Experimental Poetry, Video, Voice

Original work by Gina Rae Foster, 2008-2010

Poet/Director’s Statement 

“Meleopsis” is a series of original experimental videos that interplay processes of poetry, video, photography, and voice. “Melos” in Greek refers to text, and “opsis” refers to image. As Meyer Schapiro and Pierre Alferi emphasize, text and image cannot be visually processed simultaneously; the videos push this conflict of text and image to include stillness and movement, ambient noise and speech.


The poems are written in interdependent fours: one poem comprises the whole, read from left to right horizontally, while three poems in columns read vertically make up separate parts and run into a single culminating line. The photographs refer to parts of an installation, Intersections, which the artist Wopo Holup created at Lehman College/CUNY in Bronx, New York. These photographs inspired the poems and yet are distinct parts of the videos, processes that appear and disappear with image and text embedded and contained.


The voice is a single voice, layered and patterned as monologue and round. The voice intertwines the poems separately from the visual text, challenging the ear to separate and follow lines and words while the eye wanders between lines and words and image. Hearing the poem becomes hearing multiple poems and no poem, a auditory wrestling between noise and sense.


The videos layer and juxtapose screens of relative stillness on a summer day, from a boat slowly moving up a river to a squirrel scampering across a lawn, leaves wavering in the tops of trees, and clouds wandering across a bright sky. The multiscreen effect deceives the viewer into looking for actions and intentions that may not be there just as the multipoems and multireadings of the poems deceive the listener and reader into looking for significance and coherence that may not be present.


“Meleopsis” is lyric dwelling as completion and as failure. It is an invitation to join in unsatisfied desires and to co-create performance and dwelling through the compossible and the incompossible conflicting images, text, and voice.