Saturday, April 30, 2011

Testing Video Lightbox to showcase a few pieces of the new album

I am testing Video Lightbox, a freeware application for home users. I have to add some code to my blog site html for the embeds to work as their site shows, but, if what I have done here works for you the way it does on my computer, I'm quite happy.

I've created two poetry albums so far. The first, Dance of the Solar Wind, was a collection of different pieces that had music accompaniment. The second, Starfire, was thematic, and I culled all my love poems and recorded them with music of musicians who share their work on Jamendo. For my next album, I thought to create a longer poem and find an album in the 40-60 min range to work with.

When José Travieso released his album, No More Faith, I thought, wow, this album travels all over the place musically, from neo-classical to minimalism to an anti-music bordering on noise in the last piece. The range of styles in this album appealed to me. I wrote to him asking his permission, and he said yes. Then I thought, it is a long album, what shall I write, it might be too much work to try to fit my poetry into the format of the tracks on the album, and I'll remain open to finding other music. But this album, No More Faith, has made a deep impact in my imagining psyche. Already two videos, with a third planned, and a voice recording.

The Video Lightbox test is to see if I can display the collection that is growing in little thumbnails that open into videos.

I've linked the images to the videos. The videos open on my computer in a new tab of full-screen browser size, which I prefer to YouTube's full screen option. They are set at 720px HD resolution, but you can change this once the player opens.

I hope this works! Click on the images.

dance/ ...indigo folio leaves (with poem)

(direct YouTube link): dance/ ...indigo folio leaves (3:04min);
music, the first track, 'Monster,' on José Travieso's album, "No More Faith."



A reading of my poem, Wear White Paint for the Moon (2:53min);
music, the ninth track, 'Shinigami's Dream, No. 6,' on José Travieso's album, "No More Faith."
José has kindly created an 11:24min version of this track for a video poem I am planning.




(direct YouTube link): The Dancer's Backskin (1:30min);
music, the final track, 'Shinigami's Dream, No. 1,' on José Travieso's album, "No More Faith."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dancer's Backskin


direct link: The Dancer's Backskin

An accidental drawing - in a new Moleskine notebook, I brushed water over watercolour pencil. The paper shredded badly and cracked like an eggshell when dry. Intrigued with the effect, and having seen Natalie Portman's incredible performance in Aronofsky's 'Black Swan,' the desire for pure art, its passion and self-effacement, and the self-mutilation, hallucinations, madnesses, I thought of the underside of the dancer's life. Or her backskin.

I am working with the album that the music comes from (see also dance/ ...indigo folio leaves), with the musician's knowledge and tacit permission. No More Faith is an album of such variety I felt it could work for a longer project - literally, from neo-classical to this strange fingernail-on-the-blackboard minute and a half of scratchings. The strangeness that I might have felt on first listen has worn off and the sound seems less grating and more intriguing- perhaps, and who's to know for sure, that's the musician making anti-music for his possessive slave-driving muse who doesn't seem to realize he has a day job as a teacher. The tension is in this piece. His work has such energy. It was the perfect choice for my video.

Jose wrote back to me today:

Hello Brenda!

I've had opportunity to watch your video just right now. Your wrote:

"that's the musician making anti-music for his possessive slave-driving muse who doesn't seem to realize he has a day job as a teacher."

Hahaha! Very poetic, but of course everything is o.k. with me. There is no problem with everything you wrote. Just the contrary, thanks for writing so well about my music and album.

What about Shinigami's Dream, No. 1, it was just -as you wrote- an experiment creating something like "anti-music". With the Shinigami's Dream pieces I wanted always to create oniric impressions, unpleasant and disturbing feelings, always exploring the extreme points in the music and noises. #1 was the most extreme work and I was near not to add it to the album, but finally I decided to have it as last piece, just after the softness of A Tale for our Wasted Years, as an exercise of thesis (the search for the perfection and the balance in music) and anti-thesis. I like the effect in the album, it's so disturbing... :-)

Thanks for everything and, by the way, nice videopoem, as it's usual in you.

Best wishes,

Jose
_
Brenda Clews, art, poetry, voice, video; music, José Travieso's track, 'Shinigami's Dream, No. 1,' on his album, "No More Faith."



The Dancer's Backskin (album of photos)

_
I posted the painting, The Dancer's Backskin in February.

Abhishek Sengupta: 'You're Still Awake?'

You're Still Awake?

by Abhishek Sengupta


One morning, as I woke up, I found my palms were empty. The lines had detached themselves from my palms. They were floating around in the different corners of the mid-air in my bedroom. Like strings lighter than the air. Like destiny trapped in a helium filled balloon, covering the distance between the heaven and the hand.

That evening I told my father -

"Dad, you know what happened when I woke up this morning?"

My father smiled.

"Son, you're insomniac. You haven't woken up for centuries."

_____________

A young Indian man, I've come to know Abhishek's writing through Facebook. This piece struck me particularly for its tight construction. Not a word is wasted here.

