The starting point for my practice this term was poetry. My aim is to provoke thought about what poetry is, and experiment with ways to present it. My first poem, “Ode to Autocorrect”, questions the definition of poetry. It was written by repeatedly pressing the middle button on my iPhone’s autocorrect, resulting in sentences that make little sense. The poem is incoherent, yet reflects my personality because autocorrect picks words and phrases that I use daily. I presented this poem by reciting it with an accompanying white noise soundtrack, which I used to emphasise the poem’s uncomfortable nature.
My next poem, “Cast-Iron,” is a climactic stream of consciousness with rich metaphorical imagery. The poem describes the worst and best of times, and implicitly refers to humanity’s ability to keep going even when there appears to be no hope. I presented this poem in a few different ways: firstly, by writing it in black on a long, thin piece of paper which rolled up to form a scroll – an art piece on its own, yet can be turned into a performance when rolled up and gracefully unrolled onto the floor.
The poem became a film, also called “Cast-Iron”. It consists of clips I found on YouTube that depict nature, horrifying accidents and scenes of triumph. The footage was chosen with the poem’s imagery in mind. Accompanying these is a simple, ambient musical soundtrack which I made on GarageBand using various synthesizer voices. The aim of the music is to increase the sensory impact of the film, as well as its emotional value. I recorded my own voice reading the poem aloud as part of the soundtrack. The poem becomes more positive as it progresses, so I made sure the imagery also followed this pattern.
My final piece will aim to combine all these elements, in the form of a performance. To start with I will roll out the paper scroll I made onto the floor. I will stand at one end of it and read the poem out as I walk along its length. My film will be projected onto myself, accompanied by the musical soundtrack but not my voiceover. I aim to expand the poem into a multi-media, multi-sensory event, thereby breaking the boundaries in which poetry operates. Essentially, I want to raise poetry to its maximum potential.
The artist Ann Hamilton has had a big impact on my work this term. Her practice is very much process-based and it inspired several of my experiments. Her experimentation in filming text inspired me to create the scroll. Originally, I made it just so I could film it; only after making it did I realise the scroll could be an art piece and part of a performance.
The artwork of Pipilotti Rist also influenced me. She uses colourful projections to create immersive environments, which inspired the layering of footage in my film work. Other artistic influences include Frank Wasser’s performative artist talk and Caspar Heinemann’s poetry.
Shown below is the projection & soundtrack I used for the performance.