Poetry & Film: statement by Tom Konyves
I am interested in the most advanced form of poetry film; I call the form videopoetry and I define it as “a genre of poetry displayed on a screen, distinguished by its time-based, poetic juxtaposition of images with text and sound.”
It has two constraints: (1) Text, displayed on-screen or voiced, is an essential element of the videopoem (work which does not contain visible or audible text could be described as poetic, as an art film or video art, but not as a videopoem); and (2) the imagery in a videopoem – including on-screen text – does not illustrate the voiced text.
The key to a good videopoem is balance – the weighing of image-text relationships for their suggestive (rather than illustrative) qualities, the determining of durations, the positioning and appearance of text, the proportioning of color, the layering of the soundtrack, the acceleration or deceleration of elements, etc. In the editing or “montage” phase, syntactical decisions are made to render image-text-sound juxtapositions as a metaphor for simultaneous “meanings”, which the viewer interprets as a poetic experience.
Here’s a poetry film that impressed me:
Claire Walka’s “Kleine Reise” (A Little Trip) – In our everyday lives, the artist finds clues to poetry; commonplace details, like the lines of a poem, are placed and sequenced with the aid of a video camera and intimate whispers.
Tom Konyves produced his first videopoem in 1978; for the past 3 years, he has been visiting film and video archives, researching and presenting talks about the form.