Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Seafarer (David Tomaloff)

A while back I found this on my FB wall;

Knowing the works of the writer a bit, I was curious...
It was a poem, in the form of a 'tiny novella' and you had to fold it correctly before you could read it.

Origami Poems Project is fun. You get all these great poems in a highly orignal form.
But in this case it was not only the form.

'Seafarer' struck me immediately as a piece that I wanted to do something with. It wasn't the first time I made a video for David his words, and if he keeps on writing like this, it won't be the last.

So 'Seafarer', I suggest you print out the original fold it correctly and start reading. Now.

The video. I wanted to make a track first. David had send me a recording of him reading the whole piece. I needed to embed that reading in the right atmosphere. It took some puzzling this time.

I had these two tracks:

But they could not carry the story on their own. I had to combine these two, add some extra sounds into the mix and try to make them 'curl' around David's story and voice...
I came up with this one:

For the images I wanted to use the superb footage of Ivan Besse again.
I wanted to tell a story with the footage. A story that touches some parts of 'Seafarer' but could also open up completely different interpretations of the work as a whole or some of it's details.

Anyways...the work is done. Enjoy!

Words & voice: David Tomaloff
Thanks to Origami Poems Project

Concept, editing, treats & music: Swoon
Footage: Ivan Besse collection (Public Domain - Prelinger)

Friday, 24 August 2012

Remembering Lidice / 1 November

Recently I was very impressed by a book about the attack on Heydrich and its repercussions by the Germans, mainly on Lidice. The book: HhhH by Laurant Binet

I wanted to make a videopoem as a remembrance piece for Lidice.
Lidice was a village in the Czech Republic just northwest of Prague which, as part of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was on orders from Adolf Hitler and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in the late spring of 1942 On 10 June 1942, all 173 men over 16 years of age from the village were murdered, another 11 men who were not in the village were arrested and murdered soon afterwards along with several others already under arrest. Several hundred women and over 100 children were deported to concentration camps; a few children considered racially suitable for Germanisation were handed over to SS families and the rest were sent to the Chełmno extermination camp where they were gassed to death. (Wikipedia)

As usual I made a track first:

and went looking for a suitable poem. And I found one, here in Belgium; '1 November' by Belgian poet Bernard Dewulf
(Remember Alastair Cook and I made a video for 'aan het water', his first  poem as 'city-poet' of Antwerp a few months back)
I found a recording of the poem on Lyrikline and asked Bernard if I could use his poem.
I could. Good.

1 NovemberDe doden hebben verzameld vandaag.
Ze kwamen klagen tot in mijn hoofd.
Mijn zoon gaf alles zijn woord, mijn vrouw lag als een graf te slapen.
Jaarlijks gingen bloemen langs de ramen.
Het leek of ik nooit zo aanwezig was.
Ik zat met iedereen samen,
onvindbaar bij mijn noemende kind,
in een verwarmde kamer vol namen.
(© Bernard Dewulf)

November 1stThe dead assembled today
They came and moaned up to my head.
My son gave his words to everything, my wife was lying, sleeping as a grave.
Every year the flowers went by the windows.
It seemed as if I had never been so present before.
I was sitting among all the others,
near my child naming, yet I was not to be found,
in a heated room full of names.
(English version by Sapphire/Ramona Lofton - © 2001 by Sapphire/Ramona Lofton)

For the images I made use of a small piece of footage I found in an online documentary made for Lidice; Lidice Lives by James Trusswel. I placed that piece in between a loop I made of images I filmed myself. Repetition was the key word here. I chose to show everything in black and white to fit the atmosphere of November the first.

Words & voice: Bernard Dewulf
Translation: Sapphire/Ramona Lofton
(poem recorded by literaturWERKSTATT berlin, M. Mechener, 2001 - for
Concept, camera, editing, treats & music: Swoon
Footage:  Lidice Lives by James Trusswel

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Another new version of a project we did last year.

An exercise.
An experiment. Many thoughts. Words.
Cut-up technique.

Katrijn Clemer has kept a journal for months... her thoughts, words, fears and pains.
A diary. A quest.

Out of two hundred pages of honesty she selected 100 sentences. Important sentences, for her.
Purely on my gut feeling, from those 100 I picked out 60.
Those sentences were the base of 'ctrlC/ctrlV' using the Cut-up technique.
We deconstructed the 60 lines into loose words.
These words we placed placed in a rows. Five at a time.
With each selection, we tried to form a new sentence.

Result twenty 'new' lines.
With those lines we started all over again.

Result: 200 pages in 1 poem. Dada.

Zonder gemakkelijke woorden
verliest een duivel zijn identiteit.
Opgebruikt door primair schuldgevoel,
gedecontstrueerd door taal.
Verschillende ijskasten met niets eromheen.
Alles onvoorwaardelijk opbouwen.
Vage lust krijgt meer vorm.
De lijn van de dag speelt geen rol.
De onmacht geluid te stoppen eindigt in chaos.
Misnoegd. Teleurgesteld.
De beloofde engel heeft een reservehoofd vol pijn.
Gewoontes verdwijnen in cirkelende gedachten.
Denken stelt de tijd uit.
Dingen worden automatisch.
Keuzes lijken jarenlang te hebben.
Alle leven moet een beetje naar de overkant.
Zonder woede is een hoorspel niets.

