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

Monday, 12 November 2012

Manual revisited; 'How to find things'

Earlier this year I made four video's for some parts of the great series written by Dave Bonta; Manual.
It was time for a revisit and a new addition.

How to find things
Stop searching. Only pre-existing itches should be scratched.
Pull the petals from a daisy, then use tweezers to remove the yellow florets in its eye.
This is the way to perfect your own seeing.
Court sleep as if it were a lover.
When you dream of being chased, stop fleeing—let yourself be caught, killed and dismembered.
Your dreams will be so much better with a new protagonist!
Call your own phone number and say, Who's this?
Have a notary's signature tattooed above your genitals.
If you're claustrophobic, team up with an agorophobic and make love from a safe distance.
(Love-making is dangerous: you can discover too many things at once.)
However quickly you're going, go faster still.
Give each of your possessions a pet name and a safe word.
Do somebody else's bidding for 50 years.
Watch a log burning in a fireplace on cable TV.
If you want to find God, sin flagrantly to invite divine retribution.
If you want to follow your gut, you must first acquire a gut.
Close your mind and open your mouth to every sweetness.
You are a child of the universe.
Stuff yourself until you resemble a minor asteriod.
Each borborygmus is a message from the other world.

My inspiration and images for this video all came from 'Ephemeral Rift'
He's a very inspirational guy who makes video's to induce ASMR.
Check him out if you are into that or would like to learn about 'the tinglesmiths'.

I like his video's 'cause he's not only paying attention to the ASMR-sounds but has a great visual touch. I wondered if his images would stand out without the sounds they're made for, and they do.

I re-edited a few of his video's to a combination of 2 tracks I made earlier and added Dave's reading of the text.

The result works quiet well and fits the earlier 'Manual-video's' I made in atmopshere, spirit and imagery perfectly.
So here it is

Manual: How to find things

Words & voice: Dave Bonta
Camera & inspiration: Ephemeral Rift
Concept, editing, music: Swoon

Friday, 2 November 2012

Top Five Men of the Cities

Some of you might know by now that Qarrtsiluni is a great place to discover great poetry and good readings. As it is I have made several videopoems already using that source.

The next one comes from their series 'Fragments',  this time I picked out:

Top Five Men of the Cities

His tight nylon jacket
zipped to the neck, sheathing
the hues of his tautness
from the world—the
sandaled blond feet
and shaggy mane—
the only invitations to
join him at the gallery.
For soccer, he waits
with friends and beer,
straight from work,
the pub chair matching
pound for hard pound
the pressure of his weight,
clad in the perfect ratio
of dress-cloth gabardine
to bracing athletic flesh.
The glisten of his flushed skin
caught by the light
of the single, naked bulb,
his eyes as dark as
his lips trembling
with unintelligible
whispers, his native tongue
dangling as on a string.
Towering tree of a boy,
apologizing in hard “R”
softly, gently—
for the lateness of
the food, and
secretly, the inaccessibility
of his heart.
His unwashed hair,
alluring beneath the woolen
workman’s cap, like
a revolutionary in tribute
to his forebears,
a ceramic doll in tribute
to the wretched
and unbathed
of the cities of the plain.

The poem and the reading are by Brad Fairchild.
From Qartsiluni: "Brad Fairchild is an artist and writer living in Atlanta who wants to point out the lonely beauty in broken things. He wants to pay tribute to these inanimate souls by rendering them into something new and accessible to others. He is descended from a pirate, and that is somehow fitting."

I wanted a soft, ghostlike atmosphere for the images and the soundscape.
Layers of slow moving shades, images of hands, eyes,... a constant flow of appearing and disappearing figures and shapes. (Credit to Ephemeral Rift for the use of his face!)

Starting out with this track:

I ended up with this piece:

Words and Voice: Brad Fairchild
Concept, Camera, Treats, Editing & Music: Swoon

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Ardenter (Seven sins / virtue project)

A year ago I stepped into a project that came to me over the virtual highway.
Seven Sins  / Seven Virtues.

