The video hovers tentatively between therapy, documentary, poetics and mystic traipsery and ends, like all good things, in surrender to song. There is a challenge presented (the challenge to engage earnestly with the piece as it requests) to fall into the breathing and pacing presented, and the challenge to view the video as a discrete piece of art at the same time. The piece relies heavily on the text, the disembodied Virgil through which the words become musical, instructive and (due to the absence of image) visual.
Modesty, whimsy, and clarity of design grace the work of Joe Brainard (1941-1994), an artist and writer whose evocations of memory and desire perhaps found their greatest expression in his memoir-poem I Remember.
An elegy to Diane Burns on the shapes of mortality and being, and the forms the transcendent spirit takes while descending upon landscapes of life and death. A place for new mythologies to syncopate with deterritorialized movement and song, reifying old routes of reincarnation. Where resignation gives hope for another opportunity, another form, for a return to the vicissitudes of the living and all their refractions.
In The Jungle painfully and sorrowfully tells the tale of an unreliable narrator in a self-imposed exile. Given a grant to study the equivalent of animal cries and whines in jungle flora our heroine has lived for 1,612 days deep in an unnamed jungle. This jungle serves as an extended metaphor for excessive and continual growth and death and fear and sustenance; a metaphorical space of chaos in which the scientist finds solace and which stands in contrast to the human jungle of 'civilization'.
In his New York City landscape, Cohen finds inspiration in disturbance. Looking to life for rhythm and to architecture for state of mind, he locates simple mysteries. Just Hold Still is comprised of an interconnected series of short works and collaborations that explore the gray area between documentary, narrative, and experimental genres.
I arranged a visit to poet/novelist Kevin Killian’s South of Market apartment in San Francisco to shoot a portrait of him, and when I arrived he had a guest, poet Cedar Sigo. They had corresponded earlier, but were meeting for the first time, and Cedar agreed to participate in our video shoot. This is perhaps the least planned, most verité and documentary of the videos about writers so far. Our immediate plan was for Kevin to read one of Cedar’s poems and for Cedar to read one by Kevin.
Lady Fortescue, author of poetry, suffers from a writer's lack of inspiration, until "young Jeffrey" is sent to stay with her in her garden where, "The butterflies float about like fairies from an old picture book," in this sumptuous video.
The Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven né Plotz, was an unsung member of the Dada Movement. A poet, artist, runaway, and all around public provocateur; she actively did not fit into her historical moment, and like most misfits, suffered for it. As with many women artists throughout history, her cultural legacy has been obscured and in some instances appropriated into the oeuvres of better known male peers.
In the early 1990s, I went to a reading by Leslie Scalapino at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. I could not understand the writing, which can seem difficult and unwieldy to a reader unaccustomed to language poetry, and understood less the more I tried. After a certain point in the reading I stopped trying to figure it out and I let the words seep in. My reward was an effortless understanding of how her poetry works.
Sections 31-60 of an incomplete extended poem describing the artist's connection to the radical black tradition. The completed poem will be formed of 180 sections.
"Lessons are all about constraints; they are thirty seconds, must feature a black figure, and I have rules about where to make cuts, how to edit sound, etc." — Martine Syms in conversation with Aram Moshayedi, Mousse Magazine