On a Pure Jag, Unmarked Grave
“On a Pure Jag, Unmarked Grave” is a homophonous translation of the Prologue of Spanish poet Carmen Condé’s long poem from 1963, Jaguar Puro Y Marchito, a tribute to the people’s struggle in Nicaragua–the piece was commissioned for Condé’s centenary by the library of her hometown, Cartagena. The “translation,” obliquely resonates with Condé’s poem. The film, complexly multi-layered, refers more directly to the Condé poem, using a jaguar to literally frame the action, which comprises footage from the US anti-war, student and civil rights movements of the 1960s as well as textures and movements from non-human nature: the ocean, dense lithic surfaces, foliage, and so forth. The many people moving in protest marches comprises the “human path” of the poem, and the oceanic waves also embody a kind of powerful inevitability of movement that complements the social movement. Most haunting/startling/uncanny for me is the shot of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr preparing to mount the steps of a government building. The phrase “unmarked grave” in the poem’s title foreshadows King’s assassination in 1968. The soundtrack creates a pattern of tension and periodic quasi-release: the treated sounds of bats create a high, restless static punctuated by a jaguar’s slow, melodic growl.
mIEKAL aND lives outside the constraints of academia in the most lush and rural part of the unglaciated Driftless area of southwest Wisconsin. Choosing to focus on creating wilderness and abundance surrounded by the perfect setting for limitless imagination his course of action includes demonstrating alternatives to inbred aesthetics, delighting in the play of DIY culture, and making art and writing that is both anarchic and noisy.
Camille Bacos is a filmmaker that belongs to the new generation of Romanian filmmakers that emerged after the communist regime crashed. She experiments with the images and words to deconstruct meanings and build visual thoughts. She did several collaborations with mIEKAL aND & Maria Damon. She lives in the heartland of US, in an area that was not touch by any “recent” glaciations where she is nurturing grapes, parrots & her spirit.
Maria Damon teaches poetry and poetics at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of two books of poetry scholarship, co-author of five books of poetry (with mIEKAL aND and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen), and co-editor, with Ira Livingston, of Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader.