Sheila Packa on creating live, moving poems at an exhibition of transmedia art

This sounds as if it must’ve been absolutely delightful:

At the art opening last Friday, I was one of the writers who could “input” text into the film generator. [Kathy McTavish’s] art was the “origin of birds.” This posting is about my experience with it, a meditation on the “origin of words.” Entering words was addictive. My text was not the only text on the wall– the generator was randomly combining live twitter feed, climate reports, data, and other phrases. A few other poets were entering phrases as well. The effect was similar to spraying graffiti on a wall, only to have it drift away and replaced by other graffiti.

On my computer, at her web-page, whatever I entered in the text box would appear in the projection on the walls. This was new! wild! Generally as a writer, I do my work in solitude at my desk. In the film, the text was performing live. It was me performing live, actually, but because I was at a table in the corner, I was not visibly part of the exhibit. My words appeared whenever I pressed ‘enter.’ I noticed interesting juxtapositions and flows. I had surprises and sudden flashes of inspiration. It occurred to music (her compositions in cello were also part of the film).

Sometimes, I’d share my text box with friends. Cecilia Ramón sat down at my computer and translated the text she watched on the projection into Spanish for our viewing pleasure. The other designated poets showed some of their friends how to access the text entry point, so a number of people were participating at the same time. Some of the writing sparked material I intend to go back to when I’m at my desk. Some was silly or forgettable. It cascaded or even precipitated on the screen, like the live tweets. My writing evaporated (much like the way that ‘too much information’ is ignored or disregarded in other settings). I did walk away with the appreciation of how poetry, with its concentrated form and powerful image and sound elements, makes an ideal text for video work.

Read the rest.

Dave is the founder of Moving Poems, and posts videos for his own poems (along with lots of other stuff) at Via Negativa. Here's a bio.