concrete filmo-graphy

Concrete poetry meets the MTV Generation. I’m interested in the font fetishism, the representation of arbor and rhizome, the soundtracks, the use (and non-use) of color.


Some are more basic than others. This one, for instance, is like Steve Reich meets HyperCard. This one’s kind of didactic and narrative, but also informative. There’s a whole subgenre of film translated into fonts.

I think Bob Grenier would get a kick out of this one.


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3 Responses to concrete filmo-graphy

  1. Tawrin says:

    Sorry, I saw a few of them and they were all terrible. Really really terrible.

    Far, far more interesting (and terrifying) is the new Celebrex commercial (at

    Way ahead the curve, playing really well with the role of text in the world, the authority of certain kinds of text, inscription as a form of power (especially as it relates to scientific knowledge); the ‘makeup’ of the world, our Sight of it and our embodiment, as colored or generated by scientific and technological advancement, and the bewilderment of that world (seemingly) necessitating authoratative sifters and decision makers (doctors and the drug companies). Really rich, scary stuff. (Drug adverts in general are fantastically interesting.)

  2. Jessica Smith says:

    Aw, Tawrin, you’re too harsh. They’re not terrible. I found some really inspiring. And I think we have to remember that we’re still at the forefront of this technology– of video poetry. Generally, video artists don’t know how to use words poetically (nor do most visual artists– it always frustrates me in museums– collaborate with a poet! don’t try to write your own material!) and poets don’t know how to use videocameras (plus, until recently they’ve been expensive, even if video is supposedly more accessible than film). Sure, things can be improved upon, more can be done, the text can certainly be improved (in the ones with fancy animation); the animation can be improved (in the ones with cool words) but I like seeing these efforts.

    But I kind of agree with you about advertizing. When I was first starting to do plastic poetry I was seeing a lot of the same techniques used in commercials and magazine ads. They’re the true poets! 😉 Esp. drug companies. I mean, I envy the control they have over their audience intellectually and physically. I wish the side effects to *my* poetry were required to be printed on the side.

  3. Tawrin says:

    It’s difficult to say how much control the drug companies have, though they are clearly using information for that purpose.

    There is a pretty fantastic tradition of text within experimental film, working with the same ideas as many poets — extremely powerful, thoughtful stuff: Hollis Frampton, Michael Snow, and David Gatten come to mind. I guess these are my benchmarks. And while video is of course different, it must not be ignorant of this tradition.

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