Monday, 4 July 2022

Paramontage showing No. 3 - 'Syntax prescribes - I' (a type-2)

I had a comment on Instagram from a friend who laughed when she saw the last video because I’d been telling her, when we talked about art, that I don’t like the commentaries that go with paintings in galleries. You know the ones, those long discursive explanations or glosses that go with works of art telling the viewer how to interpret them. 

Sometimes it takes longer to read the gloss than it takes to see the painting itself so my friend thought it was ironic to see me doing the same thing with paramontage. Not so, I thought to myself, because paramontage are a new type of artwork and need some commentary. I also wanted to discuss the different provenances of each photo making up the work, and this sort of detail helps the viewer understand the creative process. 

The paramontage you’re seeing now uses mainly photos from the 2009 Myall Creek commemoration. The large photo in bottom-left comes from the previous year (2008) and it’s blurred to denote a kind of dream-time referring to the past. I chose yellow for the poem itself, which goes like this:

Subject and object form their bloody vows
but can function perfectly to the end.
We use ritual and – so – ochre the brows
of the messengers commissioned to send

on its way the expected warlike band:
a phrase moulding moments to make windows
like spiders’ nests anchored deep in the sand.
On the integument a hot wind blows

but what preserves my “I” if not my “you”? 
Fix the third-person possessive pronoun
next-door to the name of the mark which grew
with every successive trading mission

on the blessed land that time won’t forget.
Do they deign to accept the lesson yet?

The poem took a bit of effort to get right, it was written on 5, 9, 12, 15 December 2020; and 7, 11, 14 January, 8, 9, 11, 20 March and 15, 23 September 2021. That’s 13 separate days! A struggle because it’s a conceptual poem, part of ‘The Words to Say’ a sequence I started to put together two years ago and that has 88 poems in it.

In the paramontage children feature strongly, you can see two kids playing near the memorial rock during a speech. The man speaking is pointing up and in the photo above him children are involved in a dance. Paul Lynch, a NSW state politician is speaking with a microphone in another photo.

The poem talks about miscommunication, the tendency, where understanding is absent, for grammar to set the rules of engagement. If you think in terms of “us” and “them” then the outcome sort of takes care of itself. If you want to have a healthy relationship you need to think in terms of commonalities, of shared qualities, of common goals, of similarities not differences. The poem can be thought to contain these messages but it also talks about the land. 


Basia Sokolowska said...

this is a very good way of documentation of this event. With the added bonus of a poem. Works well, and tells a deeper, more meaningful story to those who didn't participate in the celebration. Putting together words and images doesn't worry me much, as long as it adds to the meaning.

Matthew da Silva said...

I had trouble w this showing as with the previous ones bec I hold the script in one hand and read but in the other hand hold the camera. You get the situation where you want the camera to pan up but it stays in place. Not really happy w this video, it's harder than it seems to get it right.