gerard wozek poetry video
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What is poetry video? Also known as videopoems, cine-poetry, or poetry films, poetry video unites spoken text (or sometimes text that is written on the screen or text that is simply interpreted by the visual artist) with imagery and music. Situated somewhere between installation art and music video, poetry video is an evolving genre. It is the perfect marriage of image and word that takes cinema and poetry to a brave new threshold. When a resonant image couples with the poet's text, alchemy occurs between the two disciplines of poetry and film. The visual images often deepen the author's meaning, provide startling contrast, or locate new alliances within the inherent metaphors of the poet's text. Stills, animation, computer graphics, and filmed imagery, can all broaden and enhance the experience of the listener/viewer. With the addition of music or other complementary sounds, the result is a striking and welcome alternative to traditional poetry recitals.

Some of the first videopoems were initiated by poetry luminaries Anne Waldman, Bob Holman, and Allen Ginsberg, as part of the Manhattan Poetry Video Project. Visionary artist and filmmaker Jean Cocteau believed the language of cinema was the language of the poet and believed that all of his films were longer visual poems. The visual nature of cine-poems often tends to support the work of performance poets in particular and can enlarge the dramatic aspects of a poet's reading as well as tease out the more subtle intuitive nuances of a poem. For the past several decades, poetry video has surfaced as a vital art form and continues to evolve and emerge as an exciting and relevant genre with academic curriculums, workshops, festivals, and exhibits that develop, support and sustain the proliferation of poetry videos all over the world.

"Our extension of poetry into video seems only to ratify a deeper understanding, as poets and performers, that poetry rests in a continuous spectrum of expanded genres, each genre an amalgam, offering aesthetic expressions that conjoin text with some other creation. Poetry music. Poetry performance. Poetry theatre. Poetry film and video. Whole literatures in the cybernetic realm where the computer enacts by proxy the author's will upon the text. The breakdown of psychological barriers from literature on the page to literature on the stage was the public's prelude to realizing broader rewards in media poetry of all forms. Poetry video is the public's first step beyond. Even in its most essential form, it demolishes the old assumption that page and poem are one. We now know poetry is where you find it, in the expressions the world offers. We construct, save, and transmit these experiences for the future. Images and sounds now operate as words where we had no previous literature because the symbols of our poetry were confined to paper in the reader's hands. So we have not the end of a literacy, but the construction of a new one: visible, audible, temporal, conscious, tactile, bonding author and reader by their gaze."

- Kurt Heintz, Director of Chicago's Guild Complex Poetry Film festival and founder of the e-poet's network.

"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet. Distributors, naturally, are all of the opinion that poets do not sell seats. They do not discern whence comes the very language of the cinema. Without poets, the vocabulary of the film would be far too limited ever to make a true appeal to the public. The equivalent of a babble of infants would not sell many seats. If the cinema had never been fashioned by poetry, it would have remained no more than a mechanical curiosity, occasionally on view like a stuffed whale."

- Orson Welles, from "Ribbon of Dreams"

Vision Statement:

Visual artist Mary Russell and author Gerard Wozek have collaborated to create "Mercury in Motion," an ongoing project that unites visual art and filmmaking with written and spoken text. Both visual and literary art carry spiritual, political, and sociological messages. Like history, art is a record of humanity and can hold testament to our spirits and our fragile personas at any particular point in time. Visual poetry is a physical manifestation of what it means to be a human being engaged in seeking community and interfacing with nature. A poetry video is an illuminated electronic manuscript that records the voice, the spirit, and vision of the poet, and frames this technological intersection between visual art and literature. The core vision expressed through the "Mercury in Motion" project forwards a tradition that began with Thoureau and Whitman and is extended through the illustrated/illuminated journaling of travelers and naturalists. It reveals one's relationship to the earth and a personal self-discovery through extended time in nature. The filmic work of Mary Russell combined with Gerard Wozek's poetry offers a portraiture of loss, recovery, and ultimately, renewal. Divining inspiration from life's journeys: the seasons, memory, the nuances of love and faith, the project's videography points towards the longing for redemption and a reclaiming of the fragmented aspects of one's perceived self. The Mercury in Motion project addresses the idea of passage and the metaphysical interpretation and expression of spirit through the natural world. As Walt Whitman says, "Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." Poetry video, in its attempts to marry word with image, seeks an alchemy of the two mediums in order to create a leap into an otherness, a reckoning with something that begs for fuller recognition. The visual collaging and mirror-imaging of words and sounds are mediations on what can and cannot be said. If there is a message to be found in the work of Russell and Wozek, it is a clarion call towards a more heightened awareness through nature. It is an invitation for all of us to be active participants in the world and to embrace the mysteries of life and to reach out to one another with sincere compassion and trust.

Featured Artists within the "Mercury in Motion" project:
Mary Russell is a Chicago based artist. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and she is presently a full-time instructor at Robert Morris University Illinois. For the past decade she has been collaborating with poet Gerard Wozek on videopoems which have screened at numerous conferences in the United States and at festivals abroad including the Sadho Poetry Film Festival in New Dehli, India, the 2003 papertigermedia poetry launch in Brisbane, Australia, and the Zebra Poetry Video Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. Along with Wozek, she has co-facilitated workshops on the evolving genre of poetry video as well on the art of nature journaling. She continues to shoot, edit, and direct poetry videos and short films and develop college curriculum in the genre of digital cinema. Her residency with film director Peter Greenaway at the Swansea Institute in Wales, led her to document and create a short biographical sketch on Greenaway that premiered in Poitiers, France in 2007.