"I am looking for 13 fellow artists from all over the world to work on a project on the seven sins and seven virtues. each artists will get a subject. (they are in closed envelops, it will be a surprise which one you'll get, for me as well). don't mind if you work with clay, paint, stuff, photography or music. as long as its creative and you feel up to it. the subject: re-interpret one of the seven sins/virtues replaced to the 21st century. PM me if you are interested. when all the works are finished i would like to arrange a 'tour du monde' of the works as an installation-expo."

I stepped in and got 'Gluttony'

I didn't want to go for the well known "over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink" but was more interested in "The Screwtape Letters," by C.S. Lewis.

C.S. Lewis describes delicacy as a desire to have things exactly our way. He gives the example of food having to be prepared just right, or in just the right amount, but it isn't limited to food. We might complain about unimportant defects in a product, the temperature in the room, or the color of a laundry basket. There is a certain amount of discomfort to be expected in life, but the Glutton will have none of it. Instead of becoming strong by suffering the minor inconveniences of life, the Glutton insists on being pampered. No one dares to point out how petty or foolish they are. In fact, some celebrities are praised for their excessive perfectionism, as though it were a virtue."

There was one man who I thought could pull that of perfectly.
I asked David Tomaloff if he was up for the task.
He sent me 'Ardenter', a brand new poem especially written for this project.

Strip my eyes of it, this sun, this want, this earth &still. Make my fingers to release, my mouth &lungs to desist; tell my legs they should cease to carry any further this aching bruise. Every morning I walk to the well, &every morning my cup runs over. Each night, I return to the vineyard to suck blood from its ample vines. How does one explain such a fire? When I breathe, I breathe; I do so to kill. When I take, I take, & do so to empty. These lambs of currency &how their pale spends like money in the barren backwoods of my need. When there is nothing left to burn, I will dig instead a hole. When there is nothing left to drink I will spill, then, the frozen sky. If morning should bare its body, I’ll strip it bare of skin. My eyes, the black of ships anchored just off the quiet shore. My arms, how each socket grows a jailer; how each &every finger is a skeleton key in wait.

+songs about redemption / the noise of mercury / falling on deafened ears

He delivered not only this poem, but also a marvelous recording. Meanwhile I made a track and had an idea of where I wanted to go with this as far as images were concerned...

On the internet I found a clip where a chef explained how to boil the perfect egg.
It was all I needed. gave me permission to use and re-edit the clip.

Because of health and other issues The Seven Sins / Seven Virtues project stand 'on hold' for the moment. When they re-open the project, this work will be a part of it, meanwhile I'm letting it free...

Words & Voice: David Tomaloff
Concept, editing & music: Swoon
Footage: Footage: 'How to make perfect hard boiled eggs' (Food wishes video recipes - Chef John) provided by
'undercover investigation at Hy-line hatchery' (

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

From a Notebook Weighing 194 Grams

It's not the first time I discover great poetry and good readings on Qarrtsiluni.
As it is I have made several videopoems already using that source.

This one's another gem from Qarrtsiluni. From their series 'Fragments' I picked out:
From a Notebook Weighing 194 Grams

the sky’s a razor in summer light
flies crawl down windows singing
an elm accepts death without complaint
shadows count the size of my dreams

the day has yet to be decoded
white comets across my wrists
my mother with a light round her head
a magpie paddles across the street

the house at night relaxes its stays
shopping trolleys piled high with Bibles
father alive in the cycle of days
crushed beer cans by the railway line

a forest of bottles covered in sun tan lotion
children press damp eyes to the railings
God is an ice cream cone topped with a cherry
I’m wearing a hat, need a shave, diazepam
                     and the rain’s sudden applause.

