Welcome to week 6, the mid-point of this experimental project based on a poem by Jo Colley from her latest collection, Sleeper. The footage for this verse uses a combination of old photos featuring marbles, and video of raindrops falling on a dark puddle.
Every week we ask for contributions of film clips that might in some way illustrate or respond to the words, imagery, and above all the emotional tone of the poem. This last week we received several pieces of film, some very beautiful, but few seemed to really be in dialogue with the words of the prompt.
It can be hard to put images to words, but for this to work there must be some sense of connection. Here, the roundness and clustering of the marbles are a visual echo of the berries in the poem, described as “beads”. The rain on water stands in for the “cider vinegar”, and the sinister hints of the word “drowning” are suggested by both the darkness of the water and the earlier glimpse of a doll positioned face-down in a disturbing posture. Take a look, and see if you can catch what I mean.
So, here’s a hint for how to approach making a film clip for this week’s verse, because there are very few visual references in it!
- Take three or four of the words that seem to you to be most important for the atmosphere of the verse. For example, you might choose ‘sharp’, ‘catches’, ‘throat’ and ‘truth’.
- Write them in a random way on a piece of paper, and then start to make a spider-web of associated words, images, objects, colours even. It might look like this:
- Now try connecting two or three of your associated images together (ideally three), to create a possible moment of footage. For example:
- Connecting ‘knife’ (sharp) with ‘stroking neck’ (throat) gives a strong image. Too strong?
- Connecting ‘drop something’ (catches) with ‘broken glass’ and ‘plasters on fingers’ (sharp) suggests a scene of letting something drop and shatter, perhaps filmed from above; or a scene of injured fingers picking up shards.
- Connecting ‘twitter feed’ (truth) with ‘broken glass’ (sharp) makes me imagine swiping a broken phone screen – perhaps the images on the phone could be staged to be relevant to the poem’s atmosphere of a relationship in trouble – photos of the couple in happier times?
- Connecting ‘tear’ (catches) to ‘Bible’ (truth) to ‘mouth’ (throat) gets us perhaps the most art-house image, of someone ripping up and chewing the pages of a Bible.
Have a go yourself, and see where your associations take you – and remember, ALWAYS film in landscape orientation, and send us your clip to email@example.com by 5pm this Friday! Here is the full verse of poetry to inspire you:
This week a contribution from Bernie McAloon takes us back towards imagery of nature, but purple and grainy with age. The road up through trees is the ‘Bank’ and perhaps the ‘challenge’ mentioned in the verse, the tint of the film stock is the stain of the burst berries.
Cherophobia: an Autumn Journal from Joanna on Vimeo.
Next week is our midpoint, verse 6, and we would love you to contribute a 20-second clip of video that responds to the following text:
Here is your challenge – can you send us something that shows neither forks, nor pots, not vinegar, but still illustrates the mood of the poetry. Repetitive action, the suggestion of unspoken hostilities in the word ‘drown’?
Send your landscape-oriented footage to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm Friday 8 May!
Our film-poem takes a new turn this week, as archive footage contributed by Wilf Wilson is spliced into the mix. When imagery of war appears inside the confines of what has so far been a domestic setting, what is the psychological impact? Where is this story going? Take a look at the film so far, and then read the verse for week five. We want your 20 second film clip to take us forwards!
Cherophobia: an Autumn Journal from Joanna on Vimeo.
Week 5 prompt is this –
We need 20 seconds of footage that reacts to this verse, but it doesn’t have to be a direct illustration of it. Bring us something that speaks of challenge, or bursting? Remember to film it in landscape orientation, and email it to email@example.com by 5pm on Friday 1st May.
Friends, I am delighted to invite you to contribute to a new digital project while we are all in lockdown, and hopefully beyond.
I have been asked by the wonderful poet Jo Colley to work with her on some activities to launch her fourth collection, Sleeper from Smokestack Books. It’s a glorious book full of double lives, Cold War spies, masked relationships, and emotional distances.
While we can’t bring you a physical launch (yet), we would very much like you to take part in a film renga. A renga is a long poem of linked verses that are created by several poets in collaboration, under the guidance of a renga master. The renga master directs the flow of the chain, and will select each verse in turn from the selection put forward by the poets.
In our renga, we are providing you with a weekly prompt, which is a short verse from a long poem in the Sleeper collection. We are asking for a 20 second video clip that complements the text rather than directly illustrating it, and which also responds to the images already accrued. Each time we release a new prompt, we will also show you the film so far.
Here is your first prompt:
the table in your house
dim light on a glass of brandy
incoherent babble, justifications
And here are the instructions:
- Read the prompt
- Watch the film so far (applicable from week 2 onwards)
- Take a 20 second piece of footage (to allow for editing)
- Your video should contain images that complement the text, but not necessarily be a direct illustration of the images in the text
- Your video should be responsive to the feel of the composite film so far
- Please hold your device in landscape orientation when filming (like a TV screen)
- Please email your video to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Prompts and the film so far will be released every Monday for 11 weeks, and deadline for each week’s submission is 5pm every Friday