Proem (2013)

Simmons, Tom, Hanna, Suzie and Bayley, Sally Proem (2013). [Image]


This short animated film explores uses of metaphor as a connotative experiential phenomenon, focusing on Harold Hart Crane’s letter to Harriet Monroe titled ‘Logic of Metaphor’ alongside drafts of his ‘Proem To Brooklyn Bridge’. The film aims to develop an interdisciplinary contribution to research into cultural representations of literature and literary figures through animation and sound design. Using Crane’s writings to explore the potential transfer and effect of metaphorical construction processes on forms of animation, sound design and poetry, the film is innovative in re-presenting both Crane’s work and his writing methods. The research builds on a 10,000 word article ‘Thinking Narratively, Metaphorically and Allegorically’ written by Bayley, Hanna and Simmons (Journal of American Studies, Cambridge University Press, November 2013). The article introduces and frames the research as a basis for both the film and a critical forum featuring respondents with expertise in Crane’s life and works. Focusing on contemporary literature, poetry, film and sound of the period, this will also be published in the Journal of American Studies (Cambridge University Press, February 2014). Alongside a description of the methodology employed in the research, historical focus is given to the conceptual limitations of language theory, focusing on symbolic, analogical and metaphoric relationships. Centering on Crane’s methods for the assemblage of phrases into lyrics and his writings on auditory technologies, the soundtrack addresses Crane’s views of the ‘illogical impingements of the connotations of words on the consciousness’ and their ‘combinations and interplay in metaphor’. The sound design is constructed from materials and music described by Crane through his poetry, letters and notes, ranging from the mechanisms of a Victrola gramophone player to the tensile apparatus of large suspension bridges, to investigate the noisy non-linear ‘shamanic’ technique of assembling and connecting poetic phrases, which Crane used to carefully build his poems.

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