24 Sep


Artist Visit to FILE 2015, Sao Paulo, Brazil

FLOW: BIG WATERS, an on-going video installation of Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas is based on research carried out during July 2014 when invited to the Everglades National Park by AIRIE – Artists in Residence in Everglades and the US National Park Service.

Our video program FLOW: BIG WATERS was presented, under the Media Arts Category, FILE 2015, June 16 – August 16, 2015.


In July, I had the occasion to visit São Paulo, Brazil with Daniel Dugas. We flew there to see our video program FLOW: BIG WATERS in the context of the FILE 2015 Festival.

It was whirlwind trip. The itinerary included flying into Sao Paulo July 24 – 25; being there on the ground for July 26, 27, 28, and flying back out on July 29 – 30.

During those intense few days, Daniel and I concentrated our time between visiting the exhibition to become familiar with the works in this extensive international exhibit and, investigating culture in the very central area of Sao Paulo where we were based. The FILE 2015 attendants were friendly and well informed of the various instances of electronic art presented. On the level of spoken language, we worked between English, French and Portuguese.

On the recommendation of FILE organizers, we stayed at the Hotel Feller, just two blocks from the Cultural Center FIESP Ruth Cardosa. It is important to note that FIESP (Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo) houses, finances and culturally supports the Center. This was the first time that Daniel and I visited a country that neither of us spoke the official language. Before leaving home, we prepared ourselves for encounters in Portuguese by carrying a list of phrases in our notebooks and consulting Google translate. At one point when we visited the gallery shop in the Ruth Cardosa, the attendant stepped over to her computer to quickly consult the translation software. Surprisingly, the reliability of the translation software worked its magic. Greatly improved since its debut, it became a key point of reference for me in Sao Paulo communication.

The information package sent by the FILE organizers was very detailed. In addition to maps, demographic information, exchange rates, there was a complicated list of fashion warnings including no cargo pants, no colorful t-shirts, and no shorts in public for men. Most of the warnings were intended to advise against appearing to be a tourist. In the actual experience of visiting Sao Paulo, I found that some of the warnings had gone out of fashion. Surprisingly, some had not. In Sao Paulo there were always crowds moving through the streets. I saw only a few persons taking photographs and was reminded of the warnings about being low-key with cameras. More surprising, and almost shocking was that sunglasses and hats – personal protection from the sun were not in fashion.

Driving in and out of Sao Paulo along the cement lined water canals; you can easily see the sad reality of clean water shortages is at crisis levels.

As a pluridisciplinary artist, I have long recognized that sources of information, encounters with people and cultural observations impact both my practice and career. Basically, circumstances are not isolated but connected in the net of culture that we live within. While paying attention and taking notes, subject matter presents itself everywhere. A photo, a note, or a scrap of video sometimes comes back to haunt.  It comes together when another piece of the puzzle presents itself and I am able to create a work that incorporates all of the elements.

It seems that seeing Schindler’s list in Portuguese on television in Sao Paulo could circle back to me in another phase of creation.


26 July, 2015

Waking here
after the sleep of jet lag,
I could still be within a dream.

I don’t know where I am.
Of course,
I know that this is Sao Paolo,
this is Brazil,
the grand Avenida Paulista.
And I am walking to the Centro Cultural FIESP – Ruth Cardosa,
named for the anthropologist and philosopher.
Among the magazines and newspapers, news stands feature volumes on the work of philosophers and I wonder if she is the reason for this unusually civil public display.

To live in a region in my own country
and to visit the world,
is like a dream of immersion into another culture.

This visit to Sao Paulo is so short that only my tools,
notes, photos and videos,
prove to me that I am,
and was,
In a few days I will have to say,
I was there there once.

26 July, 2015

But where I am in my own geo-points
I cannot say.
This is a whole other universe that I have landed inside of.
South of the equator,
I find myself in a winter,
not unlike early fall,
or late summer,
in the land from which I have flown.

Today is Sunday
26 July, 2015

and people are more relaxed on the street.
I step inside the concert hall to understand the language of music,
one of those languages
we have known
from a very young age,
from the instant of memory arriving.

I am reminded of a music class.
The teacher told us that the composer had decided,
to inject a loud and lively section,
into the composition.
It was intended to jar the audience out of,
after-dinner slumber.
It was considered shocking in its time.

