Turbines in January by Colette Bryce

Another of the Dove Marine Lab poetry films from UK poet Colette Bryce and artist Kate Sweeney. (See “Ballasting the Ark” for more details on the project.) On her website, Sweeney notes:

Building upon some of the challenges I found with the earlier films, I wanted to almost ignore the text and sideline the structure of the recording. I put up a kind of mental block between me and the text and ‘drew’ the shapes of the sentences. These small drawings, or plans made the basic structures of the animated sequences.

Sweeney goes on to reflect on the project as a whole — the first venture into poetry film for either of them:

While working with Colette on visual responses to her poetry, I have increasingly realized that the three films are a response not just to the three poems, but more specifically, the recordings of the three poems. I am not only responding to the content and motifs contained in the poems (as one would if responding to a single word, an idea, or a title) but also directly to the length of the poem, the rhythm, spacing and sounds of the words as they are delivered in the recording.

The poems have been, to a greater or lesser extent, a script. We have found a lot of questions have arisen about how the task of making a film in this way is different to less time-based parameters of more abstract types of collaborations. It highlights the difference between spatial and time-based video and film work, and has sparked an interest for both of us in how this brief could work in reverse – a poet creating text to a finished film or video, for example. This collaboration feels like a starting point, and we would be keen to collaborate further in different contexts. In the present context, the response to the science was the poet’s, while in a future context, we would be interested to explore what happens when both the artist and the poet are responding to the science and somehow bringing the results together in a collaborative work.

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