A Borgesian, Surrealist, dreamtime philosophical poem. I especially like the lines of the hand detaching and floating... very painterly, I think Magritte or Dali would have been inspired. Then I like how he expands time. That transition in the piece is deft, sudden, from strings to destiny, from strange dream realities to a koan of impossibilities, an insomniac who hasn't woken up for centuries, and then we realize that the entire piece could be a dream. Oh Abhishek is a mind-bender!





Tuesday, April 26, 2011

'Puppetdream': a film by Chris Delaporte, music by Steve Reich


direct link: "Puppetdream, A film By Chris Delaporte -Music by Steve Reich -Chen Halevi Clarinets."

A dance video. The multiples, triple goddess, merging and separating, Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, she is like a caterpillar underground, white, without sunlight, writhing, moving out of herself, reflecting herself, and as she becomes upright on her heels and morphs into the world, she dances with joy, the joy of a Pinocchio given life, with graceful abandonment, an avatar freed. Until the strings appear, and they become stronger, and the camera enters her darkened mask as if it were the dark side of the moon. And what is free will we ask? Is she an automaton, like her costume/digital creation/animation, or is she the creation of an artist who has freed her from his imagination to live? Stunning film, beautiful in all its aspects! *****

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Dancer's Backskin [video poem]


direct link: The Dancer's Backskin

Brenda Clews, art, poetry, voice, video; music, José Travieso's track, 'Shinigami's Dream, No. 1,' on his album, "No More Faith."

An accidental drawing - in a new Moleskine notebook, I brushed water over watercolour pencil. The paper shredded badly and cracked like an eggshell when dry. Intrigued with the effect, and having seen Natalie Portman's incredible performance in Aronofsky's 'Black Swan,' the desire for pure art, its passion and self-effacement, and the self-mutilation, hallucinations, madnesses, I thought of the underside of the dancer's life. Or her backskin.




_
I posted the painting, The Dancer's Backskin in February.


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Barry Gross... a video on an artist


Barry Gross from damian fitzsimmons on Vimeo.
A mini-documentary on the painter, Barry Gross. Directed by Damian Fitzsimmons, produced by Tyler Ford. A Blue Hour Films Production.


Self-taught, Barry Gross has followed his muse all his life. A unique, intimate and finely done video of the artist showing a moment in time of the way he works and his work. Watching, and listening to him talk, I realize how visionary his art is. This video's a beauty.


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Sunday, April 24, 2011

This is New Year's, if I follow my natural rhythms

Easter Sunday morning always I am depressed. Like I'm under the earth kind of depressed, not sad, or forlorn. Just dead. And by afternoon I feel I'm rising into the air, happy, renewed. A new year is beginning.

Today I realized that my new year is the full moon after the vernal equinox. Passover, Easter, and take a look at April in Wikipedia for the countries and religions, mostly Asian and East Asian, celebrating their New Year this month.

The winter brings increasing exhaustion, weaker and weaker it continues, until today. On Easter Sunday morning it's like I'm buried, decomposing with the termites; I can smell the dank earth of transformation. My inner being shifts today.

By mid-day, the strengthening begins. Energy awakens, renewal has begun. My new year begins.

My spirits rise, I am enlivened.
__

This poem, in 2006, and it's still the same, every year.



Eostre, Or Cross of Sheer Light







I found myself ebbing
away, and so I fasted.
When my commitment to
life renewed itself, I broke
my fast.

If you've ever been dead and come back to life,
been hopeless and found a way to continue,
thrown yourself into nothingness to find meaning.

An elusive tune,
slender wash of light,
bare opening in the wall,
a sliver, crescent through which.

Or what's a moment but a casting through.
If you've been too tired to get up and then you get up.
Filled with silent despair and then the will to.

Nothing's even, that's the problem. Many impermanent states.
All taking turns or colliding. Interpenetrating or scattering.
Flowing or stuck. Constraining or freeing.

I like to have clean thoughts because then I can live in my mind.
Sometimes the dust, anger, grime.
Throw what's scathing out.

I feel your bright and beautiful presence
even if you feel like you've disappeared into nothing.

The edges of the sky hang like an aurora borealis of silk.

The trompe l'oeil of the moment. Discreet packets of time.
If you didn't tell me I was going to die, I wouldn't believe it.

And then the scaffolding crashed, blocks fell apart,
what resisted melted, and it was time to resurrect.
Passing beyond memory into. Or the rising.


©Brenda Clews
Good Friday, 2006
----------------
photographic path: a photo I took of sheer fabric over light, cropped, layered on itself, rotated, made somewhat transparent; then I may have used a marque tool to crop the uppermost layer to better reveal the brocade ribbon below, or was that one of the trajectories I didn't use; various marque tools to crop the right & left edges of the uppermost layer on right angles; the stamp tool to fill in a line that was left over from who knows what process; the burn tool to darken the upper and bottom right corners for visual balance. A collage I composed after writing the poem...

This is a photopoem: I've digitally embedded the poem in the image along with copyright information.


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