ECHOES OF SILENCE
Single Channel Video
kiss of lavender.mp4
Peter Rose is an artist working in the mediums of film, video, performance, and installation since the late 1960s. Much of Roses's work, including many of his eight films, explore the nature of time, space, light, and perception and draw upon Rose’s background in mathematics and the influence of ‘structuralist’ filmmakers. His later works, often video pieces, investigate language as a subject. Rose has developed a substantial body of work that explores forms of sense, concrete texts, political satire, performance, and has been described as a “kind of intellectual comedy”.
SECONDARY CURRENTS is a film by Rose, about the relationships between the mind and language. The dialogue/narration is delivered by an “improbable narrator” who speaks in what has been described by critics as “an extended assortment of nonsense”. The film is "imageless", in that the only visible content on the screen is text. The shifting relationships between voice-over narration and the narrative that lives within the subtitled narration to create an interesting combination of relationships between voice, thought, speech, and sound.
Tom Konyves is a Canadian poet, video producer, educator, and leader in the field of videopoetry. Konyves is a pioneer in the genre of videopoetry and an established artist whose work stretches back to 1977. Konyves is most recognized for his association with The Vehicule Poets – a period distinguished by dadaist/surrealist/experimental writings, performance works, and “videopoems” throughout the mid-1970s. In 1978, Konyves coined the term "videopoetry" to describe his multimedia work and is considered to be one of the original pioneers of the form. His videopoems exhibit the artist's self-described formalist concern in the integration of text, image, and sound, to explore the poet's role in a technology-oriented world.
“VIDEOPOETRY: A MANIFESTO” discusses audiences' traditional ideas of reading and viewing media, and their past experiences with poetry, in order to define what elements of written poetry can be carried to the video format. Konyves also explores formal concerns regarding the integration of image, text, and sound, to explore the poet's role and intentionality in creating poetry and narratives. When discussing the constraints, Konyves categorizes videopoetry into five categories, Kinetic Text, Sound Text, Visual Text, Performance, and Cin(e) Poetry, each with its own definition and genre constraints. He breaks down the key differences between video, film, and poetry when discussing format, as well as highlighting the differences in narrative structure, rhythm, use of juxtaposition, and overall experience. In discussing narrative, Konyves touches on the non-narrative ideas of the anti-narrative and ante-narratives in engaging in nonlinear storytelling.
What does that mean for this work?
In the creation of my two video poems, EVERYBODY and KISS OF LAVENDER I was heavily inspired by the two aforementioned artists. Rose’s visual aesthetics were an inspiration to me in the early stages of my work. In the process of creating editing the voice-over narration together, I knew I would have to divorce the image from the spoken words in order to recontextualize the audio and reshape the narrative. The low resolution of Rose’s work, specifically SECONDARY CURRENTS (at least in its uploaded state on Vimeo) was a further aesthetic inspiration. Konyves ideas, theories, and applications of concepts were again influential in how I structured my two pieces. Konyves writing on the construction of poetic juxtaposition, non-linear, anti-narrative and ante-narratives were all influential in how I cut together my found audio throughout each piece. In the development of visuals for these two poems, I wanted to break away from having the text be read as text. Instead, I opted for a loose form of concrete poetry, turning the text almost into accompanying graphics. I opted to create varying crosses in EVERYBODY, in reference to the found noir audio and the persecution of queer individuals by the religious right, and widely society at large during the time period. In creating the visuals for KISS OF LAVENDER I wanted to not only reference the Lavender Scare, the mid-century moral panic, by developing a garden created out of the text in an ode to some sort of feeling of resilience.
In the creation of my two video poems. I sourced noir films from 1938 to 1955 that I was able to find on Archive.org. These films included Double Indemnity (1944), Laura (1944), Kiss of Death (1947), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Raw Deal (1948), Force of Evil (1948), Down Night and the City (1950), Three Dark Streets (1954), and Women's Prison (1955). When cutting the voice-over narration out, I looked for phrases and sentences that could be easily misinterpreted or re-contextualized in a narrative sense. In piecing back together these clips of audio, I worked to create surrealist, sometimes spooky, conversations between individuals long since passed. Aesthetically, I wanted to recreate the feeling of hearing voices in the wind while walking at night. The voices, in this case, discuss past romances that had to be kept hidden. The feeling of trying to remember a dream from weeks ago, only remembering bits and portions. In order to do this, after I had laid down the audio, I applied a number of audio effects. These effects included echoes, panners, reverb, and varying amounts of EQ effects to achieve the desired feeling. Layered behind the spoken audio are 1950s jazz tracks played in reverse in EVERYBODY and found piano audio played in reverse in KISS OF LAVENDER.