Gerard Wozek's first book of poetry, "Dervish" won the Gival Press Poetry Award. His work has been widely published in journals and anthologies and translated into two verse stage productions produced through Lionheart Theatre in Chicago. With artist Mary Russell, he has produced award-winning videopoems including "A Bird in Hand: Thirteen Postcards from Paris" which won the 2002 Vision Award for Best Direction at The Edgewise Poetry Video Festival in Vancouver, B.C., and "Dance of the Electric Moccasins" which took first place honors at the Potenza Film Festival in Italy in 2005. He received his M.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from DePaul University and teaches creative writing and the humanities full-time at Robert Morris University Illinois. His most recent book of short fiction and travel tales, "Postcards from Heartthrob Town," (Haworth Press, 2007) has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.

D. Edward Davis is a composer and sound artist contributing his talent in various mediums. He is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he studied composition with Amnon Wolman and Jay Alan Yim. Working primarily in the field of electronic/electro-acoustic music, his work has been presented at numerous festivals, namely the 2002 Internationale Ferienkurse/ Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany, and has been honored by Ragdale, an artist's colony in Lake Forest, IL, where Davis began a residency in February 2004. Davis's music has been presented throughout the United States, as well as Finland, Germany and Mexico, and has been performed by the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble and International Contemporary Ensemble. Davis holds a Masters Degree in Composition Theory from Brooklyn College in New York City.

Rob Kurland graduated from the Film Department at Columbia College in Chicago. He co-edited the poetry video project, Book of Green and Apocrypha which debuted at the 2010 Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver, B.C. Rob continues to edit film projects and is currently working on the latest video poetry project on Elizabeth Barrett Browning. His Vimeo site can be located here: http://vimeo.com/robkurland

Joel Bratton graduated from Robert Morris University Illinois with a degree in Media Arts. An accomplished videographer and editor for several poetry video projects, including "A Bird in Hand" and "When Verdi Sings," he was also a project manager for "The Chicago Haiku Video Project" and "Metro Haiku." His visual work, often ribald and irreverent, challenges the viewer to rethink their position as observers and active participants in the world.

Rob Kosin teaches video production at Robert Morris University in Chicago. An avid traveler, he assists the Mercury in Motion project with expert editing, sound, and post-production.

Guest artists include: Fergal Furlong, Doug Huston, Mike Kelly, Zack Stadel, and Jonathan D. Synowiec.