That shock,
or spice,
changed the shape of chamber music,
way back in the 18th century.

And today, maybe it is the sound of some audience members breathing heavily, or even snoring that has prompted this memory.

As someone drifts off to permit the music to enter her / his subconscious,
and the memory of dreams,
I hear that heavy breathing,
a snore or two.

But I half believe that,
some of the
measured breathing
could be coming from the direction of the cellist,
in the delivery of music and life notations,
from the life of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

And then I know where I am.

I am the grain of sand falling in an hour glass,
an instant of scanning,
in a world of crystalline formations,
floating downward,
on the way to the end,
of counting this instant of time.

Monday Fashion
July 27, 2015

I pass Renner Department Store on the Avenida Paulista and I hear the enthusiastic voices of the sales staff revving up within the morning pep talk before opening.
Moments later, the store entrance is ripped open to reveal the staff in a final rally before heading out to their stations.
I am reminded of being in a mall when Walmart first opened in Canada.
What sounded like fascists preparing to mount a holocaust
has turned out to be only the rallying call of fashionistas,
working in retail.

Languages and Interpretation
July 28, 2015

Before leaving for the trip, I was too busy to learn a lot of key words and phrases of Portuguese so now I am cramming.
The challenge for my sleep-deprived brain is hit and miss.
Sometimes the word is there and more often the wrong word comes out.
Luckily, Obrigada – thank you from the feminine perspective,
emerges when all else fails.
And then there is the famous motion miming to demonstrate a need.
Charades on the fly in a foreign country.

Journey’s End
July 29, 2015

As the taxi drives us back through the neighboring cities,
I notice that the graffiti is up very high,
too high to be written from the roof of buildings.
The author would have had to dangle on a rope,
or, to paint from the ground,
it would have required a mechanism for spraying to be mounted on a pole.
In either case, these graffittis could not have been quickly,
nor secretly applied.

Evidence of yet another Brazil mystery left unanswered in this visit.
On the drive in and out,
the view from the taxi window was,
of the mass of cities that have grown to entangle each other.
By comparison with a 70’s postcard image, we could see that the water level
in the cement canal of an ancient river was dangerously low.
The videos for FLOW: BIG WATERS, are rooted in research carried out in the Florida Everglades, another area experiencing crises of water shortages.

In Sao Paulo, when the noon air raid siren demands that all work stops for lunch, bottled water is waiting to support the pause.



19 May


We are very happy that our FLOW: BIG WATERS video program will to screened during FILE 2015!


FILE São Paulo 2015
the new e-motion
From June 16th to August 16th

FILE 2015 – Electronic Language International Festival takes place this year from June 16th to August 16th at Centro Cultural FIESP – Ruth Cardoso. In its 16th edition, the festival occupies the Art Gallery of SESI-SP, the Digital Art Gallery (the facade of the FIESP building) with the FILE LED SHOW, and the Mezzanine Floor, where a series of workshops takes place. The festival exhibits the interactive installation “Solar Pink”, by the North American group Assocreation, in the sidewalks of Avenida Paulista, and the installation “Arart” in the subway stations Trianon-Masp and Consolação. Created by Japanese artists Takeshi Mukai, Kei Shiratori and Younghyo Bak, this work creates dynamics in iconic art history paintings using an app for mobile devices.

The FILE 2015 exhibition, that takes place at the Art Gallery of SESI-SP, gathers artistic proposals in several forms such as interactive installations, games for multiple platforms, animations, video art, GIFs, WebGLs, web art and electronic sounds.

The festival also exhibits a projection subtitled in Portuguese of the award-winning movie “Shirley – Visions of Reality”, directed by Austrian filmmaker Gustav Deutsch, a contemporary cult cinema icon. Never shown before in Brazil, the film is based on 13 paintings by American painter Edward Hopper.

