The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

David Mark Williams – Papaya Fantasia

My good friend, the poet David Mark Williams, has a new book – Papaya Fantasia - which he is launching in Castle Douglas this Saturday (December 1st).

Regular readers of this blog with long memories might recall I created a few short videos of him performing his poetry, which I put up back in November 2015 (follow this link if you missed it, to tie in with the launch of his first book, The Lost Sock Exchange

An idea we had but didn't have time to pursue back then was one of playing with the perception of time, so we decided we'd give it a shot to coincide with the release of Papaya Fantasia.

Using Mark's poem "Death Numbers" we recorded him speaking it, then slowed it to ¼ speed and downloaded it onto his phone.

We then went out onto the streets of Castle Douglas and, using headphones attached to his phone, Mark spoke the poem in time with the slowed down version of the poem while I filmed him.

We did this in several locations around the town and got a few strange looks, but no one stopped to ask what we were up to.

Back at my computer I then sped up the footage I had by 4 times and edited it together, overlaying the original recording and background noises from the street.

The result is an unsettling performance where everything around him is moving much faster while he delivers the poem.

It was a challenging and fun wee project. It's less than a minute long so take a look and feel free to scribble any thoughts or reactions in the comments.

Meanwhile, if you can make it along to the Papaya Fantasia book launch, it's at the Gordon Memorial Hall, St Ninians, Whitepark Road Castle Douglas, DG7 1EX (Doors open 1.45pm)

Alternatively he has another launch down in London on December 17th at the Poetry Society’s poetry Cafe in Covent Garden at 7.30pm

Both events are free and drinks and nibbles are available.


Ponita in Real Life said...

That's a neat effect, having him speak "normally" while all in the background scurry about. I'd say your effort paid off. :-)

Pat said...

It was an unusual presentation but with poetry I personally need to concentrate so found the traffic a distraction and there was moment when I feared for his safety.
On the other hand I'm all for experimentation which you never shirk.

daisyfae said...

"Unsettling" is an apt description. i'll need to watch it again - as Pat mentioned, it's a bit tough to follow the words/meaning with the feeling of chaos in the background. But it is powerful.

Kim Ayres said...

Ponita - thank you :)

Pat - the thing about poetry is that it's usually not that long, which allows experimenting with ways to film :)

Daisyfae - fortunately, being only a minute long, it can bear watching a couple of times without feeling you've frittered away a chunk of your life :)

viji suresh said...

Great idea shooting a video.. Background set on time lapse and audio slow.. Never seen a poetry recital like this. "Death numbers".. Very much alive, yet calm.. The calm recital and commotion outside gives a strange feeling. Looking forward for many such experiences.

Kim Ayres said...

Viji - thank you. It was a fun idea to try out and we're both quite pleased with the results :)

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