Poetry

The search for one’s true identity, the need to create, to find a proper place in the universe – this is the pursuit of the individuals portrayed in this narrative meditation… It is that quest to find meaning in existence… The ability to think outside of the "self".

This title comprises Saints and Sinners (2015), Soul Searchers (2014), and His Soul to Give (2019) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

Every Wandering Cloud is the first installment in a series of experimental videos inspired by the writings of Oscar Wilde. Interweaving text from Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" with hand-drawn animation derived from Eadweard Muybridge's Human and Animal Location, Every Wandering Cloud is a meditation on themes of freedom and imprisonment. The video juxtaposes an eclectic array of archival and contemporary imagery, including documentary footage and original Super-8 and digital video.

This is an over-the-top Video bouquet audaciously delivered by flamboyant "Pan" – like poets determined to paint the world pink.

Fluid Frontiers is the fifth and final film in the series entitled The Diaspora Suite, exploring Asili’s personal relationship to the African Diaspora. Shot along the Detroit River, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between concepts of resistance and liberation, exemplified by the Underground Railroad, Broadside Press, and artworks of local Detroit Artists.

Get ready for a smorgasbord of mishaps perpetrated by misfits choking on missteps in life… Add to this a dash of bitter memories sprinkled with love affairs gone stale, and you’ve got a heap of slop for mental indigestion. 

This movie is food-for-thought you can choke on; an eye-filling, ear-stuffing digital dish that induces gasps and quite a few giggles.

Twilight deepens, Night descends and moods sink into madness. But the mind refuses to exist in dark places, and struggles to resurface so that the soul can breathe-in spiritual enlightenment.

A song of mourning, praise, and compassion for the sentient creatures with whom we share this planet. Focusing on the myth, history, and natural life of the elephant, the video explores the gulf we have created between ourselves and animals. Powered by the poetry of Lorca, Kipling, and Reeves, this impassioned lament for subjugated and slaughtered elephants earns its polemical stance—a broader relation to inhumanity—by force of its compelling subject matter.

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was a leading American poet who gained notoriety in the 1950s and ’60s through his association with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance.  One of the most controversial poets of his time, his book Howl and Other Poems faced an obscenity trial in 1957 and became one of the most widely read poems of the 20th Century. In the '60s and '70s, Ginsberg studied under gurus and Zen masters.

God's Men, 2022

Flesh and blood souls breathe forth the colors of doubt, guilt and a hope for "peace of mind" in a world without moral directions... This video is about strength and weakness, done with human forms assembled and lovingly digitized.

This title comprises The Poet's Battle (2016), NightSchool (2015), Ascension (2013), Lost Blues (2014), and A Rented Space (2015) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

Gray Hairs is a visual and aural poem to Man Ray, featuring close-up shots of the dog’s body and a soundtrack of panting, sniffing and licking.

H2, 2010

Nurit Sharett visited the city of Hebron over the course of a year, teaching video art to a group of young Palestinian women. Over time the artist established firm relationships with three of her students and their families. The video documents everyday life in that microcosm, dissimilar to any other city.

Healing, 2012

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.

There is no need to "sin" because Hell is here, just go to the window and peek out…. It’s next door and is on display in this movie.

… See the poet tumble down a flight of stairs as he avoids the clutches of a behemoth babe who practices witchcraft and carries plastic flowers.

Matt Wolf returns to Joe Brainard's iconic poem I Remember (1970) in this videowork. His archival montage combines audio recordings of Brainard reading from the poem, as well as an interview with his lifelong friend and collaborator, the poet Ron Padgett. The result is an inventive biography of Joe Brainard, and an elliptical dialog about friendship, nostalgia, and the strange wonders of memory.

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.

“I’m from Oklahoma I ain’t got no one to call my own.
If you will be my honey, I will be your sugar pie way hi ya
way ya hi ya way ya hi yo.”

In The Jungle playfully 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'.

Joe, 2018

A portrait of New York author Joe Westmoreland. Joe is reading from his short story Sweet Baby Joe. This video was shot in 2014 in Joe's Chelsea loft, and the reading was recorded in 2016. 

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.

The Lamps, 2015

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.

Leslie, 1998

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

Poet Leticia Plotkin's final poem, intended to praise the ancient deities who control one's fate, turns instead into a bitter damnation scribbled in venom.

Take a trip into and out of the body to ponder Time’s endless depths where Earth spirits roam and inner Demons lurk, and find secrets that hide behind the "self". Its here for you to see.

This title comprises Moon Lit Vows (2017), Boy in the Mirror (2015), Celestial Horizons (2019), Book of the Angel (2017) and Floating on the Currents of Consciousness (2019) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

Lore, 2019

Images of friends and landscapes are cut, fragmented, and reassembled on an overhead projector as hands guide their shape and construction in this film stemming from Hollis Frampton’s Nostalgia. The voice tells a story about a not too distant past, a not too distant ruin, with traces of nostalgia articulated in terms of lore; knowledge and memory passed down and shared not from wistful loss, but as a pastiche of rumination, reproduction, and creation.