Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Crowning of Jesters

A conversation:

S: "And now for something completely different...
I'm working on a new video; The shareholders meeting

Images will come from this video: 
I'm doing a re-edit of that archive material and Maybe  I want to add exerpts from 'Das Kapital' by Marx as titles. One thing missing: a poem that reflects greed, money - power, crisis, banks, the whole bubble of money driven economics that led to the different crises we had,...
Nothing literally...hints, atmosphere... Are you up for it?  Let me know what you think..."
                                                                 - TIME -

D: "...As for the new prompt, I can definitely give it a shot. I'll see if I can conjure up a draft within the next couple of days. Is that ok?"
                                                                 - TIME - 

S: "Yes, sure. Take your time...I'm happy you want to go for it..."

                                                                 - TIME -
D: "So, this is a draft. It's a little more upfront than some of the other stuff I've written for you, I think. That said, it's still pretty surreal. I want to still tweak it a bit, read it aloud a few times, etc"
                                                                  - TIME -
S: "Yes! Yes. Fantastic title. Love the quotes.
Good imaging. The last line
'Currency is a plot of land to which the wingless birds have marched us—on which we are sold the means to dig ourselves a more efficient kind of grave' is spot on...
So yes, you're definitely on to something. Tweak as you like and see fit."
                                                                   - TIME -
D: "I just wanted to touch base and let you know that I plan to have your poem recorded and on your desk by the end of the weekend at the latest.
I have it finished. I just need to be in a quiet environment with software long enough to read and edit it. Ha!
I should have it to you very soon now.
For what it's worth, I'm really liking this piece. I'm looking forward to the done deal"
                                                                   - TIME -
S: "Version 2.9: (still private, pass: jesters) Let me know your thoughts." 
                                                                   - TIME -
D: "This is intense, man. Really intense. Opening with the scrolling stock stuff is brilliant. I love the way the words fit into the visuals all the way around. I was convinced I was watching a seance or something--very ominous. I think it's great"
                                                               - THE POEM -

                                                         THE CROWNING OF JESTERS
we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
—Anaïs Nin 

you wanted everything / you needed everything
—Fugazi, Greed 

The shallowy birds of the moment have given up to us their saccharin wings. They have eaten from the bowls of the dead, and they have swallowed back the coins left behind by the namesakes of unnamed families, whose bodies have been broken in the process of provision, their feet left dangling, given to the only certainties promised by a bacchic and unsteady wind.

ominous chamber music,
violins, et cetera.
bold static figures 
moving in and out of light— 

creatures reduced to the babble
of rusted swing sets, falling
about themselves,
tottering from the backs of chairs

When we say amen, we mean in god we trust. When we say in god we trust, we assume that our temples have been insured against the salt of the wicked men. Currency is a plot of land to which the wingless have marched us—on which we are sold the means to dig ourselves a deeper & more efficient kind of grave.
                                                                      - THE VIDEO -

Words & Voice: David Tomaloff
Concept, add. Camera, Editing, Music: Swoon
Footage: '3 Glazer' (Lutz Mommartz)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

River of Light

Paul Perry and I have put our forces together once before. That combination of his words and thoughts with my sounds and images seemed to hit the right chords here and there.
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) was selected and screened for several festivals and even won first prize in this years 'La Parola Immaginata' (Jury details)

Time for a follow up. Paul gave me some of his poetry to choose from.

I picked out  River of Light
red, green and yellow neon
blur the highway
into a river of light

the intersection appears
like a mirage
smoke wafting from the policemen’s flares

call them mourning candles
three a.m.
surrounding the scene

the intersection
like a small island of sorrow
the car should not

be cut in half
so easily, so simply
but it is, there

we watch, dumb spectators,
held back
by yellow tape

as the police measure
confer and agree
the yellow plastic

covering the unnamed dead
flaps in the wind
like an ignominious flag

a warning, a reminder
flapping absurdly in rhythm
with the smashed blinker

 of the halved car,
again yellow
until the ambulance appears

and departs, easily, simply
the shattered glass swept away
the car removed

the tape taken
so that everything
looks as it did

an hour before
when we passed
on the other side

an unending kaleidoscope
a blurring, ever-moving
river of light

It's a poems (much like 'For two NATO soldiers...') that creeps up to you as an almost dry recapitulation of a daily newspaper article. And then it hits you, full force, in the stomach.
I needed very simple images. I wanted fragile, yet powerful. Light, yet disturbed. The same for the sounds.
Paul gave me a recording and I went to work on a suitable track;

While creating those soundsI got the idea of filming poppies. I knew of a small narrow strip full of them, in between two railroad lines. A flower that grows in the middle of concrete and iron. Strong yet fragile in the constant wind of trains. They worked perfectly.
Right at the end of the film I added images of reflections of an ambulance light and combined those with the sounds of heavy breathing.


Words & Voice: Paul Perry
Concept, Camera, Editing & Music: Swoon

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Pioneer Wife Speaks in Tongues

Sometimes I collect images, keep them with me until the right poem comes along.
The same with certain tracks I create.
'And So They Live' (John Ferno, Julian Roffman, 1940) is a piece of archive showing poorly educated "mountain peoples" living in poverty and stricken with disease, it's a public-domain documentary about life in the Appalachian mountains with some great looking shots but a typical and very patronizing narration.
I used some parts before more than a year ago in 'Odds and Ends' The images stayed on my 'shelf' since then...

In came Donna Vorreyer. We worked together before and I think she's a very fine poet.
Donna has got a new collection out: 'The Imagined Life of the Pioneer Wife' (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013)
Almost every poem in that collection could have been used for this videopoem. Not because they're all the same. Because they're all so good!

I asked Donna if I could use 'The Pioneer Wife Speaks in Tongues' and she recorded a version.
Listening to her voice I went back to this track:

The two worked perfectly together, I only added some whispering in the background. Now I had a steady basis and I could start the search for the right images.
There was one sequence in the film I really loved. Can't explain why, but the feet in the snow worked on a whole other level. When I placed that sequence on the basis, the rest came naturally.

Have a look and listen for yourself:

Words & Voice: Donna Vorreyer
Concept, add. Camera, Editing & Music: Swoon
Footage: 'And So They Live' (John Ferno, Julian Roffman, 1940)