A Poet in the (parallel) World

LUCA MIRANDA, RICCARDO RETEZ

Digital video (3840 x 2160), color, sound, 7′ 45”, 2023.

A poet in the (parallel) world’ is part of a series of machinima that have the aim of supervising and overseeing the intersectional space that exists between remakes and adaptations, attempting to re-imagine, re-create, and repurpose works of art from the past within video game virtual worlds.

By means of the algorithmic reconstruction of the words of the British-American poet Denise Levertov and the photographs of American photographer Robert Adams, this machinima proposes a new vision of the Video game, offering a poetic-visual exploration of a virtual world built according to violent and ferocious dynamics. In this sense, the ‘poet’ of the story is embodied by both the avatar and the player, who travels in an open but crystallized virtual world, building a parallelism between what the player says and what the avatar sees.

The work is openly inspired by Adams’ photo collection ‘A Parallel World‘, published in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic: here the photographer presents scenes of natural beauty along the Oregon coast. His first inspiration was a set of poems by Denise Levertov, known as ‘The poet in the world’, originally published in 1973. Through in-game captured images and artificial voices, the machinima encompasses the audiovisual reinterpretation of the poet’s writings and the photographer’s images: it depicts sand dunes and windswept trees, empty beaches and arresting skies, as well as views of the glittering Pacific Ocean seen through the windows of a home within the video game ‘Days Gone’. The game is set in post-apocalyptic Oregon two years after the start of a pandemic that turned a portion of humanity into vicious zombie-like creatures. Former outlaw-turned-drifter Deacon St. John discovers his wife, Sarah, having been assumed dead, may still be alive and goes on a quest to find her. By traversing the (game) world the player/avatar/poet records the light that falls on these places, and asks, by implication, what such beauty means.