The poem and the reading are by Rodney Wood.
From Qarrtsiluni: "Rodney Wood lives in northeast Hampshire, U.K., and has had work in various magazines, anthologies and on the radio. He writes: “Fragments made me think of the person from Porlock, TS Eliot, Raymond Carver and a huge iceberg with chunks falling off to create giant waves whose ripples spread over the world.” "
All info and the original podcast can be found here

I was taken in by the poem instantly. Always a good sign. I was fortunate to get permission to use the poem and the recording to do my thing...
I combined two different tracks to support his reading;

The images I used came from (again, and I promise it's the last time) the superb collection by Ivan Besse on Prelinger. This time I added three layers with subtle colours and movement to give an extra dimension on the video.
Words & Voice: Rodney Wood
recording: Qarrtsiluni podcast 02/08/2012
Concept, camera, editing, music: Swoon
Footage: Ivan Besse Collection (Prelinger)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Altijd / Always (Luuk Gruwez)

Another Lyrikline treasure; Altijd by Luuk Gruwez.
I was happy to get a green light by Luuk to make a video
for this little gem;

Voor Toon Tellegen

Er zijn heel tedere machines nodig
om op een mooie dag naar nergens te vliegen.
Propellers, buizen, bouten zijn er nodig,
het vallend blad van een plataan,
misschien het oorsmeer van een kind

en veel van het onmogelijke mooiste.
Er moet, heel opgewekt, een witte merel zingen,
een voorjaarsochtend in een schrikkeljaar.
Dit alles is beslist vereist
voor wie naar nergens wenst te vliegen.

Want nergens is een plek met pech
en als niet alles fout kan gaan,
dan is er niets wat lukken zal.
De tederste machines zijn er nodig
om op een mooie dag naar nergens te vliegen.

From: 'Dieven en Geliefden' (De Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam 2000)

For Toon Tellegen

Machines quite gentle are called for
for one fine day to fly to nowhere.
Propellers, pipes and bolts are needed,
the leaf that’s falling from a plane tree,
the ear-wax of a child perhaps

and much of the impossibly beautiful.
A pure-white blackbird piping merrily,
one fine spring morning in a leap year.
All of this is certainly required
of one who would be flying nowhere.

For nowhere is a place where bad luck reigns
and even if not everything can go amiss,
there’s nothing even so that goes aright.
The gentlest of machines are needed
for one fine day to fly to nowhere.
(Translation by John Irons)

I wanted fairytale music, but slightly disturbed...

The reading is by Luuk (a recording made by 'het beschrijf', for Lyrikline)
For images I thought colours and lights (and lots of them)
Get an abstract feel to juxtapose with the very real hands (going nowhere) in the end.

But do take a look for yourself...

Words & Voice: Luuk Gruwez
Translation: John Irons
Concept, camera, editing & music: Swoon

Friday, 5 October 2012

Notes from Noise

After I made 'Birds talked to her' and 'Vogels babbelden met haar' for a poem by Jan Lauwereyns, I knew I wanted to make more video's for his words.
He's a great writer and a highly original voice in literature.
Jan writes a lot (I think) and once he'd send me a link to his English Blog and said : "here's another  een treasure trove of bits in English: a reef that keeps on growing."
From that reef I picked out something rather experimental; Notes from Noise
For some odd reason it spoke to me on different levels.

Notes from Noise
Imagination, creativity, strangeness. The naming, the enigma, the moment. Lyrical investigations, the poetics of science, making sense, searching for meaning (mushrooms), intensive, Einstein sitting on a rocket, surrealism, against context, toward displacement, condensation, metaphor, metonymy, always autopoiesis, positing the presuppositions, boundaries of things, of life, seeing what’s not there, a handle on infinity, Dolly the Sheep, Prometheus, Frankenstein, reading your dreams, neuro-prosthetics, camphor, synthesis, urine, fruitflies and worms, the far side, throwing in a couple obvious, Schroedinger’s cat, the living noisy sun, beyond phenomenology, the punning, the tributes, genes and planets, the concept, the event, Sherrington’s synapse, the mirror neuron, Schultz et al. (1997), Loewi and his dream, Kubla Khan, the man with no name, the narrative, the volta, Higgs boson, Crick & Watson, ignoring the lady, the movements and manifestos, the cults, the aberrations, Alamo, Oppenheimer, 731, twins, scientology, the notion that Karadžić was some kind of poet, those TED talks, song and dance for the king and queen, cherry picking, Snow’s two cultures, the popularizers, the Chinese notebook, the echo maker, versed, those Jacket2 parasites, compare that to the oval window, Goethe’s subjective experiments, Holub’s cancers, Vroman’s blood, systems life sciences. I happen to doubt, writing, not writing, what will be written, this week, imaging the impact of single oxygen atoms, spin-transistor action, diversity of interaction types and ecological community stability.

