Yesterday, I made a start at actually trying to write something, a poem drawn from a photographic slideshow exhibited by James Dodd.  There are three screens in the room, but my poor stamina means I only managed one and a half.  The first screen displays black and white images selected from a much wider range of photographs sent to James by numerous photographers.  The order of the slideshow was put together by James to create a sense of narrative, although that narrative is more modernist than Hollywood!

I was a bit unsure of how to get started; should I just start making notes, or should I sit and absorb the thing first.  Of course, while I pondered this, I was looking at the screen, and so that was that decision made.  I started at a random point and got on with it.  What came out isn’t really a representation of what is on offer by looking at the slideshow, it is more a representation of what my eye selected to see in the moments of looking at the screen before looking at the page.  Sometimes images ran into one, other times only fragments of an image could be caught and recorded in what ever sense I took from it.  For example, some dead pigs hanging from hooks, I assume, bled into an image of the ocean; an eccentric-looking Einstien figure shot in hard light could only be described as ghost-like, not a very original thought for me to have, but the only one I could articulate before the image was gone.

On the page, I’ve tried to recreate the sense of movement between images.  No idea if this has worked, or if it looks like gimmickry, but I quite like it.  Each image is positioned to reflect its relationship to the images that precede and succeed it.  Whether this comes through for the reader or not will be interesting.

Overall, I’ve swayed between thinking this is utter rubbish, not a poem, not new, just description splashed around the page to hide its failure – and actually, it’s not just description of an art object, it’s description of my experience of the art object, and so would be an entirely different poem if I were to repeat the process, as my timing will inevitably pick out images I missed the first time, and a number of things intrinsic to me will vary from one day to the next.  So I’m going back today to write on that first slideshow again, to see if it is any different, and how the two compare.  Maybe there will be a sequence of poems to come out of this, like a slideshow.


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