Funnily enough, I came across the terrific Black Widow film I used for this video at archive.org just after finishing the previous piece, Spiders. As I like to do with footage I think I may use at some point, I imported it into iMovie, detached the audio, edited it down to the bits I found the most striking, and saved it in my ‘wildlife’ clips folder. Even if I didn’t use it right away, I would have the basic edited footage ready to go on another occasion, I thought.
As it turned out, watching the movie without narration during the editing process infused me with a sharp sense of the slightly sinister cyclical primal urges that drive birth, metamorphosis and re-birth in all living things (bears, spiders, people – we are all shape-shifters ipso facto, are we not?). The feeling was so strong and clear that I went looking for a Storehouse poem on its basis, and lighted on Dave Bonta’s Shift. It was a simple matter then to edit the footage down a little further to fit the overall length of the poem. The soundtrack accompaniment was a little harder to find, but I selected the piano composition in the end because I liked its sense of urgency and quick industry, its almost mindless forward movement, as well as its ‘lightness’ – a sort of counterpart to the relatively more sinister forces at work in the video, I thought.
A friendly critic whose judgment I trust said they felt the poem-footage combination in this case is ‘too high concept’ and I understand what they mean – it is indeed quite a stretch. I’ve stayed with it as it is for the moment, though, thinking that I might at some point try another combination for both the poem and the film. That’s the fun of this process – endless possibilities for combination and recombination and reinvention at every turn.
Thanks to Dave for contributing his work to The Poetry Storehouse. As always, we warmly encourage other remixers to visit the Storehouse and get creative with its contents.
Visit the Poetry Storehouse Vimeo page to see all Storehouse-based video and still image remixes.