I went to work with it and constructed a soundscape with this poem in mind;

It was the track that led me to the footage of the Department of Defense about arctic explorers.
Footage I found on Prelinger.
Reading or recording the poem was no option...
It wouldn't work. I needed to see the words 'floathing' slowly, using the pace of the music and the images.
Giving them time to interact with the sounds and the images.

Anyway have a look and listen for yourself...

Words: Jan Lauwereyns
Concept, editing, music: Swoon
Footage: 'Arctic Explorers' (1955-157)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Woot Woot and other goodies, part II

What a superb fall, with video's blown all over the globe.
I can only be thankful and honored by so much attention.

A big thanks to all the poets, writers and translators, readers,...
It's all because of you all that this is possible.

An update on all the selections and screenings of the next months...

01-31/10: 'Disintegration Nation' will be part of 'Visual Container-TV' as part of their "Celeste prize best of 2012"

06/10: 'De Sluis / The sluice' was selected for and wil be screened at "Co-Kisser Second Annual Poetry-Film Festival" (Minneapolis, US).

11/10: Collaboration with ART VISUALS & POETRY for their Trakl Remixed project. I made 2 video's based on texts written by Sigrun Höllrigl. One of the two was also selected for "ZEBRA 2012".
The two will be premiered during a workshop about videopoetry that I will attend at their festival (Vienna, Austria)

13/10: 'Cioran', 'Odds and Ends', and 'the road not taken' were selected for and will be screened at "Visible Verse 2012" (Vancouver, Canada).

11-13/10: 'Hunting for peace / One thousand pieces' and 'Disintegration Nation' were selected for and will be screened at "Simultan Festival 2012" (Timisoara, Romania)

13/10: An anthology (compiled by Chrétien Breukers); "Tussen boog en snaar" (Uitgeverij P, Leuven, 2012) by Marleen de Crée will be presented.
We will screen 'Nog Niet', 'Of wel', 'Faites vos Jeux' and 'Laat ons sterven zijn' during the book presentation at "Galerij De Zwarte Panter" (Antwerp, Belgium).

18-22/10: 'Proof', 'The Stockholm Syndrome','Flight (The Sights and Sounds of Arctic Birds)', 'requiem auf georg trakl', 'Ochtend/Dawning' ware selected for ZEBRA 2012 and will be screened during the festival (Berlin, Germany)
'Peter Quince at the clavier' was selected for the competition of the same festival.

26/10: 'The Moon and the Yew Tree', 'Red Lost Ghosts', 'Entry (Exit Strategies I)', 'PROOF (a tryptich)'and 'Sleepdancing (Giddoo)' are selected for "Void International" (Athens, Greece).

02/11: 'Droom van de trappen / Staircase Dream', 'On the stars outside', 'Orphanage' 'Seafarer', 'Laat ooit ons sterven zijn / Let whenever our dying be' and 'Gecompliceerde Schaduwen / Complicated shadows' will be screened at 'Alloa Poetry Jam' during the 'Clackmannanshire Storytelling Festival 2012' (Alloa Tower, Clackmannanshire, Scotland)

22/11: We will screen 'Nog Niet', 'Of wel', 'Faites vos Jeux' and 'Laat ons sterven zijn' at "De donderdagen van de poezie" (Permeke bibliotheek, Antwerp, Belgium).
28/11: 'Droom van de trappen / Staircase Dream' and 'Where sins are more sinful' were selected for '25th Instants Vidéo Poétique' and will be screened at 'Video Bardo' (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