Screenings/Exhibits:
*Third Sadho Poetry Film Festival, 2011, in New Dehli, India, jury selected.
*University Film and Video Association 2011 Conference at Emerson College, Boston, MA
*Visible Verse 2010, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque
in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
*Movieola: The Short Film Channel, 2010, Public Broadcasting Network for short films in Canada.
*Second Sadho Poetry Film Festival 2009/2010, in New Dehli, India, jury selected.
*Visible Verse 2009, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque
in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
*A Tandem Sampler 2009 in Chicago, IL, curated by Nina Corwin
*Athens Video Art Festival 2009 in Athens, Greece.
*"Les Instants Video" 2008 Festival in Marseille, France.
*Third Annual International Festival of Video Poetry/Video Bardo at Buenos Aires, Argentina, jury selected
*Visible Verse 2008, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque
in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
*greenfestival 2008 at the Chicago Navy Pier, featured artist showcase: screening and question
and answer session.
*City of Chicago 2008 Poetry Festival at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, IL, featured artist
showcase: lecture and screening.
*Sadho Poetry Film Festival 2007-2008 in New Dehli, India, jury selected.
*Carisma Gallery in Buford, Georgia, as part of the "MacKay Patchwork" 2007 Gallery Art Show featuring the work of Doug, Jim, and Alan Huston.
*City of Chicago 2007 Poetry Festival at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, IL, featured artist
showcase: lecture and screening.
*Second Annual International Festival of Video Poetry/Video Bardo at Buenos Aires, Argentina, jury selected.
*"Les Instants Video" 2006 Festival in Aix en Provence, France.
*aluCine 2006 Columbia Media Festival in Bogota, Cali and Medellin, curated by Javier Robledo for Video Bardo.
*Third Annual Zebra Poetry Film Festival 2006 in Berlin, Germany, as part of the Video Bardo Showcase Reel, curated by Javier Robledo and the 2006 Festival Committee.
*Robert Morris College Chicago State Street Art Gallery, Institutional Art Show 2006
*aluCine 2006 Toronto Media Festival at the National Film Board of Canada in Toronto,
curated by Javier Robledo at Video Bardo.
*"Poetikas" Poetry Festival 2006 in Barcelona, Spain, curated by Matias Rossi
*"Panoramica" Exhibit at the Ruffino Tamayo Museum of Mexico City, curated by Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy for the Video Dumbo Festival.
*The National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference 2006 in Boston, MA, screening, curated by
Karen van Meenen for the "Emerging Filmmakers" Series.
*The &Now Literary Festival at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, guest presenter
with Mary Russell and Kurt Heintz.
*Potenza Film Festival 2005: Short Films and Other Stories International Video Poetry Competition;
juried from nearly 1000 entries represented from 30 countries.
*Encyclopedia Britannica Visiting Artist Showcase, with Mary Russell, Kurt Heintz,
and Quraysh Ali Lansana, Chicago, IL.
*Visible Verse 2005, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque
in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
*Artist Showcase, curated by Anne Price-Owen at the Swansea Institute of Higher Education in Wales.
*Kehler Liddell Gallery, Video Screening, curated by Mark Saba in New Haven, CT.
*Video Dumbo Festival, curated by Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy,
at the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center, Brooklyn, New York
*National Festival of Poetry 2005 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, represented by Javier Robledo
of Video Bardo Poetry Video.
*"selections from video: series" curated by Madeleine Gallagher and Bettina Johae
at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, sponsored by the Massachusetts Art Film Society.
*"Illume: An Alchemy of Text and Image" curated by Mary Russell and Gerard Wozek
at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL
*"video: series" curated by Madeleine Gallagher and Bettina Johae at Goliath Visual Space
in Brooklyn, New York
*"Merging Word and Image: Hybridity and Reimagining (New) Literacy through Media,"
the 15th Annual Mardi Gras Conference at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
*International Festival on Poetry Video/Video Bardo, curated by Javier Robledo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
*The Edgewise Poetry Video Festival, Jury curated, Vancouver, B.C.
*Zebra Poetry Video Film Festival, Jury curated, Berlin, Germany
*papertigermedia issue #3 launch, curated by Paul Hardacre and Marissa Newell,
at the Judith Wright Center
for Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia
*Electroacoustic Music Festival, Brooklyn College, New York City, Jury curated
*"Urban Intimacies," curated by Charles Billard, at the School of Decorative Arts at the Maison d l'Image, Strasbourg, France
*"Cine-Nites" Short Film Competition, Jury curated, Los Angeles, CA
*Taos New Mexico Poetry Circus Video Festival, curated by Jill Battson in Taos, New Mexico
*National Poetry Association's Cine(E) Poetry Festival, curated by George Aguilar, in San Francisco, CA
*National Poetry for Poetry Therapy Annual Conference, curated by Karen van Meenen,
in Washington, D.C.,(2001) and Albuquerque, New Mexico (2000)
*Planet Out, Popcorn Q Cinema Showcase, www.planetout.com
*Centrum Annual Writer's Conference, Seattle and Port Townsend, WA
*North American Haiku Conference, curated by Raffael de Gruttola, in Boston, MA
*Northwestern University at the Regenstein Recital Hall, Evanston, IL
*Gallery 37 Randolph Exhibit Hall, Chicago, IL
*Gallery 37 Project Outcome Exhibit, The Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, Chicago, IL
*Hothouse Gallery, Chicago, IL
*The Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL
*Geoconference 2, curated by Kurt Heintz, at Center Portion Art Gallery, Chicago, IL
*Robert Morris University Illinois Chicago Campus Auditorium, Chicago, IL
*Street Level Art Gallery, Jury curated shows, Highwood, Illinois
*The American Center for Design, Chicago, IL
*Focus on the Arts, Highland Park, IL
*City of Chicago Poetry Festival at the Harold Washington, Library, Chicago, IL
Videography:
Not Death But Love: Tracing the Heart of Elizabeth Barrett Browning The video examines a pilgrimage to Casa Guidi in Florence, Italy and examines the relationship between Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her poetry. The video will make its debut at the 2013 Visible Verse Poetry Video Festival, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque in Vancouver, B.C., Canada held October 10th, 2013.

Apocrypha (2010) The video premiered at the 2010 Visible Verse Poetry Video Festival, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, held on November 19th, 2010. The film was selected for the University Film and Video Association 2011 Conference at Emerson College in Boston for an August 3, 2011 screening. The film was juried into the Third Annual Sadho Poetry Film Festival in New Dehli, India on November 11th, 2011.

Harmonics of Trees (2009) The video premiered at the 2009 Visible Verse Poetry Video Festival, curated by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, held on November 14th, 2009.

The Book of Green (2008) The video premiered at the 2008 Chicago Poetry Festival held at the Harold Washington Library on April 26th, 2008. In addition, the short was screened on May 18th, 2008 at the greenfestival 2008 cinema showcase at Chicago's Navy Pier. The screening included a question and answer with Wozek and Russell along with student collaborators from Robert Morris University's Institute of Art and Design and the RMU Honors Program. The event ended with a brief writing workshop and sharing session. 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 and was also screened in Marseille, France at the "Les Instants Video Numeriques et Poetiques Festival" on November 26th, 2008 as part of Video Bardo's traveling poetry video reel. Juried into the Athens Video Art Festival in Athens, Greece on May 14th, 2009. Included in "A Tandem Sampler" curated by Nina Corwin at "the Rec Room" Black Rock Bar in Chicago, IL, October 14th, 2009. Juried into the 2nd Sadho Poetry Film Festival held December 26th/27th 2010 in New Dehli, India. Broadcast on Movieola: The Short Film Channel, 2010, Public Broadcasting Network for short films in Canada.

