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Puebla de los ángeles

February 27, 2009 7 comments


If you can’t see the video, you need to download Flash.

On the zócalo in Puebla, la ciudad de los ángeles,
flocks of shiny balloons rise and fall and rise
again with the coruscating spray of water
spouted from the mouths of fountain
fish misting birds who flutter

above human voices

peddlers, priests, tourists folding
maps, laughing children playing chase,
rumble of taxis, buses, cars, clink of glasses in
sidewalk cafes, scrape of chairs as the band begins
the danzón, hum of horns, scuff of cellos and violins,

lyrical silence of pigeon wings.

by Arturo Lomas Garza, Robert Skiles, and Katherine Durham Oldmixon

Download the MP3

Process notes

Robert Skiles and Arturo (“Turo”) Lomas Garza have been friends and collaborators for almost thirty-three years, together performing Robert’s musical compositions for recordings and live concerts. Poet and photographer Katherine Durham Oldmixon and Turo have also worked together and supported one another on many artistic projects. So it’s no surprise that Turo, the editor of this project, is the nexus of the collaboration.

When we launched this project, we agreed that we wanted Robert’s music to be central, but we began with Katherine’s poem “Puebla de los ángeles” as a basis for the idea. Robert had read the poem before and expressed an appreciation for its sounds and images. We didn’t want the poem to become lyrics accompanied by music, but the music to be its own interpretation and representation of the idea, and the poem and images to complement. So Robert wrote and recorded his piano solo, “Puebla de los ángeles,” and Turo selected and edited Katherine’s photographs of Puebla, Mexico to create the visual media, integrating the lines of the poem as he heard them and saw them in the song.

Winding

January 29, 2009 8 comments


If you can’t see the video, you need to download Flash.

The river gave no sign
of where she might have drifted.
It carried the sky and trees like roots.

Leaves traced hieroglyphics
along the snaking spine of a gravel path
that led to the road. Cars passed

in transit, unwilling to stop
for a vine-draped shadow glimpsed
at the edge of light.

Arney’s girl was seen
near the rubble at the old quarry,
pale limbs twined with weeds,

curls of ivy on crumbling stone.
A fusion of need and air,
we reached for her like

drowning victims emerging
wild to claw the sun.
When the search parties stopped,

the land was changed.
We returned to the river,
its flux her blood.

by Jo Hemmant, Michelle McGrane and Christine Swint

Process notes

We started with a raw video of clips Christine shot while running errands in her town. After Michelle and Jo viewed the video, Michelle suggested a theme of ‘disappearance,’ and came up with a rough outline for a narrative that we all liked. There were a few images and scenes that Jo felt didn’t quite go with our intended poem, which we later deleted. We didn’t know how the lines would turn out, but we did have an idea of where we were going from the start.

Writing line by line, we alternated between the three of us via Facebook, a convenient option since Jo lives in England, Michelle is in South Africa, and Christine is in the US. At times we disclosed what was in our minds as we wrote — this particular aspect of our collaboration is important, because we did not write blindly. The poem is more a result of a merging of minds rather than a serendipitous creation.

Whoever said “three’s a crowd” never collaborated on a poem. Although having three different poets weighing in on each word was at times unwieldy, we came to an agreement about the success of each line fairly quickly.

After brainstorming for titles and reaching a consensus about closing the poem, we recorded the voice, and completed the video.

(Watch more qarrtsiluni videos here. —Eds.)

Time Capsule Chronicles

November 19, 2008 7 comments

Chrysalis

September 27, 2008 2 comments
Categories: Transformation, Videos Tags:

Letter From a Parasitic Head

August 11, 2008 7 comments

Upon autopsy, the neck stump of the parasitic head was shown to contain fragments of bone and tiny vestiges of a heart and lungs.
www.phreeque.com

I could feel your blood circulating inside me,
knew I was killing you, siphoning off
what you needed for myself,
but how could I have been expected
to do otherwise.

On examination, our skulls are one,
locked together like puzzle pieces,
our craniums stacked and sealed
like bricks laid and mortared
by a bricklayer who’d been drinking.

What has a body, even body fragments,
wants to live, has no choice.
The two-headed snake — its brains
struggling to find food — writhes,
gets nowhere until it dies hungry.

I knew something was going wrong
when your body became pale
as rice paper, your blue veins dried up.
And I could not turn my head
to look you in the eyes.

Video by Donna Kuhn
Poem by Dana Guthrie Martin

If you can’t see the movie, you need to download Flash.

Same Road, Different Season

July 16, 2008 5 comments
Categories: Transformation, Videos Tags:

Dancing Jellies

July 4, 2008 1 comment
Categories: Videos, Water Tags:

Daibutsu

January 23, 2008 6 comments