28/11: 'Ochtend / Dawning' was selected for '25th Instants Vidéo Poétique' and will be screened at
Bibliotheca Alexandrina - Arts Center (Alexandia, Egypt)

01-09/12: 'Disintegration nation' made it to the final ten at the Celeste prize 2012 competition (in the video/animation category). Final exhibition and awards at the Centrale Montemartini (Rome, Italy)

22/12: I will be making a (one or two) videopoem(s) for 'Stad in verandering', to be screened at their closing event 'Winterwoorden'

Friday, 28 September 2012

ART VISUALS & POETRY; on Georg Trakl

Almost a year ago ART VISUALS & POETRY placed 'Proof (a triptych)' by David Tomaloff and me.
They said some really nice things about thet video, so I deceided to contact them.

I started a 'virtual' conversation with Sigrun Höllrigl about what their organisation did/does, about visuals, my work, videopoetry, art,...
She asked if I was interested (or did I ask if they had any projects I could join?) in trying to make a few video's for their project about Georg Trakl.

She send me two texts she had written for 'Trakl Remixed' (Premiere on 2.2.2011 in Salzburg in collaboration with: Verein Literaturhaus Salzburg and Trakl-Forschungs- und Gedenkstätte)

'requiem auf Georg Trakl' (Requiem on Georg Trakl) and 'ein blaues tier sig verneigt' (A blue animal bows)

We discussed a lot on what kind of atmosphere she wanted the video's to have, I suggested some visuals and sounds for the video's,...

 A lot of mailing back and forth with ideas and suggestions. With translations, titles, English readings,...

In the end she did two readings (in German) and I made two video's. One (Requiem on Georg Trakl) of them got selected for ZEBRA 2012, so I made English subtitles for that one.

On october 11 I will go to Vienna to attend ART VISUALS & POETRY their festival. We'll show the video's, there will be live performances, workshops,...

Anyways, for those who can't make it to Vienna...

ein blaues tier sich verneigt from Swoon on Vimeo.

requiem auf georg trakl from Swoon on Vimeo.

Friday, 21 September 2012

On the stars outside - Dena Rash Guzman

Earlier this year I had the honor of being one of Unshod Quills' featured artists.
In their 'First Anniversary Edition' they published a few of my videopoems.

That's how I came in contact with Dena Rash Guzman.
Dena is, among other things, editor of Unshod Quills but she's also a writer. One with an open mind and a lust for experimenting. In our corrsepondence about the video's and poems being published in UQ, she mentioned we should do something together.
I'm always up for another collaboration, sure.

"Do you have any poems lying around, ready to be set to video?" "Can I send over some raw edited footage and sounds for you to write to?"...

'I also like the idea of writing to your groove, because your groove is something I really, really dig.'

That last reply was enough for my ego so I did send her a few video's and sounds. Nothing worked out, loose idea's, working titles,...

"None of these 'works' or 'titles' are written in stone and can or might be changed, mixed,
mashed-up, reworked according to ideas, suggestions, proze or poems you might
have especially (written) for them...Do your magic!"

And she did.

"My first viewing is of dirt. My first thought is rather literal; it is about how when I moved here, I didn't know what to do with it. I had lived in the desert my whole life and avoided it. I knew that here in the rainforest I wanted to be consumed by it."

A bit later on she send me different pieces, work and words in progress. Good stuff.
But by the end of july I got a mailbox filled with great poems, workable materials...but I instantly fell for the opening lines "I woke up and opened the window. It got jammed on the stars outside."

No time to waste so I asked;
"Any change in doing something with this one? Do you need more time to revise?
Can you make a recording of a reading?"

"Great! Give me a few days to edit if you can. I will record it as best I can..."

Meanwhile I started working on a possible concept and let the poem we picked out direct me to the right images...There was already a basis. The raw footage of 'Dirt' and the track 'silhouette', that I later changed into the poem's title: 'On the stars outside'

On the stars outside
I woke up and opened the window.
It got jammed on the stars outside.

