By Leia Skidgel~
One of the benefits of publishing on an online platform such as Klio is the ability to view and interact with multimedia forms that would be impossible to publish in print. Since its inception, it has been Klio‘s goal to attract fresh and innovative creative projects from Penn State students. However, what exactly does multimedia encompass? Generally, the term multimedia is used to refer to a work that utilizes any combination of visual, audio, graphic, and textual elements. This format may seem daunting to those unfamiliar with it, but the 2019 Klio team has taken a look at some unique multimedia works over the course of this semester, and are looking forward to giving a few of these creations a spotlight in order to inspire and educate readers and potential submitters.
One particularly interesting example of multimedia is “Rupture,” an interactive short story by Eileen Herbert-Goodall, as seen published on Aquifer: The Florida Review Online. This piece combines a textual short-story as well as animated images, and is accompanied by atmospheric audio which enhances the mood of the story. Combining these various features is a great way to even further immerse the reader, drawing them into a tangible environment. “Rupture” is a great example of how traditional short-stories can be further enhanced by incorporating other mediums such as audio and visual art.
Another, quite different example comes in the form of a collaboration between poet Elizabeth Bradfield and video artist Demet Taspinar. The multimedia work is comprised of Bradfield’s poem “To Find Stars in Another Language” (originally published on The Rumpus) read aloud and accompanied by Taspinar’s film. About the process, Bradfield says that “Demet made the movie when working in Antarctica, which is where we met aboard an expedition ship. She was the ship’s doctor; I was a naturalist” (as cited in Moving Poems, 2014). This poem, like the other many great examples on the Moving Poems website, features a poem read aloud to a video clip of resonating imagery. This particular poem is set against a backdrop of a serene and twinkling ocean, slowly fading to black with glittering lights.
Dave Bonta, a digital poet from Plummer’s Hollow, PA, attended Bradfield’s 2014 poetry reading at Penn State and wrote about the experience on the Moving Poems website. He found that Bradfield and Taspinar’s collaboration worked well in front of a live audience, noting that the students seemed particularly engaged by the mix of straight-up poetry reading and multi-media presentation. Bonta praised the work of the duo, noting that they “seem to have all the right instincts. In part, I think, this is because they proceeded ekphrastically: footage first, then the words.”
Michael Switzer, a film major here at Penn State, recently combined his passion for filmmaking and love of poetry to create a dark atmospheric short film, “Wet Crimson.” Switzer’s deliberate implementation of color, lighting, and mirrored imagery in his video work to create a stark contrast between dark and light tones that resonates with the message of his poem. The film’s dark subject matter works with the poetry to communicate Switzer’s view on modern-day party culture. About the film and his process of making it, Switzer writes:
“I usually start by writing first and create something that I think reflects themes and emotions I am feeling at that time. So with this poem, I wanted to write about what the culture of young people and partying looks like in 2019 to me. People like to put so much poison in their bodies just to feel something. They like to be reckless and make mistakes because it allows them to temporarily feel alive. I’ve been in this place before, yet it’s so easy to feel empty afterwards. This film is an experimental look into that hollow feeling in your chest after the music stops, the lights go out, and there is no one left but yourself to look at in the mirror.”
(Please be aware that this video does contain potentially sensitive content and graphic imagery pertaining to self-harm.)
Multimedia projects have the ability to both bring different types of creatives together in collaboration, as well as allow creatives to branch out in multiple different mediums. Being experimental in combining forms of creative art allows for new sensory and artistic experiences for both the creator and audience.