The participation in all activities of FILE 2015 is free

1 Anne Pasanen & Geo Panagiotidou-Kalevala Book Visualisation-Finland
2 Anni Garza Lau – A Pragmatic Digital Art Manifesto-Mexico
3 Basic Bruegel: Valerie LeBlanc & Daniel H Dugas-Flow: Big Waters–Canada
4 BiarritZZZ-Possawsubawater-Brazil
5 Chang Liu-Wild Growth-United States
6 Daniel Peixoto Ferreira-Join Us-Brazil
7 Daniel Peixoto Ferreira-Learn-Brazil
8 David Clark-The End: Death in Seven Colours– Canada
9 Duda-Ecos #1-Brazil
10 ENRIQUE FRANCO LIZARAZO – D-sonus: aplicativo para criação audiovisual em dispositivos móveis – Brazil
11 Ewa Doroszenko & Jacek Doroszenko – Soundreaming – Poland
12 Hidenori Watanave Laboratory, Tokyo Metropolitan University, The Asahi Shimbun Company & Tokyo Metropolitan Archives – The Tokyo Olympic Archive 1964-2020 – Japan
13 Iono Allen – Butchery – France
14 IP Yuk-Yiu – Clouds Fall – Hong Kong
15 Jason Edward Lewis – Vital to the General Public Welfare (The PoEMM Cycle) – Canada
16 Jason Nelson – The Required Field – Australia
17 Jean-Michel Rolland – Biosphere – France
18 Jean-Michel Rolland – The Endless Journey – France
19 Jenny Lin – Replay: A Memory Game – Canada
20 Jody Zellen – Time Jitters – United States
21 jtwine – UltraHyperDrone – United States
22 Justin Lincoln – The Stroboscope – United States
23 Les Riches Douaniers: Gilles Richard & Fabrice Zoll – Tableau Sisyphéen (Sisyphean Picture) – France
24 Livia Mateiaș – Strings – Romania
25 Luigia Cardarelli – Landscape – Italy
26 Luigia Cardarelli – The Unspoken Words – Italy
27 Luigia Cardarelli – Imagined Time – Italy
28 Luis Hernandez-Galván – This place you see is about to be no more… – Singapure
29 Michael Takeo Magruder – Data_Plex (Babel) – United Kingdom
30 Paganmuzak – Rotational Chaos – Italy
31 Rachel Simone Weil, Torley & Nathalie Lawhead – Monkey Fortunetell – United States
32 reVoltaire – kinema ikon: serial / season one – Romania
33 Roberto Stelzer – Poesia 3D – Brazil
34 Ryota Matsumoto – the High Overdrive and Its Undefinable Consequence – Japan
35 Ryota Matsumoto – the Indistinct Notion of an Object Trajectory – Japan
36 Ryota Matsumoto – Voided by the False Vows of Time – Japan
37 Second Front: Patrick Lichty, LiZ Solo, Bibbe Hansen, Yael Gilks, Doug Jarvis & Scott Kildall – Red Dog For Freddie Herko – United States
38 Will Luers – Phantom Agents – United States

28 Apr


On April 28, Daniel Dugas and I each gave  a talk at the Galerie Sans Nom during the Frye Festival.


pdf Text(e) Image Beat talks given through the Galerie Sans Nom and the Frye Festival, (pdf 2mb)

23 Mar

Transcript of Valerie LeBlanc’s talk given during the AnthropoScene, a semester-long exploration of this new era sponsored by the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy and the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Miami with participation by Artists in Residence in the Everglades.

Thank you all for coming here today. Special Thanks to the organizers and hosts of the AnthropoScene Conference and Exhibition: The Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE), Executive Director, Deborah Mitchell, The University of Miami, Ecosystem Science and Policy, Director Gina Maranto

Image 2: Anthropocene summary

Artist activities
For years I lived on the cutting edge of the Anthropocene: cleaning printing screens with Tolulene; working with paints on my hands and under my fingernails; cutting and building with MDF (medium density fibreboard); mixing glass from scratch and breathing it all in. Then I moved into neat electronic studios that evolved into digital environments. Little did I realize that my art process was still implicated in ‘the mess’. And there is where we ALL find ourselves today.

Trying to keep up
Around 2000 when digital media became more consumer accessible, the speed of life ratcheted up a notch. The ways of carrying out all duties became more electronic and Internet based. The need to keep up began to affect everyone from homemakers to children, from educators and administrators to mechanics and everyone-in-between. And as we all worked toward the goal of staying on the edge of digital knowledge, of competing, we lost track of the level of manufactured goods falling by the wayside and into landfills. As our ‘stuff’ became obsolete and we reached for the new standards, the baseline of consumption bulged.

I looked through various geological time scales and found that the area I needed to see – the past 1,000 years was too compacted. What I am getting at is that I need to see the quantity of waste materials created and dumped into pristine environments. And perhaps even more importantly, the charts highlighting waste buried where it can seep into underground streams.

