artists, designers, writers and performers to revisit Freud’s seminal paper The Unconscious (1915)

Using a combination of psychological games, scientific and historical information and engaging displays and workshops, The Festival of the Unconscious will encourage visitors to think and learn about the unconscious mind and how it influences our behaviour.

The Museum will become a strange and mysterious place, where writings, objects and artistic works will offer insights into unconscious experience. Newly commissioned films by animators from Kingston University will weave through the house; sound and video installations by London-based art project Disinformation will occupy the dining room, and an installation by stage designers from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, inspired by the work of cosmologist Carlos Frenk, will spectacularly transform Freud’s study. Visitors can contemplate their own unconscious associations through a personal display developed by Julian Rothenstein, co-author of the best-selling ‘Psychobox’. Finally there will be the unique opportunity of reclining and free-associating on a psychoanalytic couch, in Freud’s bedroom.

Project_imageAn early diagram from Freud’s ‘pre-analytic’ work, showing how the brain protects itself from unpleasant experiences by dissipating stimuli from the outside world.

Artistic contributions include The Dream Collector by Melanie Manchot, a 5-channel synched video and sound installation filmed in Mexico City – on view for the first time in the UK. Collaborative artists Brass Art present a video piece which uses Kinect scanners to capture intimate-scaled performances in the museum with sound composed by Monty Adkins. Other works include ‘the unconscious project’ by art therapists teaching on the MA Art Psychotherapy course at Goldsmiths, University of London, while Sarah Ainslie and Martin Bladh will display works offering modern takes on the ‘Thematic Apperception Test’ and the Rorschach ink blot test.

A season of wide-ranging and imaginative events, conferences and workshops accompany the exhibition. Highlights include Digging the Unconscious, a participatory archaeological dig in Freud’s garden, with performance artistlili Spain on 9 August, and a major interdisciplinary conference with keynote speaker Mark Solms on 26/27 September. You can unlock your unconscious with workshops in drama, poetry and art, while Hip Hop poet Reveal will perform and talk about Freestyle Rap and its relation to unconscious communication.

After the exhibition is over, the Festival events still continue with a major conference jointly organised with the British Journal of Psychotherapy. Mentalization and the Unconscious will take place on 28th November, with keynote speakers Nicola Abel-Hirsch, Catherine Freeman, Jean Knox, and Mary Target. Co-organiser and chair for the day is BJP editor, Ann Scott.

Have you ever done something without knowing why?

Despite the fact that the term is now associated with Freud, the existence of unconscious processes in the mind was recognised long before him. What Freud introduced was the revolutionary notion of a dynamic unconscious, working in a different way from consciousness, with its own kind of logic. He posited a part of the mind in which ideas associated with ‘wishful impulses’, childhood experiences and unacceptable thoughts are hidden from conscious awareness but continue to motivate our behaviour. Starting with his own dreams, he went on to show that the unconscious reveals itself not only in the unexplained symptoms of ‘mental illness’ but in countless manifestations of everyday life.

We laugh at a joke, but we don’t know why. A slip of the tongue reveals an embarrassing thought or a hidden intention. Thoughts come into our head, but where do they come from? We repeat patterns of self-destructive behaviour or plague ourselves with irrational fears. It is as if everything we do or say has a hidden dimension, a sub-text. The discovery of the unconscious means that we are no longer ‘masters in our own house’ – we literally do not know who we are.

In 1915, Freud wrote his paper on The Unconscious, which was an attempt to give scientific account of how the unconscious works. It is not an entirely successful paper, grappling as he is with the ‘unknown’. He makes hypotheses, modifies them, tries again. Freud often finds himself in the position of a cosmologist, trying to give an account of what is in a black hole, or what ‘cold dark matter’ is composed of. They just don’t know. But they know dark matter and black holes exist, obey their own laws and affect the galaxies in which they find themselves.

Freud’s metapsychology may not have the same impact as his captivating case histories or his books on dreams, jokes, and slips of the tongue, but his 1915 paper established ‘the unconscious’ as the principal object of psychoanalysis and the key term of its theory.

The Festival of the Unconscious invites visitors to explore Freud’s challenging idea through talks, performances and a major exhibition. As befits such an elusive concept, most of the works on display are not designed to transmit knowledge, but to evoke something of the visitor’s own unconscious. By engaging with them, we hope visitors may catch a glimpse of a world that is both strange and familiar.

*Information taken from The Freud Museum’s website.

PoetryFilm Penzance: 11 July 2015

PoetryFilm Penzance

Saturday 11 July 2015, 5pm

Redwing Gallery
Penzance Literary Festival
Cornwall, UK

A screening of poetry films curated and presented by Zata Banks.

PoetryFilm Logo Square

PoetryFilm is the influential research art project founded by British artist Zata Banks in 2002, celebrating poetry films and other experimental text/image/sound material.

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Programme: sound acts, April 2015 (Athens)

Below are the films (taken from The PoetryFilm Archive) shown at the PoetryFilm screening event at the “sound acts” festival in Athens, Greece, in April 2015.

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“Pure Tongue” exhibition exploring language, 19 June – 20 August 2015

The Pure Tongue exhibition opens today at Galeria Arsenał and runs until 20 August 2016. Artists in the show include Piotr Bosacki and Érik Bullot, whose artworks have previously been shown at PoetryFilm events. Information taken from the gallery’s website is below.

