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'