Image 3: the Minotaur by Watts

Who are WE
As I began to concentrate my thoughts on the criteria for recognizing a new and accelerated geological time period, I got a mental image of George Frederic Watt’s 1885 Minotaur: the beast that destroys everything gentle that he encounters. A pitiful monster, his face hangs in loathing for the act he has just committed, the killing of a small bird.

Image 4: Minotaur – Joe Webb (Gif images)

Then I found the more recent remix of the Minotaur Selfie by collage artist Joe Webb. He has captioned the work: “The Minotaur attempts to take the perfect ‘Selfie’ only to be frustrated by red eye on each shot.”

Little does he know that a sparrow is perched on his back. Or, in another reading, is he trying to find the source of that pesky itch on his back and all he can see is red? If Watts posited the Minotaur as the manifestation of Victorian evil, the ruination of innocents, whom can we now pose in the persona of this mythical figure? Are we all reflecting out of that technological mirror? Can we help ourselves stop wanting more, or leave less mess while acquiring it?

Image 5: Mars One

Colonizing Mars with sustainable environments – first batch of colonists booked to head out in 2024
On the Mars One reality show site, the image of the colonization modules is captioned: The Next Giant leap for Mankind. And I have to ask myself, “What’s wrong with HERE, with this Paradise? If you believe some of the oral history that came to be written down in ancient times, it appears that we already accepted the lease on this Garden when we tasted that snaky apple of life on Earth.” If I pause on the homepage image longer, I have to ask why those great little modules could not be made available for temporary or for permanent habitation in my neighborhood, in the trailer park on the outskirts of town, in the tent cities set up to temporarily house refugees displaced by weather conditions, or the bellicosity of groups carving out bigger backyards. The idea of a one-way mission to Mars is like leaving the Garden for a second time. It seems that persons applying for the mission are looking for a transformative experience, a religious experience; and televised, sponsored validation for living and achieving. Apparently, it is an experience that they are not able to find on earth. And maybe we should worry about what will happen to these individuals if reality shifts and the show is cancelled.

At some point in the 20th century, with the advance of photography, moving picture technology, sound recording, and other innovations, concepts of art needed overhauling. It is now accepted that artworks are reproduced and distributed widely on the planet, and that the spectator possesses the power to complete the work through experiencing it in whatever location it is encountered. In its distribution and function, film is an art form that epitomizes the dilemma: Is art imitating life or is life imitating art?

Image 6: Entertainment: The Top Predator

I believe that this conference presents the ideal context to raise concerns about casual explosions of atomic or nuclear bombs in dramatic films. I use the word casual when referring to films where life goes back to normal, or is even better after a ‘staged’ blast.

On the Internet, the List of documentary and dramatic films about nuclear issues is big. You can even find listings for the Best and Worst of all nuclear blasts. Although James Cameron’s 1994 fictional drama True Lies is not found under those classifications, the film stands out in notoriety. Set in Miami and the Florida Keys, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, the story twists its way through contrived scenarios to arrive at destroying a section of the Seven Mile Bridge and exploding a nuclear blast just off the coast of the Keys. In the end, the superior intelligence and righteousness of the hero is showcased as he succeeds in diverting the location of the explosion away from a major population center (Miami), he saves the girl (his wife – Jamie Curtis), outruns the bomb and makes it back to the mainland amid cheering. The sky is still blue and all is apparently well as there is no hint of any negative environmental impact on the Keys or in the surrounding underwater habitat. We are also left with the impression that there is no psychological damage brought about through the idea of setting off a nuclear blast, that life goes on, with business as usual and takeout pizza for dinner. Reaching beyond suspension of disbelief, True Lies missed the marks on both life imitating art and art imitating life. BUT, with a budget of over $100 million, it is said to have had commercial and critical success.

Image 7: Terminology

Since the explosion of the first atomic bomb in mid 20th century, we have faced the assured threat of mutual annihilation. We rightfully become nervous each time another country steps up to the plate to flaunt membership through nuclear testing. That terminology has always bothered me. When speaking of nuclear bombs, use of the word test seems to imply that this controlled practice is less serious than other bomb blasts. Rightfully, each new threat of capability is addressed, but it is upsetting to think that the fallout after a test blast is not front-page news. In the future, I would like to see all blasts called what they are: BAD!

