~ Filmmaker: Stuart Pound ~

Symphony Jane by Rosemary Norman

A love song to the Eurasian blackbird, the American robin’s more musical cousin, this recent film from long-time videopoetry collaborators Stuart Pound and Rosemary Norman shows the power of a simple concept beautifully realized:

A poem arrives on the screen letter by letter. The image is all text with the story in the soundtrack, a blackbird’s song.

Last year, Pound and Norman came out with a print book showcasing their collaborations, Words & Pictures, available from Aspect Ratio (2 Lothair Road, London W5 4TA) for £8.50, which garnered a good review in London Grip:

Many readers will have seen and enjoyed Rosemary Norman’s poems in magazines and also observed that her bio note mentions her collaborations with video artist Stuart Pound in the making of poetry videos. These videos have been shown at festivals and other film events (including some at the BFI); but the majority of Norman’s readers will probably not have had a chance to attend one of these screenings. Fortunately it is now possible to experience a selection of Norman & Pound’s work in the comfort of one’s own home. A new book Words & Pictures contains 18 of Norman’s poems together with a number of stills from the corresponding videos and, more importantly, an internet link / QR code giving access to an on-line archive where the videos can be seen in full. This offers a simple but satisfying multi-media experience where one can enjoy the words on the page alongside (or as a curtain-raiser to) a visual and auditory interpretation.

Foxtrot by Rosemary Norman

A fun text animation by long-time videopoem collaborators Stuart Pound and Rosemary Norman, who appear also to have a new videopoetry collection out, though I haven’t seen it yet.

The Angry Sleeper by Rosemary Norman

Stuart Pound and Rosemary Norman have been collaborating on videopoems for 24 years now, but their work has lost none of its freshness or surprise. When I click on one of Pound’s videos in my Vimeo feed, it’s with the expectation that it won’t resemble too closely anything he’s done before. And so it was with this animation.

“The angry sleeper stalks his dreams/hard from night to night”. Dirk Bouts’s 1470 painting of demons carrying sinners off to Hell is the starting point for this not-quite-serious animated nightmare. Pachelbel’s famous canon played on a musical box is the accompaniment.

To be a Ghost by Rosemary Norman

With Halloween and Day of the Dead looming, here’s a film from the long-time videopoetry collaborators Stuart Pound (images) and Rosemary Norman (words). The synopsis from Vimeo:

A ghost actor haunts his screen life, and is haunted by it, to the clicking of a projector. What you see is scraps of film under a microscope, with its sprocket holes, oily colour, and accumulated fluff and dust.

Grandmother is a Crab by Rosemary Norman

The collaborative partnership between London-based experimental filmmaker Stuart Pound and poet Rosemary Norman dates back to 1995, and nearly twenty years later, they’re still going strong. I saw “Grandmother is a Crab” at ZEBRA. The description on Vimeo reads:

Grandmother is a Crab borrows from an earlier digital video, made fifteen years ago, that itself used footage captured from a travel advertisement on television. Black and white, and mirror effects, take the image out of time, giving it both vividness and distance. The music is played in reverse. And the voice-over and under-titles are a poem that re-enters the magic world of a child on a beach.

Simple yet ingenious. It’s not just the kids who excel at digital remix these days.

Writing Behaviour by Rosemary Norman

Stuart Pound describes this on Vimeo as

a poem set to images and sounds. The image foreground is made up of the lines, words and letters of the poem, floating and twisting in the light, as the incarcerated writer writes his escape.

Some very interesting kinetic text effects bordering on concrete poetry, especially with the light-hearted musical accompaniment provided by James Cordell and Frances Wright.

I feel a bit abashed at not having discovered Pound’s work until now. His Vimeo profile says,

Stuart Pound lives in London and has worked in film, digital video, sound and the visual arts since the early 1970’s. He hopes to return to painting. Since 1995 he has collaborated with the poet Rosemary Norman. Work has been screened regularly at international film and video festivals.

Rosemary Norman says on her page at poetry pf that she and Pound “began by using spoken poems and have experimented with digitally processed recordings and with putting text on screen.” There’s a website devoted to their collaboration at stuartpound.info with texts, stills and clips.