Dance of the Electric Moccasins (2005) Presented on papertigermedia: new world poetry Cd-Rom anthology #5/6 2006. Premiered at "Illume: An Alchemy of Text and Image," at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, September, 17th, 2005. Screened at the National Festival of Poetry at Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 3, 2005 via Javier Robledo and Video Bardo. Curated into "Visible Verse 2005" by Heather Haley at the Pacific Cinemateque in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, November 11th, 2005. Screened at the Kehler Liddell Art Gallery, November, 11th, 2005, curated by Mark Saba in New Haven, CT. Screened at the Swansea Institute of Higher Education on November 18th, 2005. Screened at the Encyclopedia Britannica Visiting Artist Showcase in Chicago, IL on December 9th, 2005. Juried into the Potenza Film Festival 2005: Short Films and Other Stories held on December 13th, 2005 in Italy, distinguished with the Potenza Film Festival 2005 First Place Video Poetry Award. Screened at the &Now Literary Conference at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, April 5, 2006. Screened at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference 2006 in Boston, MA from April 19-23rd. Screened at the "Poetikas" Poetry Festival in Barcelona Spain, from May 15-18th, 2006. Screened at the Robert Morris University Illinois Institutional Art Show at the State Street Gallery in Chicago, September 8, 2006. Screening at the Third Annual Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, October 14th, 2006, as part of Video Bardo's Showcase Reel. Screening at "Le Instants Video" Festival at the School of Art in Aix en Provence, France on November 18th, 2006 as part of Video Bardo. Featured at the Second Annual Video Bardo Festival of Video Poetry in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 27th, 2006. Featured at the 2007 City of Chicago Poetry Festival on April 28th, 2007 at the Harold Washington Library. Screened as part of the "MacKay Patchwork" Art Show at Carisma Gallery in Buford, Georgia, 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. Included in "A Tandem Sampler" curated by Nina Corwin at "the Rec Room" Black Rock Bar in Chicago, IL, October 14th, 2009. Broadcast on Movieola: The Short Film Channel, 2010, Public Broadcasting Network for short films in Canada. Screened at California State University in Fullerton, CA on March 2, 2013 as part of the World Electroacoustic Listening Room Project at the 12th Annual CSUF New Music Festival: Voice in the 21st Century.

The Rosary Walk (2005) Poetry video featuring evocative images and editing by Jonathan D. Synowiec, text by Gerard Wozek, and original soundscape by D. Edward Davis. Mary Russell takes lead as project manager, editing mentor, and supervisor. Showcased as a work-in-progress at "Illume: An Alchemy of Text and Image," at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, September, 17th, 2005.

Urban Sanctuary Video Project (2005) A collaborative artist project with Mary Russell and Gerard Wozek leading a class of Art and Design students through the Shared Excellence Program at Robert Morris University Illinois. Workshop results feature original student-created poetry videos centered on re-imagining and revealing "safe places" through word and image within the city of Chicago. Final outcomes screened at the RMC Auditorium on September 19th, 2005. Screened at the Opening Ceremony of the Robert Morris University Illinois Student Center on February 4, 2006. Read an archived feature article written for the RMC Eagle newspaper.

When Verdi Sings (2003) Premiered at Street Level Gallery in Highwood, IL. June 21, 2003 and was replayed on August 5, 2005 at the gallery's "Three Squared" exhibit. Featured at Robert Morris University Chicago Auditorium as part of D. Edward Davis' Lecture and Exhibit, October 31, 2003. Selected for screening at the 12th Annual Electroacoustic Music Festival directed by George Brunner at Brooklyn College in New York City, November 11, 2004. Curated into the "video: series" by Madeleine Gallagher and Bettina Johae at Goliath Visual Space in Brooklyn, New York from July 16th through August 7th, 2005. Selected for the Video Dumbo Festival curated by Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy at the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center in Brooklyn, New York, October, 14th, 2005. Featured at "selections from video: series" curated by Madeleine Gallagher and Bettina Johae at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, sponsored by the Massachusetts Art Film Society. Screened at the Swansea Institute of Higher Education on November 18th, 2005. Screened at the Encyclopedia Britannica Visiting Artist Showcase in Chicago, IL on December 9th, 2005. Included in the Panoramica Exhibit at the Ruffino Tamayo Museum of Mexico City, curated by Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy for the Video Dumbo Festival, May 2-3, 2006.

A Bird in Hand: 13 Postcards from Paris (2002) Premiered at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL at the Regenstein Recital Hall, February 22, 2002, featured at Street Level Gallery in Highwood, IL, June 21, 2002. Juried into the Zebra Poetry Video Film Festival held in Berlin, Germany, July 5, 2002. Won "The Vision Award for Best Direction in a Videopoem" at Edgewise Poetry Video Festival in Vancouver, B.C., November 2002. Screened at the Judith Wright Center for Contemporary Art in Brisbane, Australia as part of the launch of the Cd-Rom anthology "papertigermedia #3" which features the videopoem "A Bird in Hand." Screened at the 19th Biannual "Focus on the Arts" Festival in April 2003 at Highland Park High School.