Image 8: Questions facing artists in discussions of the Anthropocene

There are a few capitol sins that we are warned against.
Avoid being didactic.
Try not to be too political – yet, do not self negate.
Don’t be too angry, you will be in danger of becoming a social pariah and you won’t reach anyone.
On the flip side, the biggest flaw of any artist is to be too irresponsible, to not care enough.

Image 9: The Transformative Effect of the Everglades

So where can we get a break from all of this?
When we allow ourselves to slip into the natural world.
The Everglades is one of those overwhelmingly lush retreats.
If we think about the anthropocene state of the earth as something out of control, we are all lost. If we can think of it as something we can work with, we might be able to go ahead.
Time in the Everglades can have a slowing effect.
Maybe that is what is referred to as the transformative effect.
It is definitely a calming effect.
If you set yourself down there, all of that nature rises up around you.
You are suddenly in ‘their world’ and time seems to stand still.

Artists work against being under-exposed, or of not being seen at all, of being invisible. It is ironic that an invisible path is something that each of us could aspire toward when thinking about natural environments and ecosystems. Aside from dangers presented by major developments, how can we, as individuals, get out to enjoy the nature around us while minimizing the traces we leave behind? It is at the very least, something that we should be thinking about.

Image 10: Florida Clouds

On a trip out with Everglades National Park Hydrologist Steven McQuaid Tennis, he shared his synopsis of a lifetime of weather observations made during his trips out for establishing measurements. On the return passage across Florida Bay, I jotted down less scientific notes that grew into a 3-part reflection on Florida clouds.
(Poem read: Cumulative)

Image 11: Hope, painted in 1886.

To close, I would like to show you another painting of George Frederic Watts: Hope – The figure is blindfolded and apparently sitting on top of our world clinging to a wooden lyre with only one string left.

We have come a long way since it was painted and the sky is still blue and sometimes very bright.

Thank You!


Valerie LeBlanc, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami, FL

Link to Daniel Dugas’ talk

18 Mar

Le vernissage de Text(e) Image Beat aura lieu le 20 mars 2015 à la Galerie Sans Nom!
The opening of Text(e) Image Beat will be held on March 20 at the Galerie Sans Nom!

With: Heid E. Erdrich, Hannah Black, Matt Mullins, Martha Cooley, John D. Scott, Tom Konyves, Swoon (AKA Marc Neys), Michel Félix Lemieux, Kevin Barrington, Maryse Arseneault, Fernando Lazzari and Matthew Hayes.


website: Text(e) Image Beat 


La version française sera bientôt disponible

Curators’ Commentary
Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas

Video poetry is a genre that is increasingly drawing the attention of both audiences and creators. We have come a long way since moving pictures with sound required a vast and expensive array of infrastructure and personnel. We are also in a time when the visual vocabulary and knowledge of signifiers is more familiar to wider audiences. This should not come as too great a surprise when we think that what is considered to be the first documented photograph was made close to 200 years ago[1] and that moving picture techniques pioneered in the early 20th century resulted in the first feature film with sound,The Jazz Singer in1927. While photography, moving pictures, and recorded sound / music were first thought to hold value for documentary applications only, the use of these tools are constantly transforming our concepts of art. Through time-based media, ideas move into the thought process; visceral effects are imprinted.

Creators are now presenting their texts visually and / or performing their poems. Many have realized that messages can be effectively conveyed using the multimodal character of video poetry. Similarly to advertisements created for marketing campaigns, these works are characteristically short, less than 5 minutes in duration. Some festivals are asking for works as short as one minute, the duration of some TV ads. The videos in this program have been chosen for their content as well as for the techniques that each creator uses to portray the meaning and aesthetic sense of the content.

The call for Text(e) / Image / Beat did not specify particular themes. Through the necessity of paring down the choices and assembling a flow of works that complemented and gave space to each other, we became aware of recurrent elements. In spite of the fact that the videos originate from many distinct locations, ideas of awaiting / finding miracles and mysteries of living, are frequent. Each work exhibits innovation and imagination, calling upon a wide range of skills to layer meaning. Slam poetry, rants, softly spoken words, hand written notes, and remixes are all used to articulate.

