Newspaper Article on Video Poem Project at Robert Morris College, Chicago Campus
as it appeared in print in the September 2005 issue of the RMC EAGLE
Urban Video Sanctuary Project
Mary Russell’s Visiting Artist class at RMC is showing students how to create visual poetry. Students are carving out original videos which depict personal safe places in the city of Chicago. With the help of her collaborator and colleague Gerard Wozek, also a full-time English instructor at the college, the team is directing students in what is being called the Urban Video Sanctuary Project.
The aim of the Project is to examine where in an urban environment like Chicago, do individuals feel most secure. During this turbulent time when people feel wary about traveling in a large urban center, the Project is revealing just where one can find a sense of stability and peace.
Russell and Wozek are encouraging students to explore the notion of security and sanctuary and to depict those places by combining visual images with poems and narratives which tell a story or reveal and inner process about the sanctuary.
“We wanted to provide students with a chance to rethink how they view the city environment around them,” says Russell, whose own work with poetry video has effectively re-imagined urban centers like Chicago and Paris. “It’s important that students develop a kindred spirit with where they’re located, and one way to effectively do that is to shoot video and create videopoems.
Positioned between a music video and installation art, poetry video couples word and image in such a way that both mediums complement and enhance one another. Typically, a videopoem is something created by a published poet and a video artist working in their field. Wozek and Russell as a collaborative team have a long history of publishing, producing and screening poetry videos and they’re thrilled with the opportunity to be working with students.
“The college is offering us a great opportunity through its shared excellence program to collaborate and do what we do best,” says Wozek. “RMC has really begun to challenge students through interdisciplinary studies and poetry video is a unique and effective model for our students to work with.”
Wozek encouraged students to workshop and add poetic narratives into their video work as a way to express their feelings connected with their sense of an urban sanctuary. Russell worked with students through the process of gathering images and editing the work into short two to three minute videos.
The class will culminate with a public screening of the student work at the Robert Morris College Chicago Auditorium on September 19th.
This article was written by Jorge Hinojosa,