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An online poetic adventure

An online poetic adventure March 28, 2016Leave a comment

I am a Zambian-Mancunian filmmaker and digital artist based in the UK. I recently completed a poetry film called Physics with my sister Chanje Kunda who is a poet and performance artist.

Physics uses astrophysics and quantum mechanics to explore female sensuality and existential philosophy. The film takes us on a personal journey from depression and disillusionment to enlightenment and confidence.

The film was commissioned by The Verb New Voices project, which is a poetry scheme for new writers in the North West of England. The film was commissioned to create something which would showcase an artist’s poem on a digital platform. The film was created primarily for a digital exhibition to be shared on websites and social media.

Poetry is often read or performed live. This can limit the audience to those who consume poetry traditionally and those who already have an interest in the medium. By creating a film which can be shared digitally, you are offering the work to a wider audience.

For social media networks like Facebook, the work can be shared between friends and existing fans of your work. Those people can then share it among their networks, giving it the potential to reach a wider audience than you could reach on your own.

With other social networks, such as Twitter, Instagram and Vimeo, there is a potential for a more global audience for your work because although you primarily share your work to your existing followers, supported by the use of hashtags.

I had never created a film specifically for the web and had a lot to think about. I had to create something easily digestible to an online audience, and not just an audience of poetry lovers. General consumers of digital media and digital art had to be factored in. I also had to think about the form, style and length of the film.

I edited the poem for the film, not only for length reasons but also so that it had a filmic form, with a beginning, middle and end. Poetry’s form isn’t as rigid as film, but when you create a film, especially a short one, it’s difficult to play around with the structure to make it work.

The trend for online videos is short, snappy and edited quickly. I did consider that route, but I really wanted to create something which was true to the essence of the poem. I wanted to create a feeling, so I stuck with a slower pace and hoped that as it was only three minutes long,  people’s attention would still be captured and retained as they watched it online.

I chose images and music to create a feeling that was very authentic and would drive the story. I did struggle with sacrificing the pace to reflect my own artistic form and style so went with my gut.

It was difficult to create artwork for the web especially as I’m used to creating work for theatre and film to be shown live to the public. As with anything, it’s a process of learning and understanding the medium or outlet you have chosen to showcase your work.

I don’t feel that I compromised my artwork too much, but making art for the internet takes some discipline to make it more accessible and digestible in online form.

The process of creating Physics was very challenging but also very rewarding. By creating artwork to be shared widely to different types of people is important to attract and engage new audiences to your work and voice.

Digital is also an effective tool for artists to promote themselves and attract new work. I am glad I did it and I would definitely consider doing it again.


About the author

author_template - Lwimbo
Lwimbo Kunda

Lwimbo Kunda is a video artist and filmmaker currently working in post production for ITV in Media City. As well as her work in the commercial sector, she freelances in producing, directing and editing film, live art and video art. Kunda has produced films with B3 Media and Cornerhouse. She has also worked as a digital artist on multi-media theatre productions such as Blue Black Sister (Royal Exchange Theatre) and The Amber Chronicles (Zed Arts). Her latest art project, the short poetry film Physics, which she directed and produced, is supported by the BBC and New Writing North.

You can reach Lwimbo on Twitter @bokstyles.

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