From 19 June 2015 to 20 August 2015
Opening: 18:00
Curator: Agata Chinowska
Place: Galeria Arsenał, ul. A. Mickiewicza 2, Białystok
Artists: Ad manum (Anna Koźbiel / Adam Walas), Piotr Bosacki, Érik Bullot, Ex-artists’ collective (Anikó Loránt / Tamás Kaszás), Ferenc Gróf, Little Warsaw, Małgorzata Niedzielko, Paulina Ołowska, Daniel Salomon, Slavs and Tatars, Société Réaliste

The point of departure for the Pure Tongue exhibition is Ludwik Zamenhof’s thought and his concept of a neutral platform of communication which would lead to cultural and ethnic divisions being overcome. His experience first from multilingual Białystok, then from multicultural Warsaw and, most of all, the situation of the Jewish diaspora motivated him to develop new social ideas whose final result was a universal international language. The first idea Zamenhof formed was Hillelism, involving reduction of social and mental differences between Jews and other European societies. Zamenhof believed that it took a universal language for the Jewish nation to peacefully coexist with others. As he worked on, Zamenhof’s premises became more general, now relating to all people, and the modified concept was termed Homaranismo. Agnieszka Jagodzińska wrote: “Zamenhof went down the road from Jewish particularism to all-encompassing universalism”[1]. Even though Zamenhof is best known as the originator of Esperanto, his ideas reached far beyond the linguistic field, including social, political and religious matters. First and foremost, Zamenhof was the precursor of multiculturalism and he wanted Esperanto to be not only a tool of communication but also a platform facilitating better understanding among nations and, as a consequence, effecting changes in social relations.

The main idea behind numerous attempts at developing a universal (perfect) language was to create a unification tool. The search for a perfect language encouraged a desire to return to a primal (pure) language. This was also the intention of Ludwik Zamenhof – to develop a “pure tongue” (Heb. safa berura) that would create harmony between nations. Walter Benjamin intuitively steered his reflections on translation towards the search for a perfect tongue. In his essay “The Task of the Translator”, he wrote: “Rather, all suprahistorical kinship of languages rests in the intention underlying each language as a  whole – an intention, however, which no single language can attain by itself but which is realized only by the totality of their intentions supplementing each other: pure language.”[2]

One of the main themes of the Pure Tongue exhibition is the myth of the Tower of Babel. The confusion of languages (L. confusio linguarum) that is found in it is regarded as punishment. Therefore, an important point of reference within the context of this exhibition is the reversal of the significance of the myth discussed by Umberto Eco in his book entitledThe Search for the Perfect Language. Eco cites theories suggesting that confusion – synonymous with multiplication or diversity – may be interpreted as a positive phenomenon, whose effects can be, for instance, observed in the development of ethnic bonds and territorial status. This view casts a new light on a wide range of questions pertaining to the politics of language, such as, for instance, the national language versus minority languages, marginalization of minority languages, language as an expression of ethnic identity, determination of one universal language in view of multiculturalism and multiethnicity. These problems seem most topical in an era of European integration. The European Union has decided that official languages of the community are the languages of all the member states. This was done to avoid conflict which would surely arise from introducing an official language that would at once be the language of one of the members (possibly English). It seems likely, however, that further expansion of the UE – and the resulting increase in the number of official languages of the community, will force the Union to choose one international auxiliary language.

The question of an artificial language is also related to the politics of language; developing new languages or eliminating them is also part of this politics. Naturally, politics can transform language to serve its purposes. It is enough to remember totalitarian systems, including e.g. Fascism or Stalinism, whose interference in language was very forceful. Language has always been with those in power. Also, the choice of alphabet, the visual recording of language, was a political and cultural decision, e.g. the choice of the Latin alphabet suggested belonging to a specific cultural region. This led to several linguistic revolutions, as, for instance, Latinization of the Ottoman Turkish language implemented by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Turkey in 1928 or failed attempts to Cyrillicize Polish language in Polish territories under Russian rule in the middle of the 19th century.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that human thought is determined by language and, as a result, it is language that conditions our perception of the world and state of mind. The thesis that “thinking and language is the same” means that language – to some extent – contains an image of the world. In the light of this concept, changes occurring in language as a consequence of globalization and communication networks (blogs, social services, internet communicators, mobile applications, etc) and related iconography (e.g. emoticons) seem very inspiring. The dominant language here is English – in the state of constant revolution, adopting it to never-ending changes in the grammar of electronic communication.

To sum up, the Pure Tongue exhibition centers on the question of universal communication; it explores the reasons for the desire to achieve it, the motivations behind creating artificial tools of communication in its various forms, including language, alphabet, lettering, or codes, e.g. the Morse code. Inspired by Ludwik Zamenhof’s ideas, it analyses his concepts within the context of current phenomena, both linguistic as well as political or national ones.

Agata Chinowska

translated by Monika Ujma

[1] Agnieszka Jagodzińska, Ludwik Zamenhof wobec kwestii żydowskiej, Kraków – Budapeszt 2012.

[2]Walter Benjamin, The Task of the Translator [first printed as introduction to a Baudelaire translation, 1923], in Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn; ed. & intro. Hannah Arendt (NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1968), pp. 69-82.

 

PoetryFilm Reykjavik, 16 July 2015

PoetryFilm Reykjavik

Thursday 16 July 2015, 9pm

Mengi
creative + experimental + music + art
Iceland

A screening of poetry films and live performances curated and presented by Zata Banks.

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Mengi

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“Graffiti” by Zata Banks included in the Wenlock Poetry Festival Anthology 2015

I am delighted to be featured in the Wenlock Poetry Festival anthology 2015. Many thanks to the festival team.

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PoetryFilm News: June 2015

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