Annmarie Sauer made a translation for the subtitles.

Without facile words
the devil looses his identity.
Used up by primary feelings of guilt,
deconstructed by language.

Several fridges surrounded by nothing.
Unconditional construction of everything.
Vague longing acquires more form.
The flow of the day is irrelevant.

The inability to stop the sound ends in chaos.
Discontent. Disappointed.
The promised angel has a reserve head full of pain.

Habits disappear in circling thoughts.
Thinking postpones time.
All things become automatic.
Choices last for years.

All life must cross over a little.
Without anger a soundtrack is nothing. 

A new version meant a new track;

Images came from footage I filmed over a year ago. I treated the images and added three or four layers. I edited in the same way we constructed the poem. Random cuts were made and I puzzled each new version without purpose. I repeated that proces 5 times.

words & voice: Katrijn Clemer
translation: Annmarie Sauer
Concept, camera, editing treats & music: Swoon

Monday, 13 August 2012

opwerpingen reddingspogingen stormen iii

A new Dutch videopoem based on a recording from a poetry (vinyl)album I got as a present from Michaël Vandebril.

BOEST (Demian, 2009 -

The poet is Xavier Roelens and the poem 'opwerpingen reddingspogingen stormen iii'
is also part of his book 'Stormen Olievlekken Motetten (over de twee hoofdbestanddelen van de mens: water & relaties)'
(Uitgeverij Contact, 2012) -

'opwerpingen reddingspogingen stormen iii'

wat de zee opwerpt is wat we oprapen voor onze uitzet:
een bloempot, een breezer, een gloeilamp, een tetrabrik
met frambozensmaak, een plastic zak, een fles ketchup,
een ijzersponsje, brandhout in cellofaan, een schroefdop,
een jerrycan, bekers, een vuilniszak om alles te bewaren
en voor ’s middags wier op een bedje van tamponhoesjes

wat de zee verzwijgt    op zolder ingeduffeld tot wandaad
rusten onze slapen tegen elkaar     in een afzetgebied
nemen onze lusten     een onzichtbare hand te grazen
geen koehandel geen   doelgroep zijn wij
wij schitteren in knulligheid    leren we van ruis
te houden vandaag       zijn wij twee dolfijnen

de sneeuw die we smeleten op ons dak
sijpelt aan de voordeur tot ijs

Xavier is not the easiest poet to read. Getting through his book;
 'Stormen Olievlekken Motetten (over de twee hoofdbestanddelen van de mens: water & relaties)'
took me some time, but it was worth it.
Xavier may not be easy, he's daring, truthful and very engaged. The back cover says that the author by writing the bundle became a vegetarian.

The phrase 'eco-poetry' comes to mind.

Because of that fact I decided to use a series of photo's I called 'Paper Trail' (to be seen on my FB) as a base for this video. Only photographs of waste and garbage left behind in nature.
The track was an 'oldie':

All I had to do was try to edit the 'string' of photo's to the music, the tone and tempo of his reading on the album...I sampled his voice as a kind of recurring theme in the video...

words & voice: Xavier Roelens
Concept, camera, editing & music: Swoon
Thanks to: Demian (for BOEST) and Uitgeverij Contact.

Monday, 6 August 2012


A new Howie Good publication (Desecrations, Fowlpox,2012 - get it now!)
came to me in the same week a Qarrtsiluni podcast of Howie doing one of those poems hit me in the face...I couldn't let these two moments go by.

I asked Dave Bonta and Howie Good if I could use the words and recording.

I had just turned six. The universal symbol for handicapped hadn’t been invented yet. Birds dragging broken wings left their black
footprints on the stairs.

My parents made me take piano lessons. The piano hated me. I spent
Hanukkah watching Christmas lights blink on and off on the house
across the street.

My shadow walked ahead. It seemed odd that the stairs that went up
were the same stairs that went down.

A man stood washing an apple at the sink. All the windows facing the

other side of the world were open. Veiled women beckoned him into the
Kasbah. The X on the sidewalk marks the spot where he landed.

I had a track ('Gaze') that I used before for an older videopoem that I wasn't to happy with.
But I still love the track.
'Gaze', by the way is on 'Pathways' a great sampler on netlabel NSI. You can get that just for free.

I made use of some great footage I found on Prelinger from a guy Ivan Besse, who filmed everyday life in South Dakota somewhere in '38 '39...
I combined that footage with layers of recordings I made myself to add a ghostlike atmosphere (to fit the soundscape) and a bit of colour and depth. it is

Poem & voice: Howie Good (from 'Desecrations' - Fowlpox, 2012)
(Recording: Qarrtsiluni Podcast 05/07/2012)
Concept, camera, editing &music: Swoon
The instrumental track ('Gaze') is part of the NSI collection 'Pathways'
Footage: Ivan Besse Collection (Britton, South Dakota '38/'39 - Prelinger Archives) - Nile's Family 1975 (Nylah01)