In Pre-Occupied, texts over images; multi-layering stereotypical references from popular culture and memes relating to current and past events carry Heid E. Erdrich’s words like a fast moving river. References to the first American Thanksgiving, Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, Indigenous activists; key words and statements are thrown; fonts are visually woven with voice intonation to deliver meaning. The video opens with an excerpt from Langston Hughes’ The Negro Speaks of Rivers: ‘I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.’ Erdrich states the title: Pre-Occupied and then begins her powerful litany, ‘River, River, River, I Never, Never, Never etched your spiral icon in limestone …’. Hughes words continue under Erdrich’s. The dynamics of the lead-in continue through to the end. Closing credits are accompanied with an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) translation of John Lennon’s ImaginePre-Occupied hits chords of dreams for political and social equality: held, dashed, revisited and restated.

A series of spirals are drawn over the neck in the opening scenes of Hannah Black’s video of the same name. Through calling attention to the limitations of her childhood drawings, Black brings a discussion of identity. With her own body as the starting point, she steers her words toward ‘… an improbable form of mediation between a self and its constituent parts: family, body, race, gender, …’ Essentially, her video addresses the whole world and its concerns as she draws the personal into the political arena.

In Our Bodies, Matt Mullins remixes a sermon by televangelist Oral Roberts, cutting away excess material, repeating words and phrases, using split screens, and setting inserts to emphasize specific gestures. Mullins closes the videopoem with an excerpt from a sinners’ prayer, ‘… I am ready to perform a miracle in your life … expect delivery.’ As Oral Roberts interprets the Bible, Matt Mullins, in turn interprets Oral Roberts.[2]

Martha Cooley’s Dog Sitting in Eastern Passage uses a combination of devices. While handwritten pages from a notebook bring her thoughts to life, the pages are set within sequences of photos to create movement. Thrown by a heartbroken author, a dog fetches sticks along the Atlantic coastline. Through the work we are reminded of that basic miracle of video and film media, the persistence of vision that brings us the illusion of movement.

John D. Scott breathes life into Elizabeth Bishop’s 1965 poem Sandpiper. He interprets that Bishop anthropomorphizes into the bird. While sandpipers are known to flit persistently on beaches, her life as a revered writer of short stories and poetry was also one of searches, observations, of taking many directions. A haunting whistle, a rattle and clicks of the typewriter open the video and continue to underline the spoken word. Scott’s collaboration includes rotoscoped bird images by Anna Bron and Andrew Whyte, stills and slow moving images of water and beach. Particular passages are emphasized and punctuated through movement and voice.

Having coined ‘videopoetry’ in 1978, Tom Konyves is recognized as one of the pioneers of the genre. In his video ow (n) ed, politically charged meanings are layered and set into a crypted triptych that he describes as a postmodern vision of human slavery. Punctuated by jazz notes, Konyves has positioned quotes from American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses[3] on the left. In the center, a tower of humans is constructed and collapses.[4] Consumer commentaries play on the right. As the video progresses, messages on the left spill over, slipping to the right. Through erasure (dropping regions of the text and remixing), Konyves is implying new meanings.

Well known for remix, collaborations and atmospheric compositions, Marc Neys (aka SWOON) has supplied the concept, editing, and music in the creation of Five Miles (Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas). Howie Good has contributed the poemExcerpts from the 1944 American Military documentary Target for Today, speak about possible bombing but no bodies are seen. Throughout the video an ominous voice repeats ‘five miles.’ Instead of increasing or decreasing the distance to the target, we are forced to hover in abstraction. A slow moving, amorphous bubble suddenly appears. As it floats over green grass the text ‘because a feeling has no form’ is spelled out. In the bellicose tone set by the video, this colorful bubble carries a menacing hint of possible outcomes.

Michel Félix Lemieux’s Brûle le bois vert takes us on a train ride at night. A moving spotlight illuminates the view through a square window. Lemieux describes this work as a poetic and confused reflection on exodus. While we are almost deprived of images in the video, the text is loaded with saturated colors. The words contaminate what we are seeing. In a poem that offers glimpses of mental and emotional moods over any coherent flow of thought, an awareness of solitude pervades.

Kevin Barrington’s I Love the Internet is a skillful fast rant by this Dublin based copywriter and blogger. A collaborative project with Irish animation artist and illustrator Bruce Ryder, the poem advances through use of psychedelic colors and a text matte over quick moving images. The video derives from Barrington’s multi-media e-book of the same name. Barrington states, ‘The impulse was to repel a rising wave of establishment antipathy to social media expression that took hold early in 2013 and threatened to silence satire and online political heckling.’

