La-di-dah

HD VIDEO, sound, 3:39 (2012)

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La-di-dah is a visualization of the poem composed expressly for this piece. It begins with a protracted accumulation of ambient sounds and utterances over a black screen. From there, the video proceeds to the first of its two parts, in which a woman enters screen right, sits squarely in the middle of the frame, and commences to recite the poem, “La-di-dah.” Though she stares directly into the camera, her voice comes quite literally from somewhere else; so, too, it would seem, do the features of her face. No sooner does she conclude her recital than the poem begins again, this time in the alternating voices of a male and female reader, and in precise measure and time with a montage of scavenged images past and present, abstract and concrete. At last the video returns to the woman from part one, framed in medium shot as before, staring straight into the camera. The ambient sounds from the beginning of the film overcome the soundtrack before dissipating at last.

The poem “La-di-dah” itself is an exercise in rigorous formal experimentation. It comprises ten four-line stanzas, each line a single Cretic foot (“la-di-dah”). The words and phrases, too, derive from scavenged language, traces of idomatic expressions, the incongruous juxtaposition of images and concepts, and the syntactical rumor of nursery rhymes, Sophoclean choruses, blues laments, and subway banter.

The interaction of image and sound in “La-di-dah”, so conceived, aims to plumb varioius dimensions of memory, ephemeral sensory experience, the subconscious, and the horizon of everyday speech.

© G. D. Cohen, all rights reserved