A note from Matt Mullins: Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas are long-time creative collaborators even as they pursue their own individual artistic interests. As such, for this post I’d like to feature work that they created individually while traveling together in Africa.  Below is more from Valerie about the trip and the videopoetry that was created as a result. In her words:

“Daniel and I were both in Kenya for the Kisii Poetry Festival, October 2016. During the festival, we read individual works as well as collaborations from Flow: Big Waters, our 2014 Everglades National Park residency. Land of Shepherds (my piece) and In Kisii (Daniel’s piece) are works that came out of the Kenyan experience. The two works show the example of something we noticed during collaborative projects; although we are sometimes presented by the same set of circumstances, the works coming out of the experience can look quite different.”

Artist’s Statement: Land of Shepherds (by Valerie LeBlanc) is based on observations from the many bus rides we took to various locales. The videopoem started during a lecture delivered by one of the Kisii University Professors. He began his talk by mentioning that no matter which day people worship upon – Friday, Saturday or Sunday, it is important that everyone is able to do that.  Originally, I wanted to write three works addressing this concept of freedom and hope to get back to it.

Artist’s Statement: In Kisii (by Daniel H. Dugas) is a poetic voyage through Kisii town, Kenya. From the still image of a truck stopped on the curbside of the bustling city, images from three moments in time rise to the surface. In general, my videographic work has always been intimately linked to poetry. For the ancient Greeks, creative activity was a fusion of poetry and action. Similarly, my creative process – of video making and the poetic experience – is based on a relational exchange. I am interested in how text and image exist on the same plane, and how they interact to create new symbols, icons and meanings. Formatting is of particular interest for me, as format shapes the world around us and transforms it in a multitude of ways. The rapport between content and container, materiality and immateriality are the baseline of any of my inquiries.

Bio: Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, pluri-­disciplinary artist and writer Valerie LeBlanc has worked in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, and more recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Kisii, Kenya. Her creations travel between poetry, performance, visual and written theory. Personal and public aspects of the human condition; the issues that emerge in the bigger pictures of economy and environment are often the subjects rooted in her projects. Valerie has been creating video poetry since the mid 1980’s, and is the creator of the MediaPackBoard (MPB), a portable screening / performance device.

Bio: Daniel H. Dugas is an interdisciplinary artist. His practice includes video, photo, interactivity, audio, music, graphic design and writing and seeks to address social and political issues. He has participated in festivals and literary events as well exhibitions and performances internationally.  His ninth book of poetry: L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time was published in December 2015 through Eìditions Prise de parole, Ontario, Canada.