Elemental Reels (2001) Premiered at the Taos New Mexico Poetry Festival, June 2001. Featured at Edgewise Poetry Video Festival in Vancouver, B.C., November 2001 where it won "Best Innovative Video 2001". Selected as an entry into GeoConference 2 held at Center Portion Gallery in Chicago, August 2001. Screened at the Zebra Poetry Video Film Festival held in Berlin, Germany, July 5, 2002. Recently online at Planet Out's Popcorn Q cinema. Selected for inclusion in Heather Haley's traveling videopoem reel entitled "Visible Verse" featuring entries from Canada's Edgewise Poetry Video Festival. Juried into the International Festival on Poetry Video presented by Javier Robledo and Video Bardo in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 28th, 2004, Screened at "Merging Word and Image: Hybridity and Reimagining (New) Literacy through Media" at the 15th Annual Mardi Gras Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 4, 2005. Curated and screened through Javier Robledo and Video Bardo in Toronto as part of the aluCine Latin Media Festival at the National Board of Film Center in Toronto, Canada, June 5, 2006. Screening at aluCine Media Festival in Bogota, Cali, and Medellin, Columbia in October-November 2006.

Innerscape 21 (2001) Premiered at Jones Magnet High School on April 6, 2001. Showcased at the Guild Complex Robert Morris College Performance Night at The Chopin Theatre, April 17, 2001. Featured at the North American Haiku Conference in Boston, June 2001. Screened at the City of Chicago Poetry Festival at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, April 2002.

Metro Haiku (2001) Premiered at the Gallery 37 Randolph Exhibit Hall as part of the 2000-2001 Gallery 37 faculty show, February-March 2001. Showcased at Geoconference 2 in Chicago, August 2001. Featured at Hothouse Gallery and Lounge, April-May 2001, and juried into the "Urban Intimacies" Exhibition, curated by Charles Billard at Maison de l'Image in Strasbourg, France, June 2001. Included in the North American Haiku Conference curated by Raffael de Gruttola in Boston, June 2001. Screened at the City of Chicago Poetry Festival at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, April 2002.

The Chicago Haiku Video Project (2000) Premiered at the Grand Ballroom Exhibit Hall at Chicago's Navy Pier as part of Gallery 37's Project Outcome Show, December 2000. Showcased at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C. May 2001, curated by Karen van Meenan. Screened at the City of Chicago Poetry Festival at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, April 2002. Screened at "Merging Word and Image: Hybridity and Reimagining (New) Literacy through Media" at the 15th Annual Mardi Gras Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 4, 2005.

I Call the Moon My Mother (2000) Premiered at the National Poetry Association's 25th Annual Cin(E) Poetry Festival in San Francisco, CA, October 2000, screened at the Edgewise Vancouver VideoPoem Festival in Vancouver, B.C., November 2000, and was juried into "Cine-Nites" Short Film Competition in Los Angeles, CA, February, 2001.

Lost Saints/Spirit of Place: Belmont Rocks (2000) Screened as the opening piece at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Annual Conference May 2000, Albuquerque, NM, curated by Karen van Meenan; and at the San Francisco Poetry Festival, curated by George Aguilar, November 1998, San Francisco, CA. Screened as part of an informal workshop on merging text with digital video at the Centrum Writer's Festival in Port Townsend, WA, July 1998, 1999, and 2000.

In the Spirit: Retablos (1998) Word and Image Collaboration: Poetry with image transfer on sheet metal/non-video. Images by Mary Russell. Exhibited at Casa Loca, September 1998, Chicago, IL.

Spirit of Place: Belmont Rocks (1997) Juried into the Sixth Annual Poetry Video Festival held at The Chopin Theatre, March 1997, Chicago, IL.

Lost Saints (1996) Word and Image Installation: Poetry video ensconced in a "temple" of white fabric, featuring paintings by Mary Russell. Exhibited at The American Center for Design, May 1996, Chicago, IL.

Selected Video Descriptions:
Apocrypha (2010) What secretive inspirations nurture one's ability to draw, sketch or write? The word "apocrypha" comes from the Greek language meaning "those having been hidden away" and this video hints at some of the esoteric mystery that is involved in the creative process-in particular, the translation of images of nature into works of art.

Harmonics of Trees (2009) is a swirling hike through nature to divine the inspiration between the artist and the art form. Under the direction of Mary Russell, student apprentice Xhengis Aliu's images of trees couple with a spoken word text by Gerard Wozek, Russell's drawings and an original composition developed by D. Edward Davis.

The Book of Green (2008) entices viewers to develop a closer relationship with the forces of nature as it uncovers various elements involved in the process of nature journaling. The Book of Green is an ongoing collaborative project meant to connect 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.

Dance of the Electric Moccasins (2005) A guided tour through a shaman's visionquest. The edges of a lost prairie blur into a vast and untamed landscape where mundane reality folds into itself and the narrator's dream comes alive. Utilizing an original composition created by D. Edward Davis, "Dance of the Electric Moccasins" is an invitation to cross over into "another version of time." See a still image from the video here.

