This film won First Prize in the 2019 Atticus Review Videopoem Contest.
Poem by Robert Lax
Notes from Marc Neys, Contest Judge:
Susanne Wiegner has developed a highly personal style, and her videos are instantly recognizable. It is no different with her stunning “Contemplation is watching.” From a screen full of letters we are literally sucked into the poem. With her personal, tight animation style, we are lured into a dreamworld. With an eye for detail, color, and timing words become buildings, letters become chimney pipes. A high-rise crane brings a tree, and a street lamp becomes part of a ferris wheel. Trucks bring in even more trees. Trains run off and on…
The whole feels like a painting by Paul Delvaux. It makes no sense yet seems familiar and recognizable.
In the same way that we ended up in this world, Wiegner processes various poems into a billboard. Details from the first part of the video are “explained” and everything folds together. The dream becomes reality and before we know it we are sitting at the artist’s desk and we almost instinctively feel how this video came about. Or is that feeling just another dream?
A strong example of storytelling with animation. Creating and inviting us into worlds, making connections, and all with a sleek minimalist style and a clear line. When it’s done you want to watch it again!
About the Filmmaker:
Susanne Wiegner studied architecture at the Academy of fine Arts in Munich and at Pratt Institute in New York City. She works as an architect and 3D-artist in Munich, Germany. In addition to projects in real space, for several years she has been creating 3D computer animations dealing with literature and with virtual space. Venues where her work have been shown include the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the Jenisch Haus in Hamburg, the Art + Technology Center EYEBEAM in New York City, festivals in Marseille, Rotterdam, Berlin, Athens, Lisbon, Copenhagen, New Delhi, Damascus, Beirut, Vienna, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Macau etc. In 2011 her film “just midnight” was the winner of the festival award “la parola immaginata” in Bergamo, Italy and in 2012 her film “at the museum” won the Ballon-Prize at crosstalk VideoArtFestival 2012, Budapest, Hungary. Find her films on Vimeo.
In “Contemplation is Watching,” a yellow street lamp is the initial point for a journey through the realm of imagination. The film is based on a poem by Robert Lax and on his typical vertical typeface, that he used to force the reader to slowness and contemplation. The film gives also some hints to Lax’s biography. He lived and worked in New York City where he experienced a moment outside of time and space under a street lamp, that he described in his “21 pages.” He was traveling with a small circus before he moved to the Greek islands, where he lived for 35 years.
In today’s world the film is also an invitation to take your eyes off the screen to have a look at your surroundings with all its mysteries and inspirations.