Of all the places for a new artistic genre to establish a beachhead, the small Scottish fishing village of Dunbar must be the most photogenic. Avant-garde filmmaking has been incorporating elements of poetry since the end of the Second World War. However, the use of video and film as a means to add a new dimension to a single written poem is recent. Such works have been proliferating across the Internet thanks to hubs like the US-based Moving Poems, the UK-based Filmpoem Project, and the personal site of Belgian artist Swoon.
It was worth the wait. Over two intensive days of screenings and discussions, poets and filmmakers from all over the world converged and convened in the Dunbar Town House on August third and fourth to experience some of the most innovative works in this emerging genre. Described as "slim, but international" by founder Alastair Cook, the group of sixty enthusiasts in attendance was dense with heavy-hitters in both poetry and film.
Scottish poet John Glenday appeared to discuss the experience of having one of his poems developed into film-poems by five different accomplished filmmakers. Above all, though, it was the quality of films that stand on their own in representing the unique and exciting possibilities of this new medium--for poets, musicians, and visual artists throughout the UK.
Here is a brief selection of a few of my favourites from the weekend.