SHORT NOTE: A three-channel Verba video poem trilogy (2015) consists of three independent parts: The Undertakings (2011), In Between (2015) and Sehnsucht (2015). The three videos are meant to be projected installation like, simultaneously, in full wall height, but other layouts / setups for projection are also allowed, as well as showing the videos in video screening show in sequence or one or two of them independently.
Verba video trilogy (2015): The Undertakings (2011), In Between (2015) and Sehnsucht (2015)
Author, animation, editing: Päivi Hintsanen, 2011-2015
In the Verba video poem trilogy, I collected thoughts and feelings from people from all over the world, and interpreted them as visual poems. The poems are based on the rhythm of individual words and sentences mixed with abstract imagery. The first part of the trilogy, The Undertakings (2011), is based on votive offerings to a higher force (for example, “if I survive this, I promise to…”). Between the years 2000-2002, I collected over 400 promises in my online project Ex votos, I sorted the replies, dismantled them and then reorganized them. I used the same method to create the two subsequent parts of the trilogy which are based on stories, sentences and individual words collected during 2014 using online questionnaires and email. In Between (working title: Oblivion) is about remembering and memories and Sehnsucht is about the theme of longing.
I have created the three Verba trilogy videos independent of each other, but at the same time the main objection has been to create a three channel looping video poems, that fills the space with words of universal themes, collected from all over the world. The silent videos can be shown in video screening, but the best effect is, when they can be experienced in one space / room installation: the silent space where you sit or stand surrounded by words, maybe some sounds of the world coming outside the space itself but the room silent itself, create a feeling of detachment. People who have visited my installation, have told me that it gives the same kind of sense of quieting and slowing that meditation and going to church give.
The three videos
2011, 4:3, ~5’12 min (loop)
The Undertakings is the first video to be finished of my Verba video trilogy. It is an animated, silent video poem, based on the promises or deals to God, to some bigger force, or to life itself, that people have shared with me in an online project “Ex votos”.
In the beginning of the new century, I happened to hear someone speaking to her cell phone in the train: “If I survive this, I promise to never…” I started to think about these promises we all make in some point. Is it a promise or is it just a wishful hex or charm? If it is a promise, is it a promise meant to be kept or just desperate words, a bluff? In that situation, do we really want to keep our promises? Do we even remember our promises?
As I did my research over the subject, I learned that these kinds of promises, and then ex votos – the affect of thankfulness or duty – afterwards, are known to all of the world in the modern world, but they have been known already in ancient Egypt. This phenomenon isn’t all about religion. Some people promise to God or Buddha, some people make deals with destiny or and for some people the vows are made for just some unrecognizable force, life itself.
I decided to collect these promises and vows, so I started an online project and invited people to share their promises. People were asked to answer to three questions:
What was the thing you wished for?
What did you promise to do if this happens?
Did you get to keep your promise?
The project was online about two years at the beginning of the new century (2000-2002 ) and during that time I received over 400 answers from all over the world. Ten years after collecting the material, I sorted the similar promises together and animated them (Adobe Flash) to a video poem. Every answer I received via the online questionnaire is included in the poem.
2015, 4:3, ~4’12 min (loop)
In Between is the second video of my Verba video trilogy. I used the same technique for compiling the video for the project as I did in the Undertakings. The stories, sentences and individual words were collected during 2014 using online questionnaires and email, I then sorted the replies, dismantled them and reorganized them and then animated the words using Flash.
As I was collecting material for In Between, I understood how similar the need to remember and the fears of forgetting are all around the world. How people are worried about their memory in very general way, which suddenly turns to very concrete worry: What if I forget my children? What if I forget my name? What if I forget myself? How the fading of the memories affects to everything around and influences the way you see the world. Until it feels that it’s not the memories which aren’t fading, but you.
2015, 4:3, ~5’18 min (loop)
Sehnsucht is the third part of my Verba video poem trilogy, made in same method as the Undertakings and In Between, from collected, dismantled, rearranged and then animated words.
Sehnsucht received its name from the words of the participants. When I collected the material, the project name was “Longing”, but many people replied that it is too subdued a term to describe what they are feeling. There’s no exact translation for the German word “Sehnsucht” in Finnish or English (in Finnish “kaiho” may come close). Sehnsucht is quite close to the Portuguese word of longing, “saudade”, which has been described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone, but still Sehnsucht means much more. Sehnsucht is deeper, larger and more complex than Finnish “kaipaus” or “kaiho”, English “longing”, or Portuguese “saudade”; it holds an unexplainable nostalgia and abstract feeling, that you just can’t put into words. Reaching for something imperceptible and nonexistent. Maybe it holds something melancholic, but not necessarily sad. Dreaming? Otherness?
Verba (2015) includes three videos:
The Undertakings 2011, 4:3, ~5’12 min (loop)
In Between 2015, 4:3, ~4’12 min (loop)
Sehnsucht 2015, 4:3, ~5’18 min (loop)
Available as PAL DVD’s for DVD players and mpeg4 / mov files for media player use (I can send them via wetransfer.com).
The optimum setup would be a three-channel projection, in which all three Verba videos are played simultaneously side by side, in equal size. The height should be as big as possible (wall height) to natural gray or white wall (or natural textile material) rather than to white/silverscreen.
Minimum height: 2,30 m
Maximum height: none
Different size projections are allowed (if space or technical solutions require), but the minimum height should be in all videos.
Projection only (no small monitors, computer screens or even large scale monitors).
Duration / showtime of the installation: in optimal case through out the festival time, but shorter installations ok.
Secondary setup: As each video is an independent part of the video trilogy, they can also be shown as one channel / independent non-looping projection, or as a non-looping sequence, for example in video screening events.
Space & Technical requirements for three channel projection / installation
- An empty, spacious room for this projection only or a separated space in big hall.
- Projection (in optimal order):
- In three walls of one room (leaving the entrance wall without projection)
- or in one straight or curvy wall, side by side
- or in one or three separate canvases in one space
- 3 video projectors
- 3 dvd or media players
- (No white/silverscreen needed as projection background; projection rather to natural gray or white wall etc.)
Exhibitions / Installations / Shows
The Verba trilogy / first three-channel installation (and the first projections of Sehnsucht and In Between) was in my solo exhibition at Black Wall Gallery, Vaasa, Finland in June 2015. No other exhibitions / installations / shows yet for the trilogy / three channel installation.
The Undertakings (2011) has been shown as an independent part / one channel projection in:
2014 Galerie Vernon, Prague (solo exhibition)
2013 K-S View, Jyväskylä, Finland (screening event)
2012 Galleria Nunes, Helsinki (What remains, group exhibition)
2011 Palácio D. Manuel, Évora, Portugal (What remains, group exhibition)
About author, Päivi Hintsanen
Päivi Hintsanen (Finnish, born in 1970, Jyväskylä, Finland) started her artistic career in mid 90’s ”in cyber world”, making media art and especially web art. At the turn of the millenium, her art started shifting towards the ”real world”: making installations and prints on paper have combined those two different worlds together. Video has been there as a medium from the start, but in most of the projects it has been more a tool than a format of a final result. Shooting live video of real surroundings isn’t really her cup of tea – sometimes she finds herself with a video camera in her hand, but mostly her moving images are the result of experimenting with Adobe flash with which she has created her latest video works.
She has had several solo exhibitions (print and media art) and she has taken part to several joint exhibitions since 1996.
Questions and enquiries
paivi.hintsanen (at) coloria.net