Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dinosaur Book of Green Furor



direct link: The Dinosaur Book is Green Fury

And the dinosaur’s book is green fury.

Promethea's curls and flanks, her energy, combustible.
Promethea has been dancing on the 200 billion year old
dinosaur skull in the glass box that hangs on the wall
since the beginning. Petrescent, converting into stone,
from water. What isn't liquid suddenly flows.
Like lava. Boiling.

Ancient skull without skin, or legs, or beating organs.
Body without organs. The body whose. Stone. Whose
bones are petrified. In fine volcanic ash, for billions of
years. I can read pathways on your bones, a scored
map of the earth, embossed hieroglyphics. Your garrulous
breaking voice in the sparking dust of fireworks, like
millions of dancing fireflies, an exploding outwards.
Your carapace is prophecy, what bends time in on itself,
grounding. You are earth stilled to wisdom. Ancient,
shell of secret signs, messages from the eons.
Mesozoic creature. Who lived happily on the
banks of the stream that was blocked by volcanic mud
creating a 12 mile lake that lasted for another 80 million
years before volcanic eruptions buried it.

Where is your riverbank? Slow mulching of sweet
grasses, sipping freshest of fresh water, dear ancestor.
Another bit of corporeality in the drama that began billions
of years ago when we all, our possibility, came to be in
the expanding light and the fiery dust that settled
into our solar system, and into the earth, and into your
exoskeleton, with its oracular markings, star charts,
which is now rock, condensed history.

"I am writing it just behind the burning bush, by the light
of your blaze," says Hélène.1

And I see you, remembering the warm fertile lush land
of 200 million years ago, growing a body, organs beating,
a fury of blood, following Promethea across invisible
mountains, down hallucinated valleys, into the heart
of the volcano that continually explodes,
bursting you forth.


From Poem Paintings


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A time-lapse art video: drawing in India inks in my beloved Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4; pulsing green kalaidoscope in the background; text of the poem moving slowly up the screen at a diagonal; and a voiceover poem. The world is a green furor of creativity - the green fire of life.

I shot the video with a Canon HF S100 and speeded up about 800%.

Twenty min of footage became a 2.5 minute video. A longer drawing would use a huge amount of space on the hard drive, and so, except for short films, I don't recommend this technique.

I edited the footage in Final Cut Express 4.0.1. Because of the camera angle, I rotated and cropped the sketch clip, and underneath added a layer of footage with a kaleidoscope filter, and also ran the text of the prosepoem over the paper at an angle, motion keyframing it, and changing the opacity from light to dark letters over the duration of the video.

I created the music in a cool program, the 'P22 Music Text Composition Generator (A free online music utility).' In this program, each letter has a sound. When you put text in, you can choose the BMP rate and instrument you'd like, and the program generates a midi file, with the sheet music. I layered my track in GarageBand 6.0.2 using different instruments, bmp, splicing and re-arranging.

Even the reading of the writing was speeded up, in Audacity 1.3.12, using the tempo filter.

From start to finish took about 12 hours, there were many layers, of image, text, and sound, each with filters, and I had to render a few times, which took hours, to see if what I had produced worked.

While this method for creating an art video works, my camera battery can only tape for 1½ hours, which is not long enough for most art projects.
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This video poem was featured at Moving Poems, an "anthology of the best videopoems, filmpoems, animated poems, and other poetry videos from around the web" (check it out if you haven't already): http://movingpoems.com/2011/04/the-dinosaur-book-is-green-fire-by-brenda-clews/


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Notes: 1Hélène Cixous' The Book of Promethea

Go to "The Book of Promethea (European Women Writers)" page
The Book of Promethea (University of Nebraska Press, 1991)
by Hélène Cixous, trans. Betsy Wing (quote used, p.23)


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