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Tin House Reels: Abigail Warren & Scout Cuomo
This week’s feature from Tin House Reels, A Field Guide to Salmon, is the sort of collaboration between visual and verbal artists that we get excited about—a playful interaction between words and pictures that changes the spirit of both.
Looking to collaborate with a painter, poet Abigail Warren found Scout Cuomo at an art show: “Scout and I went to Smith College 15 years apart, but we both live and work in Northampton, home to Smith College. Scout loves fish, and all things under water. She did a series of paintings of underwater scenes, which I saw at a show she did. We were both competitive swimmers growing up; when I saw her water paintings, I thought, she’s got it, she really understands it—i.e., being under water. I went up to her and said we have got to make a video about a poem I have about the life of salmon.”
Their collaboration followed through a series of charcoal drawings: “[Cuomo] focused the video into sections, following the three stanzas of the poem: sunlight, laying eggs, growing light, swimming downstream, the return, and the final stanza that draws in the human element. She sent me various versions over several months. I went to her studio and she demonstrated the process, a Zen-like progression in which a new picture needs to be created as soon as the last is done.”
“I gave feedback,” Warren said. “We pulled in a soundtrack person for the underwater sounds we both thought were needed. We played around as to when my voice should come into play in the video. We negotiated where each stanza in the video needed breathing space.”
The result is a mobile sequence full of feeling.
Abigail Warren has a BA in English and Philosophy and an M.Ed. from Smith college and teaches at Cambridge College. She is a recipient of the Rosemary Thomas Poetry award.
Scout Cuomo was born in 1984 in Dallas, Texas, has a BFA from Smith college, and paints in Northhampton.
Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words.
We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also send us a file directly.