E. M. de Melo e Castro has written poetry in different physical media – in the same way as “peso pesado do átomo” [atom’s heavy weight] (Castro 2006) – such as paper, textiles, canvas, wood, metal, stone, plastic, early opting for a dematerialization of word and image, something that became apparent, from the outset, in the pioneering videopoem Roda Lume [Wheel of Fire] (1968). This dematerialization of the artwork was taken as a guideline for the retrospective exhibition “O Caminho do Leve” [The Way to Lightness] (2006) at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, in Porto. Melo e Castro states:
Open “Word Crimes” by “Weird Al” Yankovic and Jarrett Heather
“Word Crimes” is an official music video designed and animated by Jarrett Heather for “Weird Al” Yankovic. The video uses kinetic typography and evocative visual images to reinforce the didactic tone. The song is a parody of Robin Thicke’s own “Blurred Lines” employing its catchy tune, lyric structure, and even typography (as in the case of the hashtags) repurposed tosatirizes common ways that language is used incorrectly in writing.
Open “Debaser” video by Pixies
Pixies is an alternative rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, originally formed in 1986. The band started releasing music videos after their second studio album Doolittle in 1989, but ‘’Debaser,” the first track of this album, wasn’t released as a single until 1997. This is the only one of their videos, to date, to feature kinetic typography.
Remember those chain emails your most obscure contacts would send you during the wee hours of the night that read something like “IF U DON’T FWD DIS A CREEPY CRAWLY GHOST OF A GIRL WILL COME OUT OF DA CLOSET AND KILL U” ?
Well they’re back. And they’re coming to get you for not forwarding all those emails.
After the release of the viral EDM hit “#SELFIE”, internet commenters were swift and brutal in their typically over-dramatic detraction of the song, citing it as yet another argument for “the death of music” due to it’s purportedly vapid, idiotic lyrics and “cookie-cutter” beats. In spite of this, the single topped several worldwide dance charts and the official music video stands at 90 million views at the time of writing. After its meteoric rise, YouTube user Coralee created a minimalist video which displayed the lyrics in perfect synchronization with the song itself, one word at a time. While the concept itself is hardly novel– lyric videos on YouTube are extremely common– the execution is a stimulating piece of kinetic typography which offers a charming microcosm of the nexus between Generation Y(.O.L.O.)’s party culture and the proliferation of social networking.
The title sequence for the 1995-1998 animated television series Pinky and the Brain is best known for its memorable theme song but its kinetic typography, created by Bryan Evans, is worthy of attention as an unexpected e-poem. Its lyrics, penned by series creator Tom Ruegger, consist of comical rhyming verses in iambic trimeter (mostly) that introduce the characters and their motivations, as can be seen in the first stanza below.
They’re Pinky and The Brain
Yes, Pinky and The Brain
One is a genius
The other’s insane.
They’re laboratory mice
Their genes have been spliced
They’re Pinky and The Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain
Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain
Performed by the Brazilian musician, poet and multimedia artist Arnaldo Antunes, “Não tem que” (Don’t have to) is a video poem composed of photographic images synchronized to voice and song. It is part of a transmedia project titled Nome (“Name”) released in book, CD, and VHS in 1993, and remastered and reissued in CD and DVD in 2006. Nome consists of 30 multimedia works that are situated between songs and poems. Despite not having been developed exclusively for the digital medium, it was composed and designed with animation, audio editing, image and video digital techniques.
This work is published as a video documentation of a simultaneously analog and digital poem— an instance of extreme inscription as described by Matthew Kirschenbaum. Written on a semiconductor alloy with “a focus GA ion beam” at font sizes much smaller than a pixel, requiring an electron microscope with magnification “ranges from 400x all the way to 10000x.” The naked eye cannot read this poem unaided, so the video takes us through an edited journey into the poem’s text reminiscent of Prezi, but much cooler in its materiality.
This video poem is composed from footage of a “Dream Hospital” newsreel, video clips from a nursing documentary from 1942 (also used in Bogaert’s “You’re Lying and You Filter,” Bogaert’s lines of verse (translated from Dutch by John Irons), voice-over recordings, and ambient sounds. Bogaert’s text and editing bring together short looped video clips to create a whole new narrative about an absurd experimental treatment, made particularly surreal by voice-overs of poetic language that barely fits the visual context provided by the video. The short looped clips are edited and to create an illusion of narrative continuity, which makes is more disconcerting, because there is nothing natural in identical bodily movements associated with different speech content, not to mention the repeated injections that the patient is subjected to.
I just hope they’re able to free the bird.
“Bindings” by David Jhave Johnston, et. al.
This powerfully expressive nonverbal poem builds on the title, with the dancers’ actions and movements in front of a video produced by Jhave. The first meaning of bindings is clear as the dancers come on stage boung by strips of fabric or are bound by other dancers. This act is portrayed in different ways— forcefully, gently, voluntarily, but never cruelly— yet the soft materials seem very effective in handicapping the dancers, who continue to dance oddly, as if exploring their new bodily conditions. As the piece progresses they are all freed, yet this seems to bring no solace to their bodies, which continue moving awkwardly. Why?