~ Poet: Yahia Lababidi ~

Ochtend (Dawning) by Yahia Lababidi

Swoon re-edited a video he originally posted eight months ago, making it shorter, more visually appealing and I think more effective in the process. I’m not sure why I didn’t share the original, but I love this videopoem now. The poem was written in English by the Egyptian poet Yahia Lababidi, and has been translated into Dutch by Katelijne De Vuyst for the soundrack. Swoon and his wife Arlekeno Anselmo, who reads the translation, are Belgian. This is perhaps an extreme example of a widespread tendency I’ve noticed in the online videopoetry community to ignore national boundaries and strive to overcome linguistic ones, as well — facilitated, I would argue, by the change in focus from written text to audio and visual media. We are no longer quite so locked into our separate linguistic and cultural rooms.

Giddoo by Yahia Lababidi

“Sleepdancing (Giddoo)” is the latest collaboration between Belgian artist and composer Swoon and expatriate Egyptian poet Yahia Lababidi, and is as different from its predecessors as can be (while still remaining recognizably a Swoon video). The decision not to include a reading of the text in the soundtrack seems appropriate for the subject matter.

Words by Yahia Lababidi

I’m having a hard time keeping up with the videos Swoon has been making for Lababidi’s poems. This one incorporates Dutch sign language by Marjan De Cuyper and painting by Arlekeno Anselmo for a truly multimedia and multinational exploration of, and exploring through, language.

What do animals dream? by Yahia Lababidi


Another collaboration between the Belgian artist Swoon (videotreats, editing, music and production) and Egyptian writer Yahia Lababidi (poem and reading). Arlekeno Anselmo provided additional whispering and speaking voice in Dutch.

(Updated version of the video. Selected for and screened at Bideodromo, Bilbao (Spain), 2011; selected for and screened at Visible Verse, Vancouver, 2011; and screened at the Neustadt Festival, Oklahoma, 2011.)

Shuttered Windows by Yahia Lababidi

Update: Video has been made private.

Swoon has been busy lately, so again we end the week with one of his creations. This one’s based on a poem by Yahia Lababidi — a collaboration sparked, I think, by this very blog. Which makes me happy.

What is to Give Light by Yahia Lababidi

Egyptian poet Yahia Lababidi, a Facebook contact, shared the text of his poem at The Idler just after I discovered that Al Jazeera has a cache of Creative Commons-licensed videos available for remix. So with Lababidi’s blessing I pulled this videopoem together, using some of that Egyptian street poetry for a soundtrack. I did the reading myself because he was having internet-connection problems and wasn’t able to send me his own reading.

Videos in the film/animation category at YouTube don’t seem to attract too many views, so I identified it as “News & Politics” instead. We’ll see if that makes a difference. In any case, it needs to be watched by people with an interest in the uprising.

Cairo by Yahia Lababidi

Tim Pieraccini made the video and recorded the reading, as well. Yahia Lababidi says that all his videos on YouTube illustrate poems from a collection called Fever Dreams, forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press.