Academic journal article Afterimage

See or Be Seen

Academic journal article Afterimage

See or Be Seen

Article excerpt

The Second Vancouver Videopoem Festival

Pacific Cinematheque

Vancouver, British Columbia

November 2-4, 2000

For poets and those who read poetry, the poetic form can be relatively obscure as a discipline and as an art. Through the use of video or flash animation, combined with digital imaging, poetry Web sites are exemplifying new-found accessibility to this genre. The Vancouver Videopoem Festival showcases this brave new world of visual poetry. Vancouver's is one of only four videopoem festivals in the world, the others being located in Chicago, San Francisco (the cinE-Poem Festival) and Rome.

As a poet, I was both curious and apprehensive to see how a poem, which needs to be responded to subjectively, would be interpreted and made concrete through actual images--what would be interdisciplinary or remain an organic form? What I found during the three-day festival is that the condensed form of a poem makes it ideal for delivery through a short film or video; the union of forms allows viewers, through superimposed words over images, to build their own poem.

The festival was hosted by The Edgewise Electrolit Centre, a non-profit multi-media organization whose stated mandate is to observe how art, technology and aesthetics interact. Their programs include a live reading series, "Telepoetics," a Web site and e-zine called The Edgewise Cafe and the Vancouver Videopoem Festival. In its second year, the festival featured mostly Canadian works, though there were several international submissions, each representing diverse spoken word, visuals and style.

The three-day event began with a poetry and video workshop hosted by poet Jill Battison and Chicago writer and media artist Kurt Heintz. The facilitators discussed developing standards for this form, defining the work and understanding the aesthetics of videopoetry. Thirty-four works were viewed the following two nights, and a final gala involved the presentation of awards for Best Videopoem, Best Direction, Best Performance and People's Choice. …

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