The Mercury in Motion project originated with visual artist Mary Russell and poet Gerard Wozek collaborating within the genre of visual poetry. This ongoing project has fostered a community of artists and technicians combining their unique talents in order to create a significant body of work that has spanned over a decade. Artists who have generously contributed include: D. Edward Davis, Joel Bratton, Jonathan D. Synowiec, Mike Kelly, Doug Huston, Zach Stadel, Fergal Furlong, Xhengis Aliu, and Rob Kosin.

This artistic collaboration has produced award winning poetry videos that continue to screen at festivals and conferences around the world, including, "When Verdi Sings," "Metro Haiku," "Elemental Reels," “A Bird in Hand: Thirteen Postcards from Paris,” "Dance of the Electric Moccasins," and "The Book of Green." The project continues to examine the union of text and image through various mediums.



Recent Highlights from the Mercury in Motion Project include:


Apocrypha Now Online at Moving Poems:
View the most recent poetry video, "Apocrypha" at Dave Bonta's Moving Poems website here. The video has screened at the Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver in 2010 and in 2011 at the University Film and Video Conference in Boston. UFVC respondant Jeremy Newman wrote: "Mary Russell skillfully pairs her intricate nature drawings and Gerard Wozek's poetic meditation on the natural world. Her visuals are fleetig and his spoken words linger, creating a hypnotic sensory experience. As a result, the audiovisual text is complex and commands the viewer's attention."


Featured Artists at the 2008 Greenfestival in Chicago:
Mary Russell and Gerard Wozek were featured guest artists at the 2008 Chicago Greenfestival cinema showcase held on Sunday, May 18th, 2008 at Chicago's Navy Pier. The team screened the new poetry video, "The Book of Green" and hosted a discussion on the genre. In addition, they were joined by Robert Morris University Honors Program students who discussed their nature journaling project at the Naperville Riverwalk. The showcase was followed up with a brief writing workshop. "The Book of Green" and "Dance of the Electric Moccasins" are currently represented and distributed by OUAT MEDIA in Toronto, Canada.

More information on the festival and screening event is found here.


Featured Artists at the 2008 City of Chicago Poetry Festival:
Mary Russell and Gerard Wozek were featured guest artists at the 2008 City of Chicago Poetry Festival which was held on Saturday, April 26th, 2008 at the Harold Washington Library located in downtown Chicago at Congress and State Street. The team screened their most recent video poetry work and hosted a discussion on the poetry video genre. In addition, they screened highlights from a selection of Robert Morris University Illinois student poetry videos focused on the theme of nature. This is the third time the collaborative duo have guested at the festival. More information on the event is found here.


The Book of Green:
"The Book of Green" entices the viewer to develop a closer relationship with the forces of nature as it reveals various elements involved in the process of nature journaling. “The Book of Green” connects participants with the environment through self-scrutiny, careful field study and the delicate process of collecting and archiving. This venture plays a significant role in sustaining life on our planet by asking all of us to keep a vigil with Gaia. If one has ever carefully stippled the image of an owl or revised a line of poetry about an oak tree, it would be very difficult to shoot a duck, kill a deer, or cut down a shrub. The video premiered at the 2008 Chicago Poetry Festival at the Harold Washington Library on April 26th, 2008 and the 2008 Greenfestival at Chicago's Navy Pier on May 18th, 2008. The short was included in the Visible Verse 2008 programme, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque in Vancouver, B.C., Canada held on November 11th, 2008. In addition, "The Book of Green" played in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Third Annual International Festival of Video Poetry presented by Video Bardo on November 14th, 2008. "The Book of Green" was screened in Marseille, France at the "Les Instants Video Numeriques et Poetiques Festival" on November 26th, as part of Video Bardo's traveling poetry video reel. The short was juried into the Athen Video Art Festival in Athens, Greece on May 14th 2009. The piece screened as part of Nina Corwin's "A Tandem Sampler" held on October 14th, 2009 at the Rec Room in Chicago, Illinois. The collaged poetry film featuring image, voice, poetry, and a unique soundtrack, runs 6 minutes on DVD.


