Videopoetry / Vidéopoésie interview with Catherine Parayre (2020)
A while ago I mentioned the launch of the must-have publication on videopoetry – Videopoetry / Videopoésie by pioneer Canadian practitioners Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc (Basic Bruegel). Valerie and Daniel have now conducted a really delightful, succinct and revealing interview see https://vimeo.com/447315272 with Catherine Parayre, editor at the book’s publishing house The Small Walker Press, Brock University, Ontario.
I am of course not impartial to their work since I was fortunate enough to be invited to write an essay for the book. In doing so I was able to excavate pure gold in terms of the history of videopoetry. This relatively short interview gives a glimpse into their world and how they work together. There are also some clever green screen projections and visually playful (I love the captioned birds behind them!) videos, which seem to have their own voice, almost stealing the thunder from their makers.
Some nuggets include their views on collaboration or shared vision: ‘when we witness the same events … reprocessing what we are seeing in different ways’; and their understanding of the term ‘videopoetry’ as opposed to referencing film, even though ‘the two are permeable today’. For them, they have always used video cameras (changing format across the decades) and worked with video as an accessible medium unlike film. Ultimately Daniel says he likes the term ‘video’ which comes from the Latin videre ‘to see’.
Catherine made a very poignant point about their video images; that though captured in a book, they seem to contain movement, as opposed to the still photograph. She emphasised that they weren’t ‘quite stable’. Daniel pointed out that often they were using older technology; or low grade consumer equipment that creates a ‘ghost’. But I feel there was more to that point, and I have noted how they work with time over and over again in their practice. This sense of passing through with video; the temporal philosophical estrangement of the moment, can become a rich metanarrative in the right hands. For Valerie and Daniel, time falters but does not stop.