The stars were thick as headlice in a refugee camp.
Once, my sister and I had lice.

We both had long, thick hair and our mother
comforted us as they jumped off our heads.

They were fleeing the shampoo that was killing them.
She washed us and laid us on her lap

and combed our yards of hair with fine little teeth.
She gave us little combs like hers,
                                little combs like stars,

and we played them like little instruments,
                                like we were little angels. 
She took a curling iron and curled and curled

our yards of hair to kill the rest of the eggs.
She washed our bedding and put our stuffed animals

in plastic bags in the garage.

They stayed there for two weeks.

We didn't miss them much.
We didn't need to. We had her smell:

perfume and cigarette smoke,
the sound of her sipping a bottle

 of Dr. Pepper from time to time
while Oprah droned on the TV,

while she went over every last bit of our hair.
She would never have cut it. Not ever.
I made a first draft of what I had in mind and send it to her;

"I chose 'Alice in Wonderland' footage to layer with the 'dirt-video' you knew.
The images do not glide or work together, they seem to 'interfere'
 (Wikipedia: "The phenomenon of retroactive interference is highly significant in the study of memory as it has sparked a historical and ongoing debate in regards to whether the process of forgetting is due to the interference of other competing stimuli, or rather the unlearning of the forgotten material.")

Your poem is full of warm memories on one side (though nobody loves to have lice, I guess) but I wanted to use some kind of 'luring danger' (the rabit) as a kind of visual 'counterpoint' with the darker music as guide to the unknown that is outside..."

Later on I changed a few bits, re-edited a few parts and added extra footage and color.
When finished I asked Dena to send me a few lines on how she experienced the whole proces;

"I love writing from prompts and so when you sent me the video and sound samples I sat down to ingest them like a glass of wine. I kind of meditated on the titles of the samples and the content itself and began firing off poem after poem. Dirt was the inspiration for the poem you selected. Dirt makes me think of earth, soil, dust, decay. It's not dirty, though it can impose itself to make things so. For me, dirt is a host for the living, and that brought me to a childhood experience: I got lice at school when I was 8.

It was exciting to take your work, give you mine, and get your work back. I'm a fan of Poem films and yours in particular and it was a great experience."

I can only be happy with that and admit the same. It was the third time a writer responded on images and sounds or a prompt ('Proof' - David TOmaloff and 'Escape' - Donna Vorreyer)
For me, this is a great way of working. One I will surely repeat again after this...

And so here it is;

Words & voice: Dena Rash Guzman
Concept, camera, editing, music: Swoon
Footage: 'Alice in Wonderland' (W.W. Young, 1915)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Laat ooit ons sterven zijn / Let whenever our dying be

October 13th an anthology (compiled by Chrétien Breukers); "Tussen boog en snaar" (Uitgeverij P, Leuven, 2012) by Marleen de Crée will be presented.

Earlier this year I made new or adapted versions of three older videopoems for poems by Marleen. English translations for the three 'Nog Niet', 'Of wel' and 'Faites vos Jeux' were made by Annmarie Sauer.

We will screen these videopoems during the book presentation at 'Galerij De Zwarte Panter' (Antwerp, Belgium) in the midst of the beautiful expo by Jan Vanriet

Later in november (22/11) Marleen will be guest at Donderdagen van de poëzie. She will be interviewed by Johan de Boose, read from her work and we will show a few of our collaborations.

A while back Marleen and Jean (her husband) were visiting us to talk about these upcoming activities (among many other things)

During that visit She gave us a beautiful present. You see, Marleen is not only great with words. She's also a fine visual artist. This colorful work of art ('De kuise Suzanna')was an unexpected, lovely and very warm gift.

I just had to to something in return.

