• Letter to the World

Simmons, Tom, Hanna, Suzie and Bayley, Sally, 2010, Art or design object, Letter to the World

Abstract or Description:

This short animated film interprets and represents themes from the poet Emily Dickinson’s life and works. Underpinned by interdisciplinary research into Dickinson’s experiments with hybridity and dual identities, the film investigates the poet’s reduction and enlargement of territories and spheres of influence, her poetic egotism, lucid descriptions of miniature worlds and Nature, her mathematical precision, and ultimately, her triumph over Death through the legacy of her mind. The film expands interdisciplinary research into the substantially underdeveloped applications of animation and sound design to the interpretation and representation of literary figures, and is innovative in contributing to broader debates on new forms of literary criticism.

Developed with Professor Suzie Hanna (Norwich University of the Arts) and Dr Sally Bayley (Oxford University), the film refers to a rich supply of contemporary artistic and cultural influences referenced in Dickinson's poetry and letters, informed by primary and secondary research. Hanna and Simmons developed the visual and sonic aspects of the research respectively, drawing on Bayley’s expertise and specialist knowledge. The soundtrack examines Dickinson’s ‘auditory imagination’, drawing on T.S. Eliot’s writing on Matthew Arnold (1933) and Judy Small’s research into Dickinson’s artistic design, musical background and poetics (1990). Against backdrops of American civil war, nature and domestic confinement, the sound design dismantles Dickinson’s voice as an inner attunement of mind, employing Kant’s writing on the concept of ‘Stimmung’ (1790) as a condition for cognition.

The film was produced for the 2010 ‘Emily Dickinson International Conference’, Oxford (2010), at which both the film and the underpinning research were presented. Following its initial screening, the film was presented at the ‘Sylvia Plath Symposium 2012’, Indiana University (2012) and ‘6th Berlin ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival’ (2012). The research was also disseminated at the ‘Transatlantic Exchanges’ conference, Plymouth University (2010) and ‘American Imagetext’ conference, University of East Anglia (2011).

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Communication
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2013 14:27
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 14:26
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1417
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