The Rosary Walk (2005) Taking its cue from traditional, devotional "Rosary Walks" conducted by Catholic priests in graveyards in New Orleans, the viewer is guided through a meditation on unfulfilled childhood hopes, finality, and transcendence. Under the direction of Mary Russell, Jonathan D. Synowiec's haunting images and editing meld with D. Edward Davis' mind-bending soundscape and Wozek's spoken word to create an unsteady journey through a heart murmor.

When Verdi Sings (2003) Abstractions and visionary hallucinations. Do you ever wonder what a caged bird sees? Enter the world of "Verdi," a captive and captivating canary who envisions the world around him as a series of nearly indecipherable and mysterious dreamscapes. Incorporating a highly original soundscape conceived by D. Edward Davis, and mixing haiku by Gerard Wozek with Mary Russell's captured imagery, "When Verdi Sings" is a compelling and unique alternative film experience.

A Bird In Hand: Thirteen Postcards from Paris (2002) A young poet moves to Paris, France in order to fulfill a lifelong wish. The protagonist's journey is revealed through a series of poems written on postcards sent back to his studio apartment in the fifteenth arrondisement. Subtly erotic, this writer's trek through Paris dissolves into a dizzy dash through tea salons, back alleys, cemeteries and saunas. The poetry video combines an original score composed by D. Edward Davis, with spoken word and original images, featuring Joel Bratton as the poet.

Elemental Reels (2001) "Elemental Reels" is a journey and exploration of five natural essences: earth, water, air, fire, and light. This award-winning six-minute short takes the viewer on an ethereal excursion through life, death, and finally, rebirth. The travelogue begins in the realm of air and takes the participant through various "elemental states" until it culminates with a meditation on "ether." The piece employs digital video and digital editing to produce a layered collage effect which provides a hypnotic experience for the viewer. The collaborative alchemy centers around a call and response between word and image, visual artist and poet. See Tobias C. Van Veen's published article from "Discorder" magazine in his Panarticon .pdf file archives from January-December 2001. See a still image from the video here.

Metro Haiku (2001) "Metro Haiku" blends the traditional Japanese poetic form with a minimalist's vision of urban life. The video produces a kind of dissonance between a poet's more traditional view of nature, and the gritty milieu of city rhythms. The speaker's attempts to rejoin with the natural world are juxtaposed against a backdrop of fragmented alienation. The video manipulates time, re-renders it, in order for the viewer to reflect on the spoken words and become more conscious of the rift that exists between the natural world and the artificiality of the city; the inner voice ensconced amid the debris of everyday life. The haikus are meant to carve a window into city time, an opening that might allow the viewer to "re-see" the video frames. Ultimately, "Metro Haiku" is a device for slowing down the frenetic pace of contemporary existence.

I Call the Moon My Mother (2000) This poetry video is an invocation to the sacred powers inherent in the moon. The piece was written as a meditation on "la luna" as an icon and celebrates those ancient mysteries and myths that revolve around this planetary orb. The viewer is invited to connect with the moon as a universal symbol of the goddess and of motherhood. The video is a collaboration between live video, composited images, animated graphics and selected music to create the alchemical result: a sculpted timepiece. There is a great feature article on the making of "I Call the Moon My Mother" and the genre of poetry video, posted on Heather Haley's personal website, located in her "Press Room."

Spirit of Place (1996) The significance of one's physical proximity is examined in the video "Spirit of Place" where an homage to Chicago's lakefront attraction known as the "Belmont Rocks" is offered up though a narrative of personal recollections.

Lost Saints (1995) An excerpt from a series of nine poems referencing the Catholic Novena and building upon a more direct interface with spirit. The prayers suggest a loss of faith and ultimately a reclamation of trust in one's own "inner knowing." These poems were inspired by a series of bird icons painted by Mary Russell.

Exhibit History:
Artist and filmmaker Mary Russell and poet Gerard Wozek, both full-time professors at Robert Morris University Illinois, have been collaborating with word and image since 1996. Their combined vision has alchemized into original poetry videos that have been viewed both nationally and internationally. Their first project, "Lost Saints" was set up as an art installation through a Robert Morris University faculty show, held at the American Center for Design in Chicago in 1996. Mary Russell's mythological-infused paintings were shot onto video then woven together with Wozek's spoken word. The images were projected on the interior walls of a small "temple" made from stretched muslin.

The following year, their videopoem, "Spirit of Place: Belmont Rocks," a short film featuring Wozek's memoir writing and Russell's video footage, was screened at the Sixth Annual Poetry Video Festival at the Guild Complex in Chicago and won the coveted People's Choice Award.

Since that premiere, their videos have been screened regularly at poetry video festivals around the globe, including, the Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, the International Festival on Poetry Video/VideoBardo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Potenza Film Festival in Italy, the Edgewise Poetry Video Festival in Vancouver, Canada, the University Film and Video Association Conference in Boston, the papertigermedia Launch in Brisbane, Australia, the National Poetry Association's Cine(E) Poetry Festival in San Francisco, the Centrum Writer's Conference in Seattle, Washington, the Chicago Green Festival, the Chicago Poetry Festival, "Les Instants Video Numeriques et Poetiques Festival" in Marseilles, France, and at the National Association for Poetry Therapy's Annual Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts.

