Thursday, 27 December 2012


My last videopoem of 2012 was a blast of a collaboration.
On one hand I had a poem by Erica Goss and on the other I got to use and re-edit images by Alastair Cook.
It's like the cook said: Making a great dinner is easy if you have the finest ingredients.

Some of you might know Erica throught the great series of articles about videopoetry she's been writing for Connotation Press. Others might already know she's a fine writer.
In any case I was happy to get the chance to do something with one of her poems that was published earlier in Connotation Press;


In the spirit world
backlit by old stars

dreams sound like
water falling

we are inside
and outside
at the same time

trays clack like old bones
as faces rise from wet paper

their deep cloudy eyes
and conquered mouths
appear between our hands

lips and chins a blurry landscape
touched with the faint light
of a slow exposure

switch off the red
and exhale
we stand on their ashes

I loved the images, figures and the sound of this poem. When she send me a reading I went to work and took bits of two tracks I did earlier to make a solid (yet noisy) base.

For images I went knockin' on Alastair Cook's door.
Earlier this year Alastair and I worked together on two versions of 'Aan het water' (by Bernard Dewulf): and
A few weeks ago this collaboration knew a follow up in 'Every Memory' (from the 'Absent Voices' series) where he made great use of some footage I had send him.
In return I could make use of some of his images.
As I said, cooking's easy this way...

Words & voice: Erica Goss
Cinematography: Alastair Cook
Concept, editing & music: Swoon

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Halverwege / Scheldeduiker

Great commission for 'Programma voor Stad in Verandering' ;
If I was willing to create two new videopoems based on poems written by former 'city poets' within the theme of water, Schelde?

Yes please.

2 writers I hadn't worked with before and two completely different poems. These are the days I truly love what I do...
I created two different tracks but used the same intro and added the same underlying sounds of wind to tie the both together. For images I went in two different directions; concrete - abstract.

Peter Holvoet-Hanssen:

Scheldeduiker (from 'Antwerpen/Oostende', Uitgeverij Prometheus, 2012)
wind in de tijd - straatkinderen van het Eilandje
wapperen daar bij die vierde toren - ontij croont
voor de thuislozen die kruipen in lofts van karton
bij de prefabbuildings
waai die daghengsten weg - draai
klimmend als opstandig gras door scheuren in beton

torens zijn de wachters, staan als bakens voor de maan
schepen schaatsen op een ton weerbarstig in de zon
van drip drop en klip klip klop, wij kiezen voor het sop
scheep in, dravend langs de kant dwars door het Scheldeland
want de wereld stoomt de wereld stroomt aan ons voorbij
snel dus trager, haast u langzaam; zeefier -
trossen los

de zeeleeuwerik tiereliert en hoort de witte zoutmerel

For this one I went filming in Antwerp and tried to caption the atmosphere of some of the favorite spots of the writer. Not for the anecdotic reasons but because he is worried some of these things and places will not survive the plans of the city developers.
The track I made is based on a small music box/snowball Peter had with him when he came to do a reading of the poem.  I aslo added a few exerpts of a choir (Maanstemmer - Stadskoor) who sang a musical version of this poem when it was 'released' on a boat.

Anyway, here it is...

Words & Voice: Peter Holvoet-Hanssen
Concept, camera, editing & music: Swoon
Thanks: Stad in verandering, Peter's muziekbol, Maanstemmer - Stadskoor, Katrien Moortgat

Bart Moeyaert:

Halverwege (from 'Gedichten voor gelukkige mensen', Uitgeverij Querido, 2008)
Voor je verwijnt tussen de vouwen van de stroom
schijn je nog één keer om te kijken.
Mij is het niet bekend hoe lang.
Ik weet ook niet van welke kant je afscheid neemt.
Zeg je dag toren of dag flatgebouwen.
Je gaat, zoals je van een drempel glijdt.
Tenzij de wind meezit en verderop de hand verschijnt
van wie het hardste roept kom hier.
Daar staat je held dan op het droge.
Op welke wal voorspelt men niet.
De drenkeling die navertelt hoe weinig tijd hij had,
heeft weliswaar niet lang, maar niettemin
zelf ingeschat, hoe groot zijn kansen waren.
Werd het de overkant, werd het de muur.
Daar ging hij dan aan land.

