~ Martha McCollough ~

The Art of Poetry Film with Cheryl Gross: “It turns out”

It turns out
poem and film by Martha McCollough

Martha McCollough is one of my absolute favorite artists. It turns out is another one of her pieces that is over the top.

She combines one voiceover that uses echo with another that is just plain-spoken. And she gives us two formats in one, the written work and spoken word. It’s as if they are two separate poems. Could it be one is imagined and the other based in reality? What is the message? We ask for help, but does it exist?

There’s a nice collage effect, interlacing texture with line animation and design. I love the voiceover. Images of a floor plan are juxtaposed with talk about no help from a help desk. I often feel that way. Are we to assume that we must venture on alone? Could she be talking about immigration? Electing Trump? Trying to escape from the horrors of war and reality? We are left to fend for ourselves, applying her words however we can to assist us on our journey. Have technology and the media impaired our senses and way of being? Or am I reading too deeply into what has been in front of us all along?

We see imagery of people running, wolves running towards them — a metaphor. There are so many questions to be asked in such uncertain times.

So how does one go about critiquing a work that is perfect in its imperfection? It turns out does seem somehow very fitting for the post-election funk we are feeling. Can we call it prophetic? Is this what people have been trying to say all along? It makes me wonder what is real and what has been manipulated to appear so.

The Art of Poetry Film with Cheryl Gross: Martha McCollough

When I fall in love I fall hard. Such is the case with Martha McCollough. Recently Dave Bonta posted Break & Remake, one of Martha’s outstanding video poems. Not wanting to review something that was so close to having been published, I went to Vimeo and checked out her other work.

The other night I went to the opera and saw Lulu by Alban Berg with sets by William Kentridge. I love opera, but the main reason why I went was to see Kentridge’s sets. His use of typography, animation, and black and white imagery (drawings and video) was outstanding and set the tone for the time in which it was written. It was DADA (my favorite art movement) in its entirety. I felt like I was there in the 30s right before the fascists dubbed all experimental and political art Degenerate. I won’t go into critiquing Lulu. It was an amazing moment.

The real star here is Martha McCollough. Her use of type and collage allows us to enter into a world of pop culture, oppression, and high art. Much like Lulu, her flawless use of movement captures that wonderful feeling of nostalgia. To me, Martha is timeless.

I will not single out one piece to analyze and critique. I think the entire collection of videos should be watched. In viewing the progression of Martha’s work, I have found an artist who understands the marriage of video, illustration, fine art and poetry.

Videopoetry and poetry-film events for June

June 5 in Tampere, Finland

Video Poetry Workshop by Swoon (fully booked)

During the workshop day attendees will compose one finished video poem, which will be presented the next day during the video poetry showcase at the Annikki Poetry Festival.

June 6 in Tampere, Finland

Video Poetry Showcase @ Annikki Poetry Festival

Finnish videopoet J.P. Sipilä has curated a videopoetry showcase for the festival. He has selected ten interesting videopoems from artists around the world.
The video poems will be shown nonstop in the underground gallery from 11 am to 8 pm.

June 6 in Boston

Martha McCollough videopoem screening at Away Mission Opening Reception, Atlantic Works Gallery

Martha McCollough ventures into new media (macro lens photography,) new subject (text as image,) and new scale. She will also be showing several video poems. McCollough is a videographer and writer who lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Her videopoems have been exhibited internationally, and have appeared in Triquarterly, Rattapallax, and El Aleph

June 8 in Rotterdam

Poetry on / as Film with IFFR @ 46th Poetry International Festival Rotterdam

On Monday, 8 June, Poetry International and the International Film Festival Rotterdam jointly present, for the first time, an evening film program at Cinerama. Poetry on / as Film includes the premieres of two exceptional poet-documentaries: John Albert Jansen brings the life of German-Romanian Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller to the screen, and Wim Brands and Peter Gielissen compose a poignant portrait of the Dutch poet Roni Wieg. Additionally, under the name Poetry Shorts, a selection of short films and animated poems will be screened, including work from the festival poets Tonnus Oosterhoff, Pierre Alferi and Yanko González.

I see that the festival also has a brief video trailer.

June 10, 17, 24 & July 1 in Buenos Aires

Seminario de Videopoesía. Un lenguaje entre la palabra, el sonido y la imagen en movimiento.
Four-week course taught by Javier Robledo. Registration closes June 8.

June 13 in London

Mahu in Video at the Hardy Tree Gallery.

The emerging medium of poetry film or cinepoetry, crossing poetic principles with video art has often been overtaken by limited, dualistic collaborations. This evening aims to screen the more complex understandings of this new potentiality, another weapon in the pocket of the contemporary poet – the moving image. Co-curated by Dave Spittle & Gareth Evans
– Films from Joshua Alexander, David Kelly-Mancaux, Simon Barraclough, Caroline Alice Lopez, Robert Herbert McClean & more

June 18-19 in Montpellier, France

PoeTransFi (Poetry/Translation/Film – Poésie/Traduction/Film) Conference

The aim of this conference, which could also be entitled “The film as poem, the poem as film: A spectrum of translations”, is to revisit the inter-relations between poetry and film, envisaged under the angle of translation, in a broad sense of the term. We would like to pay special attention to questions of rhythm and montage, starting from the work of film directors and film editors who wrote about the topic in recent years, particularly Andrei Tarkovsky and Walter Murch.

June 21 in London

PoetryFilm Solstice at The Groucho Club.
Submissions may still be welcome for this event. Here are the guidelines.

Three poetry films in latest issue of TriQuarterly

TriQuarterly 147, Winter/Spring 2015 is out, and kicks off as usual with some high-quality poetry film: Situation 7, a video essay by poet Claudia Rankine and filmmaker John Lucas, and two “cinepoems”: John D. Scott’s In the Waiting Room (poem by Elizabeth Bishop) and Martha McCollough’s Indefinite Animals.

TriQuarterly remains one of the most prestigious literary journals to feature multimedia works. Submissions are open for five months, beginning on February 16.

Videopoet Martha McCollough featured in Swoon’s View

American video artist Martha McCollough has been making terrific animated poems, supplying her own texts, for a couple of years now, and I’m always happy to include her work in Moving Poems. Her descriptions are usually pretty minimal, though, and she doesn’t have a website, so I didn’t know much about her or her thinking behind the films. So I was very pleased to see her work featured at Awkword Paper Cut in Marc Neys’ first “Swoon’s View” column of 2014. She says, for example, about one videopoem:

I work as a graphic designer, and one of my jobs was to create a seating chart for the “Business Continuity Room”, which I’m told is an actual underground bunker to which key employees are expected to retreat during catastrophes so that they can continue work without being inconvenienced by interruptions (such as, I don’t know, hurricanes? nuclear war? The total collapse of civilization?) “It Turns Out” considers the fate of the “not quite key” employee under such circumstances.

Read the rest.