Detailed History of Wozek and Russell's Collaboration with Word and Image:

In September 2000, Mary Russell and Gerard Wozek were awarded a $40,000 Mentor's Award through Gallery 37, a Chicago arts forum developed by Maggie Daley to promote the arts through the involvement of local high school students. Together, the two artists created a course curriculum focused on writing, shooting, and editing a series of short, urban-centered poetry videos. Sixteen teens from Jones Magnet High School in Chicago apprenticed with Russell and Wozek in the initial ten-week workshop and learned various disciplines in the genre of poetry video in order to produce "The Chicago Haiku Video Project." This video compilation of short, youth-driven haikus was completed and made its debut at the Grand Ballroom at Chicago's Navy Pier. The film, which showcases filmed images and poetry created by student apprentices, is currently part of the city of Chicago's high school Honors English curriculum. It has been instrumental in helping to teach the art of Japanese haiku as well as to promote and inspire more students in the art and creation of poetry video.

The collaborators' original video, "I Call the Moon My Mother" had its premiere at the 25th Annual Cinema Arts or Cine(E) Poetry Festival in San Francisco. The poetry and media showcase, sponsored by the National Association for Poetry, has garnered a sterling reputation for showcasing advanced works of word and image collaborations from around the world. In addition to the screening in California, the duo's short film was juried into the Edgewise Poetry Video Festival in Canada and showcased in November of 2000. Later, in February of 2001, "I Call the Moon My Mother" screened in Los Angeles, California as part of the "Cine-Nites" Short Film Festival.

"Metro Haiku" which features Wozek's vision to work within the parameters of the traditional Japanese form, unites the poet's remote meditation on nature with images of downtown Chicago. Stark urban images were captured and edited together by Russell and videographer Joel Bratton. The short film, a collage of city snapshots, coupled with brief, imagistic spoken epiphanies, premiered in 2001 at Gallery 37's Randolph Street Exhibit Hall and at "The Hothouse," a popular Chicago gallery and performance lounge. The piece went on to play in Maison de l'Image in Strasbourg, France as part of the "Urban Intimacies" cinema exhibit curated by Canadian visual artist Charles-Eric Billard.

"Elemental Reels," is a collaboration with Russell's evocative images of nature, Wozek's poetry, and animation by Mike Kelly, a technician who also worked on "I Call the Moon My Mother." "Elemental Reels" was inspired by the innate essences found within nature's own elements: water, earth, fire, air and a fifth element, light or spirit. The film took top honors at the 2001 Edgewise Poetry Video Festival held annually in Vancouver. The short most recently played as part of the aluCine Toronto Latin Media Festival at the Film Board of Canada in Toronto as part of Video Bardo's international program in June, 2006 as well as at the aluCine Columbia Festival in Bogota, Cali, and Medellin. Click here to view a still image of the video "Elemental Reels." The video, "A Bird in Hand: Thirteen Postcards from Paris," a selection of diary entries Wozek kept while living abroad, won the "Vision Award for Best Direction" at the Edgewise Poetry Video Festival in 2002. The short was the basis for Wozek's short story, "Journee of My Hands" which was anthologized in Mitzi Szereto's "Erotic Travel Tales" series.

Russell and Wozek continue to develop the public's understanding and appreciation of the genre. In 2001, Russell and Wozek were guest speakers at Geoconference 2, an exhibit of poetry media curated by Kurt Heintz, an innovator in the field of electronic poetry media. In addition, they were featured panelists and exhibitors at the City of Chicago's Annual Poetry Festival held at Harold Washington Library in the Spring of 2002. Russell and Wozek co-presented an academic paper on "Poetry Video as a Pedagogical Tool" at "Merging Word and Image: Hybridity and Reimagining (New) Literacy through Media" at the 15th Annual 2005 Mardi Gras Conference held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The Mercury in Motion Project seeks to innovate within the poetry video genre, resulting in the incorporation of Wozek's original haiku into an abstract narrative entitled "When Verdi Sings," which utilizes dissolving images shot by Russell against a soundtrack composed by D. Edward Davis, a sound artist who also created the score for "A Bird in Hand." "Verdi" recently screened at the Electroacoustic Music Festival held at Brooklyn College and was curated into the "NYC Video: Series," a group exhibition of video works by sixty-two artists, held during the summer months of 2005 at the Goliath Visual Space in Brooklyn, New York. In the spring of 2006, the Ruffino Tamayo Museum of Mexico City, hosted "Verdi" as part of an extension of the Video Dumbo Festival curated by Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy and included in the Museum's "Panoramica" Exhibit.

In addition, Russell and Wozek team taught a poetry video class at Robert Morris University in Chicago and unveiled the Urban Video Sanctuary Project. The objectives of this intensive ten-week summer workshop held during the summer quarter of 2005, were to produce short, one to three minute videos which reveal through word and image, where exactly, within the boundaries of the city of Chicago, are the apprentices able to locate a sense of themselves through an interface with both urban culture and nature? Students learned both camera shooting and digital editing techniques through Russell and Wozek assisted participants in developing poems which reflected emotional content regarding individual "city sanctums."