Illume: An Alchemy of Text and Image:
A curatorial project initiated by Wozek and Russell, screened Saturday, September 17th, 2005 at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago on north State Street. Highlighting a collection of video poetry by emerging as well as established artists: D. Edward Davis, Heather Haley, Kurt Heintz, Paul Hettel, Mark Saba, Jonathan D. Synowiec, Mary Russell, and Gerard Wozek. The video event, hosted by media innovator Kurt Heintz, also featured a brief question and answer session with the guest artists. The highlights of the "Illume" event were presented on December 9th, 2005 and discussed in an artist forum at Encyclopedia Britannica in Chicago. The thrust of this video project was readdressed at the &Now Literary Festival at Lake Forest College in April, 2006.


Dance of the Electric Moccasins:
View the film here online
A recently completed poetry video revealing a guided tour through a shaman's visionquest. The edges of a lost prairie blur into a vast and untamed landscape where reality folds into itself and the narrator's dream of transformation manifests. Utilizing an original composition created by D. Edward Davis, "Dance of the Electric Moccasins" is a poet's invitation to enter into "another version of time." The video premiered at "Illume: An Alchemy of Text and Image," on September 17th, 2005 and is featured on papertigermedia's 2006 CD-Rom of new world poetry, collection #5/6. Showcased at the 2005 National Festival of Poetry in Buenos Aires, Argentina, "Dance" was selected by Javier Robledo of Video Bardo. The video was also selected for "Visible Verse 2005" in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Most recently, "Dance" was chosen out of nearly 1000 entries to represent the genre of Video Poetry at the prestigious Potenza Film Festival in Italy and took First Place Honors there in December 2005. "Dance" screened at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference in Boston from April 19th-23rd as part of Karen van Meenen's "Emerging Filmmakers" Series. It also screened this spring in Barcelona, Spain as part of the "Poetikas" Poetry Festival. In October, 2006, "Dance" played at the third annual Zebra Poetry Video Festival in Berlin, Germany, as part of Video Bardo's poetry showcase reel. "Dance" was featured at the "Le Instants Video" Festival in Aix en Provence, France on November 18th, 2006. In addition, "Dance" ran at the 2006 International Festival of Video Poetry/Video Bardo held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 27th, 2006. The short screened as part of the "MacKay Patchwork" Art Show at Carisma Gallery in Buford, Georgia, on July 6th, 2007. Juried into the Sadho Poetry Film Festival in New Dehli, India held at the ML Bhartia Auditorium on October 13th-14th, 2007. The piece screened as part of Nina Corwin's "A Tandem Sampler" held on October 14th, 2009 at the Rec Room in Chicago, Illinois.


Nature Journaling/Word and Image in Nature:
Mary Russell and Gerard Wozek have endeavored to develop and share the art of word and image through nature journaling by hosting various workshops. They have conducted numerous collaborations at Robert Morris University Illinois through their combined team-taught work in the classroom. Read a recent RMU Eagle Feature Article on a word and image nature journaling experience with students in Spring of 2006. In addition, Wozek and Russell combined talent as guest artists in the Robert Morris University Management Institute Creativity Forum held on May 16th, 2006 and May 31st at the Morton Arboretum. The team presented a six-hour interactive seminar over the course of two days to upper-level managers highlighting the concept and application of nature journaling. The workshop offered prompts and exercises using personal, self-reflective journal writing as well as intensive gesture drawing activities. The workshop revealed techniques for incorporating and bridging the skills derived from outdoor field observations and recording with a more formalized business framework. Sharing and discussion were hosted online through an interactive website journal. The two-part event featured a hike and write landscape field trip through the Morton Arboretum, a nature sanctuary located in Lisle, Illinois. Wozek and Russell have collaborated with students from the Robert Morris University Spring 2008 Honors Program with a nature journaling and green mapping project along the Naperville Riverwalk. Read a recent RMU Eagle Feature News Article on a word and image nature journaling experience with students in Summer of 2008. Most recently, Wozek and Russell conducted a "Tea Leaf Retreat" workshop at the 2009 Chicago greenfestival with Xhengis Aliu and Kristin Opoloski. Partnering with Numi Tea, the team guided workshop participants with drawing and writing techniques with blooming tea as an inspiration.


The Spirit Compass:
An original audio CD featuring the atmospheric soundscapes of composer, D. Edward Davis, and the spoken word of Gerard Wozek. The compilation features full soundtracks selected from the poetry videos: "A Bird In Hand: Thirteen Postcards from Paris," "The Rosary Walk," "Dance of the Electric Moccasins," and "The Spirit Compass." Advance copies were made available at "Illume" on September 17th, 2005 and can be obtained by writing Gerard Wozek via this website. More information on the audio release forthcoming.

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