For this poem I chose for a more abstract approach. One with a darker tone.
Only images of the surface of water, slowed down to fit the track I made. It gives the whole a bit of a sinister atmosphere and adds a new dimension to the original poem.

Anyway here it is...

Words & Voice: Bart Moeyaert
Concept, camera, editing & music: Swoon

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Bended Trees by Reiziger

And now for something completely different...

Reiziger is a band from Belgium;

'Reiziger touches your emotion. Easily switching from subdued melancholy to youthful enthusiasm, from restrained contemplation to razor-sharp paroxysms of anger, shifting from feather-light poptunes to a massive dead swing sound but nonetheless always keeping their specific touch. Reiziger is a band. No exasperating individualism, no freaky soloing, the whole is much more than the sum of 4 individuals. Reiziger is beyond a band. Managing to combine escapism with harsh realism! Reiziger is Reiziger. Unique in sound, unique in word, unique in style.'

Reiziger is back with a new album 'Kodiak Station' (Release date: Feb 4th Birch&Broom Records/Pias – Red Plane Records)
I am very happy they asked me to work with them on some video's and visuals for their live shows.

There will be 3 video's and I'm working (as we speak) on a stream of images to support their live shows, but now I am proud to present the first videoclip; 'Bended Trees'

For this song I took a dive into film history and came across 'Dementia 13' (1963) directed by a young Francis Ford Coppola. Not his best film (maybe that's why it is in public domain?), but with some great cinematography.
It's dark and broody. Beautiful black and white and it got dolls. That was enough for me... I re-edited a few scenes adjusted it to the pace of the song and created another feel needed for the song. I believe it works, but do watch and listen for yourselves.

Here it is...

Music: Reiziger
Concept, editing: Swoon
Footage: Dementia 13 (Francis Ford Coppola)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Drift (For two NATO soldiers who drowned in an attempt to recover supplies from a river in the province of Badghis, Western Afghanistan, November, 2009)

Earlier this year I placed some kind of 'open call' to invite writers to write a poem inspired by sounds & images I provided. Weeks after that project I received an e-mail;
"I have some poems for you - if you're still looking for some "
The mail came from Paul Perry.

I was interested and we started mailing back and forth. Paul send me some of his poems.

"Dark, dramatic ... bold and striking ... the pitch-black Jacobean tone of Perry's poetic shines with clarity and intensity." (Poetry Ireland Review) and I agree (based on what I read)

There was one I was immediately struck by;
For two NATO soldiers who drowned in an attempt to recover supplies from a river in the province of Badghis, Western Afghanistan, November, 2009.
two boys lie
head down
in water 

like the hands
of a dial 

they make up
the body
of a cold clock 

their winter numbers
no alarm-bell 

rings out
no shock is captured
in the atmosphere 

nor is it known
how suddenly
they fell 

into the water’s gasp
or how quickly
they succumbed 

to the icy
their pale still

faces drawn
towards the bottom
their eyes starless

and threadbare
from the corner 

of one mouth
a delicate bead of air
from the other 

nothing – 

at dawn
I fill
their pockets 

then rinse
their hands
with light
I asked Paul to do a reading and went on preparing sounds and images.
For this one I created the track 'Drift' 

The main images came not from me but I used footage from the site Crisp and clean footage. Idyllic images with water, birds and logs.
Movement and juxtaposition I found with Cullen McHale. This footage of young men, alive, in their prime and having fun with searching kicks in innocent danger forms a perfect contrast with the content of the poem. Yet they tell a story of what was, or could have been.
I only had to add a layer of 'light' and some treated photographs to add to the general atmosphere of the video.
 Anyway, for your eyes and ears...
Words & voice: Paul Perry
Concept, camera, editing & music: Swoon
Footage: Cullen McHale & Beachfront B-Roll