Ira Schneider's H2O#22

The Ekphrasis Project

Ira Schneider's H2O#22

For this assignment, Joost  and I asked the students to formulate a response to Ira Schneider’s video H2O#22. Schneider is a renowned American video artist, whom Joost and I also had the honor of interviewing for the same volume (see preview). We further asked the students to put their responses in an experimental form of their own choice: poetry, prose, word and image, or critique. As part of a series depicting water, this work presents us with a beautiful and haunting moving image of blue and purple waves, accompanied by a dramatic, swelling sound composition by Flaut Rauch.

FileH2O-22 excerpt.mp4

Before class, the students watched the video, drafted their ekphrastic text, and read those by their peers. The responses included personal associations such as emotions, impressions and thoughts. Language is used here as an ekphrastic act, to fill in the gaps left by the audiovisual medium and add something that could not be expressed in the original. It conjures the object so to speak, renders it present before the mind’s eye as if it were really there.

Ekphrasis could also be used to convey the emotional intensity of the individual experience of the object, including thoughts and associations. During our in-class session, Joost de Jonge gave a lecture about his artistic process and history, after which the students performed their texts for the group and provided feedback. Each student handed in a top three of most successful artistic responses. These were then assembled by a jury consisting of poet Esther Porcelijn, Joost, and me, and together we came to the final top three which you find below (as well as my own contribution which will also be included).