Later on Marleen send me one of her own favorite poems. A sonnet;

Laat ooit ons sterven zijn

laat ooit ons sterven zijn als bellen blazen,
met efemere schijnsels van een onbekende vlucht.
met witte duiven en stemmen die verdwijnen.
een vochtig praten tot aan de rand gevuld.

de adem in een achterstallig hijgen,
bewasemd met een glans van spijt.
het goud geteld met onbelemmerd zwijgen
en liefde in het teken van het krijt.

ik sterf geduldig in een waas van dromen
en dierbaarheid ligt in mijn hand,
als waaier voor de hitte die zal komen.

de duiven drijven teder in de lucht
en in de takken van de laatste bomen.
ik heb je lief, mijn warmte is niet opgebrand.

from: Letters to Plinius II: Over the bridge of hesitations, Poëziecentrum 1990
Annmarie Sauer made a translation.

let whenever our dying be

let whenever our dying be like blowing bubbles,
with ephemeral shimmers of an unknown flight.
with white doves and disappearing voices.
a moist talking filled to the brim.

the breath in an overdue panting,
misted with a glow of remorse.
the gold counted in unhindered silence
and love in the sign of chalk.

I die patiently in a haze of dreams
and fondness lies in my hand,
as a fan against the coming heat.

pigeons sail tenderly in the sky
and in the branches of the last trees.
I do love you, my warmth has not been burned up.

I immediately wanted to make a video for this, but it wasn't an easy task. The sonnet is delicate, light almost, while the subject isn't. It's a comforting poem.

I made a track and went looking for suitable images.

I had images of a tangle of wire with a black loose thread, like a pendant almost, as an image of life on a wire. Not that I wanted to use images that were too literally, I did want to use some footage I made of pigeons. It was al about coming and going, staying or not. About love...

Words: Marleen de Crée
Translation: Annmarie Sauer
Voice: Katrijn Clemer
Concept, camera, editing, music: Swoon

Friday, 7 September 2012

Hunting for peace / One thousand pieces

A while back I was looking for a suitable poem for my remembrance piece for Lidice.
That time I was lucky to stumble upon '1 November' by Bernard Dewulf.

During that search on Lyrikline I also came across a strong and impressive poem by Sharrif Simmons.
'One thousand pieces' (from 'Fast cities and objects that burn', Moore Black Press, NY, 1999)

He did a brilliant reading that sucked me straight in. I just had to do something with this.
After looking for a way to contact Sharrif, I was very happy and proud to have been given consent for making this videopoem.

there are long silences in me

they come to me
as they have come to millions

in them are roads
narrrow paths
with no signs or light
nor intimidation

only the silence of pure darkness
undisturbed by the beat of the dragon´s heart

i place my foot slowly
onto the path
the sensation invites me to walk further

i breathe silent air
no earth on my feet
without movement
i float along the thinning street

there are more silences
now than ever in my life
a universal peace that rips me into a thousand pieces
each part is suddenly renamed

i am Allah
i am Krishna
i am Jesus
i am Buddha
i am Vishnu and Ogun
i am Shiva
i am Osiris
i am Odin and Zeus

Pavrati and Kali
Elegba and Oshun

i am one thousand pieces
bursting into the midnight canvas
my colors are no longer of this rainbow
i´m walking in unison with the answers to my questions
and the deep nest of black clouds

i am Elohim
and Thor
in parade with the Valkryies
i am the madness of King George
i am Isis and Rah
Ahnknaton and Horus

a clap of miracles and lightening shatters the dark sky
the illumination blinds me
sinking me further into the silence of the still mind
in my mind i see this same road
on it walks a child
it is a girl
her features are thin
her skin is deep black
her hair is even darker
and sparkles with grey streaks
she is no more than seven years old
i reach for her hand
from her hair she removes a scroll
and whispers in my ear
i, too, am made of
one thousand pieces

Believe it or not, I had this track; 'Hunting for peace' that was just perfect for the rythm and atmosphere of his reading. A reading he had done for Lyrikline in 2001.

All I needed were the right images. As you can see in the pictures. I went for images I made of a helicopter. Nothing more noting less.

Words & Voice: Sharrif Simmons
Concept, camera, editing & music: Swoon
Recording poem: M. Mechner for