In constructing Retenir son souffle, Maryse Arsenault used French and English to deliver her texts; a speaking and singing voice; images and sound shot in her own environment; and found footage of a weather phenomenon. The voice, which we understand as Maryse, asks for help. It is the voice that we sometimes need to hear when we are hoping for a miracle. The video ends with sounds of whistling and a bell like that of a life buoy. A small bird goes out and returns 3 times; the repetition works like an incantation in the closing of this lullaby.

Montserrat follows Retenir son souffle in the program. These two very different videopoems explore threads of holding up the world through dark times. To relate an excerpt of Jorge Luis Borges’ Amanecer (Break of Day), Fernando Lazzari uses ‘font as character’. Borges’ poem speaks of a world held together by the imagination of those who inhabit the night, until the day returns and others awake to define its shape with their presence. At times, images move rapidly; sometimes they hover to become imprinted as font generation builds monuments to the words.

Slam Poet Sasha Patterson performs her poem Tonight is for the Trees; cinematography and editing is by Matthew Hayes, with music by Lee Rosevere. Patterson walks out of the darkness along a tree-lined road. At first lit by only a flashlight, she is suddenly in full light and continues to address her audience as she walks toward the camera. The effect is simple and effective. Tonight is for the Trees brings reminders of Christopher Dewdney’s August as both poems celebrate summer and life in southern Ontario.[5] Each passage of Dewdney’s list: nature’s creatures and the beauty of geological formations begins with ‘because’.  Patterson repeats ‘ tonight is for …’ before each new item in her long list of dedications. Links between the two works are not literal but meet in sentiment, intention and appreciation for life, nature and the human presence in it all. Patterson’s fresh and confident voice epitomizes hope.

While Pre-Occupied dropped us into the middle of all things worldly and imagined, Tonight is for the Trees brings closing notes to Image / Text(e) / Beat. In the long history of the known and unknown, the visible and the invisible, the spoken and the unspoken, video poetry sets the prompts, the magic of visions hinted by the words, images and sounds. Rhythm set by videopoetry widens the chances of getting messages out. We hope that a tradition of video poetry will come to be established in Moncton. With the number of poets per capita, it seems to be a viable, and maybe inevitable prospect.

[1] The First Photograph, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin:http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/firstphotograph/

Nicéphore Niépce, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicéphore_Niépce

[2] To appreciate the effectiveness of Mullins’ remix, check out The Hand of God, from Oral Roberts Crusade, St. Petersburg, FL (1964) on You Tube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGi_vRS9zH8

[3] Theodore Dwight Weld, 1803-1895, ‘American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses’: http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/weld/summary.html

[4] In 2010, castells of Catalonia were declared by UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?lg=en&pg=00011&RL=00364

[5] Christopher Dewdney, August, Poetry In Motion (1982), YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN3AaYp_kyY

About Valerie LeBlanc

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, pluri-­disciplinary artist and writer Valerie LeBlanc has worked in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. Her creations travel between poetry, performance, visual and written theory. Valerie LeBlanc has been creating video poetry since the mid 1980’s, and is the creator of the MediaPackBoard (MPB), portable screening / performance device.

L’artiste pluridisciplinaire Valerie LeBlanc est vidéaste, poète, performeuse et essayiste. Son travail oscille entre le remarquable et le quotidien. Elle a exposé ses œuvres en Europe, en Australie et au Brésil. Elle crée des vidéopoèmes depuis le milieu des années 1980 et a inventé le MediaPackBoard (MPB), un appareil de projection mobile pour la performance.

À partir de leur exploration du parc national des Everglades, Daniel H. Dugas et Valerie LeBlanc cartographient dans cet essai poétique les effets de la présence humaine sur le milieu naturel, les traces qu’elle y dépose. Everglades est une ode à la beauté, à la fragilité et à la résilience d’une nature aux prises avec une espèce envahissante, la nôtre.

Through their exploration of the Everglades National Park, Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc document, in this poetic collection, the effects of human presence in the natural world and the traces left behind. Everglades is an ode to the beauty, the fragility and the resilience of nature faced with the invasiveness of a particular species, ours.

Date : Mars 2018
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782897441029

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