~ Filmmaker: Jan Baeke ~

At the border by Jan Baeke

This videopoem from Public Thought, the collaborative team of Dutch poet Jan Baeke and designer and media artist Alfred Marseille, was screened at ZEBRA 2016. Completed last July, it is sadly more relevant than ever: a “Poetic reflection on the ambiguities of the refugee crisis, media coverage, extremist propaganda and EU politics,” as Baeke and Marseille describe it. (Click through for the text.)

Rue des Abeilles and No Other Way by Jan Baeke

This is Rue des Abeilles, part of an on-going collaboration between poet Jan Baeke and media artist Alfred Marseille that they call Public Thought: “Cinépoèmes – data poems – moving shorts – speculative analysis.” This was screened at the 2012 ZEBRA Poetry Festival (to whose Vimeo “likes” I’m indebted for the find). In the credits, “Idea & screenplay” are attributed to both Baeke and Marseille, while Marseille alone handled production, editing and sound. The English translation is by Willem Groenewegen.

I was especially struck by the myriad ways in which motion and energy were coaxed from still images and kinetic type animation (even to the point of making the word “motionless” pulse and tremble). The description at Vimeo reads:

One summer morning at dawn in a French town, sleepless and without a clue. Everything was breathing…

Short film based on two poems by Jan Baeke, Rue des Abeilles and No other way (10).
(first revision)

Thomas Möhlmann’s bio of Jan Baeke on Poetry International Web makes it clear that film has been a crucial influence on his work:

Besides being a poet and translator, Jan Baeke works for the Amsterdam Film Museum. In a note to his fourth collection, Groter dan de feiten (Larger than the Facts, 2007), he lists a number of people who inspired him during his writing process. This list shows that the work of international film makers such as Andrej Tarkovski, Federico Fellini, Michael Haneke and Luis Buñuel are as important to Baeke’s poetry as writing of poets like János Pilinszky, Wallace Stevens and Anne Carson. Both Baeke’s imagery and technique seem to be fuelled and formed by film and poetry alike.