Film Archive

  • All


The Complete Works

41 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Justin Stephenson
Justin Stephenson
Justin Stephenson
John Mihn Tran, Justin Stephenson
Justin Stephenson
Justin Stephenson
Justin Stephenson
Michael Phillip Wojewoda
The Canadian writer bpNichol (1944–1988) was the uncrowned king of concrete poetry. And a jack of other trades, too: he produced sound art, short stories, nonsense lyrics, comics, children’s books and worked for children’s television. “Complete Works” is animation filmmaker and title designer Justin Stephenson’s daring attempt to visualise Nichol’s work directly, without the detour of a writer’s portrait: by adopting the latter’s obsession with language as a vibrant hubbub where semantics, syntax and phonetics intersect in the most delirious ways.

Letters dance, meaning spins wildly, or a poem becomes an autonomous subject that talks with its opposite, the reader. The contract they have both entered into consists simply of a ban on any boredom between them, because that moment would constitute the sad death of the poem. There are also performances by professed Nichol fans, each of whom narrates a fulfilling experience it must be an excessive pleasure to repeat and share. For his part, Stephenson as the filmmaker and animator contributes to further escalation, driving everything towards more or even maximum excess.

Ralph Eue