Something rather wonderful happens when you're first exposed to the brilliant poetry projects Slam the Body Politik and MEMORY: A Video Poetry Project. After reading about them or experiencing some of the powerful samples available for Slam it's likely to occur to you that these are fairly basic concepts. At least, they seem simple enough. Both projects, created by Sara Moss and Scart of the Australia-based poetry group Synaptic Graffiti each have the same essential philosophy in mind. Slam, released in 2004 as a multimedia CD-ROM project and MEMORY, slated to come out in May 2010, believe in the staggering potential of poetry to be more than just words in a book or on a computer screen. They have gone about this belief in different ways. Slam presented poetry under every guise from music to video to artwork or even just the words themselves. MEMORY seeks to collect the works of writers and activists from around the world and present their submissions as a single collective interest expressed through video. Yet neither one could exist without an impressive level of faith in poetry and a poet's desire to see their work extend its reach. They both appeal to an idea that's again quite simple.
That's the thing about simple. We know that some of the greatest ideas are the simple ones. We often fail to remember that they often take forever to come about because the rest of us are either too busy shooting for something more complex or are simply content with the status quo. Sara Moss and Scart are not content with the status quo. They have spent the better part of the last six years expressing their creative and social interest through a series of wonderfully original, stunning projects. These incorporate not only their own talents but those of writers, visual artists and performers from around the world. They have struck the difficult middle ground between the soul of art and the prospects of technology better than almost anyone could hope to achieve. This was first accomplished with their release of Slam the Body Politik in 2004. It's being accomplished again with the impending release of MEMORY.
If Slam is any indication then we can expect nothing less than a masterpiece of ambition with MEMORY. The fact that MEMORY is such a straightforward approach doesn't make any less it any less of a massive undertaking. The project seeks to include input and originality from dozens of sources, all together under a common interest to push social and political change forward through words and actions. It's not complicated, but it is daunting. Most of us couldn't begin to put something like this together. Moss and Scart have done before and will almost certainly do it again in May 2010. The wait for that finished product will be excruciating for those of who are desperate to find some truly unique poetry, but there's no doubt that the wait will be worth every second.
In the meantime we can keep an eye on Moss, Scart and the work they do with SG. We can pay attention to what they have to say, and we can help get their ideas into as many parts of the world as possible. That's one of the secrets behind why MEMORY is such an incredible opportunity. It can't exist without a strong presence. That presence demands word of mouth. Even those of us who are not planning to contribute a video can get involved. There's really no excuse for not doing so.