A number of Wozek's narratives that have been featured in the Mercury in Motion poetry videos were selected for publication by the editorial board at Vermont-based e-book publisher Pulpbits and are now available as an electronic book entitled "Reunion and other Spoken Word Poems" that can be downloaded as a .pdf file through this website. Spoken word soundtracks from the poetry videos, "The Spirit Compass" and "The Rosary Walk" can be heard on the web at C/NET and downloaded online for free.

Wozek and Russell's short film, "Dance of the Electric Moccasins," a journey enhanced with Davis' original soundscape, takes the viewer on a shaman's visionquest. The ten-minute feature had its premiere at "Illume: An Alchemy of Text and Image," a curatorial project initiated by Russell and Wozek, held at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago on September 17th, 2005 and featuring works by Heather Haley, Kurt Heintz, Paul Hettel and Mark Saba. The video was featured at the 2005 National Festival of Poetry in Buenos Aires and showcased in November 2005 at "Visible Verse" in Vancouver, Canada. "Dance" was also selected out of nearly one thousand entries from thirty countries to compete at the prestigious Potenza Film Festival: Short Films and Other Stories, in the category of International Video Poetry. In December 2005, the video was named the First Place Winner of the Potenza Film Festival Video Poetry Award and won a prize of 2000 Euro. In addition, the video is featured on papertigermedia's Cd-Rom anthology: new world poetry #5/6 in 2006. View a still image from the video here.

In April of 2006, Wozek and Russell were featured guest artists at the & Now Literary Festival: A Festival of Innovative Writing and Art held at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. Along with fellow panelist Kurt Heintz, a history and evolution of poetry video was examined coupled with a broad selection of the duo's poetry videos which were screened and discussed in this academic forum under the heading, "Poetry Video as an Emerging Genre." At the end of April, "Dance of the Electric Moccasins" was featured as part of Karen van Meenen's "Emerging Filmmakers" Series at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference 2006 hosted in Boston. In May, the video was featured at the "Poetikas" Poetry Festival in Barcelona, curated by Matias Rossi. Video Bardo featured "Dance" as part of their poetry video showcase reel at the Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, Germany in October, 2006, as well as the Video Bardo Second Annual Festival of Video Poetry held in November, 2006 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "Dance" also screened in November, 2006 at the "Le Instants Video" Festival at Les Ecoles d'Art in Aix en Provence, France.

Wozek and Russell were featured at the 2007 City of Chicago Poetry Festival held at the Harold Washington Library downtown on Saturday, April 28th, 2007. They discussed their latest work and screened "Dance of the Electric Moccasins." This video was later juried into the Sadho Poetry Film Festival in New Dehli, India held at the ML Bhartia Auditorium on October 13th-14th, 2007. You can read an academic paper written by Wozek and Russell on the philosophy and craft of poetry video here. The paper was selected by the Robert Morris University Teaching Fellows Program and published in the "Learning Curve" journal.

Wozek and Russell were guest artists at the 2008 City of Chicago Poetry Festival, held at the Harold Washington Library downtown on Saturday, April 26th, 2008. They premiered their new poetry video feature, "The Book of Green" showcased a selection of curated poetry videos from Robert Morris University students focusing on the theme of nature. On May 18th, 2008, "The Book of Green" was featured at the 2008 "greenfestival" at Chicago's Navy Pier. Wozek and Russell conducted a writing workshop and were joined with students from Robert Morris University Illinois Institute of Art and Design and students from the Robert Morris College Honors Program for a question and answer on nature journaling and poetry video. 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.

"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 and was also screened in Marseille, France at the "Les Instants Video Numeriques et Poetiques Festival" on November 26th, 2008 as part of Video Bardo's traveling poetry video reel. You can read an archived copy of the RMU Eagle Newspaper article on recent efforts to "greenmap" the Naperville Riverwalk here.

"The Book of Green" and "Dance of the Electric Moccasins" are currently represented and distributed by OUAT MEDIA in Toronto, Canada.

Wozek and Russell along with student video apprentice Xhengis Aliu, completed "Harmonics of Trees" which examines the power of nature. The video premiered at the 2009 Visible Verse Poetry Video Festival in Vancouver, B.C. on November, 16th, 2009.

Throughout 2010, both "The Book of Green" and Dance of the Electric Moccasins" were featured on Movieola: The Short Film Channel. In the fall of 2010, a new poetry video, "Apocrypha," made its debut at the 2010 Visible Verse Poetry Video Festival in Vancouver, B.C. on November 19th, 2010.

In 2011, "Apocrypha" was juried into the University Film and Video Association's 2011 Conference held at Emerson College in Boston. The screening was held on August 3, 2011. UFVA respondent, Jeremy Newman says of the film: "Russell skillfully pairs her intricate nature drawings and Gerard Wozek's poetic meditation on the natural world. Her visuals are fleeting and his spoken words linger creating a hypnotic sensory experience. As a result, the audiovisual text is complex and commands the viewer's attention." "Apocrypha" is currently online at Dave Bonta's "Moving Poems" website.

The latest video project, "Not Death But Love: Tracing the Heart of Elizabeth Barrett Browning" examines a pilgrimage made by Russell and Wozek in the summer of 2011 to Casa Guidi in Florence, Italy. The film examines the life and influence of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The video was selected for and will make its debut at the 2013 Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver.

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