Tag Archives: Visible Verse 2009

See the Voice: Visible Verse celebrates its 10th anniversary

Local poet, Heather Haley is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her video poetry festival tonight and tomorrow, Nov. 19 – 20, 2010 at Vancouver’s Pacific Cinemathèque film theatre (1131 Howe St., Vancouver, Canada). There are two nights of video poetry. The first half of the evening features popular pieces from past showings and the second half of the evening includes a live poetry performance and this year’s entries. Saturday, November 20, 2010, a free panel discussion about poetry and making the voice visible is being presented at 4 pm.

Writer Mark Harris has written an article about Heather and the festival for the Georgia Straight newspaper,

Southern B.C. is one of the most creative corners of Canada, but without a guide you’d never know it. Filmmakers give the cold shoulder to animators, novelists stare through playwrights, and so on. Artists in different disciplines don’t hang out at the same bars, and they rarely attend each other’s parties. In the Lower Mainland, the introspection upon which all creativity depends extends to the social scene as well.

This probably explains why Quebec-born, Bowen Island–based poet-curator Heather Haley discovered the hybrid discipline of video poetry while living abroad. In Vancouver to host the 10th-anniversary edition of Visible Verse at the Pacific Cinémathèque (1131 Howe Street) on Friday and Saturday (November 19 and 20), Haley explained to the Georgia Straight how she discovered her unusual vocation.

“I lived in Los Angeles for many years,” she said while sipping tea on Davie Street. “I was going to be a rock star,” she added, laughing.

You can find the rest of the article here.

Nanotechnology strategies everywhere except Canada; Visible Verse 2009; OECD workshops on nanotech in developing world

There’s an article by Michael Berger on Nanowerk titled, European strategy for nanotechnology and the nanotechnology Action Plan, where he outlines the European Union’s approach to creating a strategy, contrasts it in a few asides (launching potshots at the Europeans) with the US approach, and provides some handy links. Coincidentally there’s a news item on Nanowerk about RUSNANO (the Russian publicly funded nanotech investment agency) visiting Sweden. From the news item,

A RUSNANO delegation headed by CEO Anatoly Chubais will visit Sweden on November 19-20, 2009 to study the support that government offers for innovative developments, share with Sweden’s business and scientific communities the goals and principles that guide RUSNANO’s activities and discuss opportunities to collaborate in commercialization of nanotechnologies with their Swedish counterparts.

Canada hosted RUSNANO a few months back for similar purposes but interestingly there was no mention of studying “the support that government offers for innovative developments … ” and I’m not sure if it’s because there isn’t a support framework, official or otherwise, in Canada or if they failed to mention it in the news release. (I strongly suspect the former.) I blogged here about RUSNANO’s visit to Canada at the time.

Taking Sweden and the UK as examples, it would seem that European countries have both a European Union framework and an individual country framework for nanotechnology. The US has its National Nanotechnology Initiative (in place since 2000). China will provide some sort of insight into its nanotechnology plans via its road map series which I mentioned briefly here. Canada remains mute. You can view the National Institute of Nanotechnology’s website but you’d be hard pressed to find any details about an overall strategy for nanotechnology scientific research, public engagement, business support, education, social impact  etc. (Despite the institute’s name that’s probably not in their scope of responsibilities but I can’t find that information anywhere.) You will find a list of the institute’s research areas but you won’t find an overview of the Canadian nanotech research scene or much of anything else (to date they have distributed three news releases in 2009 and none in 2008 but 2007 was a banner year, there were four).

For a brief respite from the nano, Heather Haley’s See the Voice: Visible Verse 2009 (video poetry festival) is being held tonight (Thursday, November 19, 2009) at Pacific Cinematheque at 7:30 pm, 1131 Howe St. Vancouver, Canada. You can buy tickets or read more about it here.

Back to the international nanotechnology front: The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) are holding joint nanotechnology awareness workshops for transitional and developing countries. You can read more about them in the news item on Nanowerk.

Edited at 3:05 pm PST, Nov. 19.09 to change electronic poetry to video poetry.

Butterfly wings inspire nanotechnology; Canadian nanoscience and business breakthrough?; Visible Verse

The iridescence and colours that you see on butterflies and other insects result from  nanoscale structures not pigment as was believed previously. From a news item on Azonano,

Insects’ colours and their iridescence (the ability to change colours depending on the angle) or their ability to appear metallic are determined by tiny nano-sized photonic structures (1 nanometre=10-9 m) which can be found in their cuticle. Scientists have focused on these biostructures to develop devices with light emitting properties that they have just presented in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.

A joint team of researchers from the State University of Pennsylvania and the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid have developed a new technique for replicating these structures. From another news item on Azonano about the same research,

Up to now, the methods used to replicate biostructures on a nanometric scale have been limited, often damaging the original biostructure because of the high temperatures and toxic, corrosive substances that were applied.

The new method uses a normal temperature and avoids toxins.

Potential uses for this material (if and when it comes to market) include covers that maximize solar light cell absorption and optical diffusers, as well as, other optically active structures. What I found most intriguing is that the scientists have replicated the colours and iridescence that we see on butterfly wings and insects. I would imagine then that these structures will be quite beautiful (assuming the materials retain those properties at sizes much larger than butterflies and insects) and the aesthetics could help to increase consumer interest in solar cells.

There’s an interesting article (Canada strikes nanotech gold)  in Canadian Business by Rosie Lombardi about FP Innovations and a new material, NanoCrystalline Cellulose, which the company is readying for the market. I suspect FP could stand for ‘forest products although I couldn’t confirm it from viewing their website although the company tag line is highly suggestive, Creating forest sector solutions.

From the article,

Although the concept of NCC has been around for decades and its source — any kind of tree — is abundant, Berry and his team have cracked the code in developing a process to produce large-scale quantities economically.

NCC has many unusual properties, in addition to having all the biodegradable attributes associated with its cellulose source.  Materials scientists are in awe of NCC’s extraordinary potential due to its strength, optical properties, conductivity, reactivity, self-assembling, anti-microbial, self-cleaning and bio-compatibility characteristics. “NCC is beautiful,” says Orlando Rojas, chair of the American Chemical Society.

Design plans for a plant have been developed by NORAM Engineering +  Constructors,  a Vancouver-based company, and three Canadian forestry companies are currently vying for the right to host the federally-funded facility (competition results should be announced by the end of 2009).

Why all the excitement from forest companies? From the article,

But it’s hard-nosed economic imperatives, not just green goodwill, that are driving the battered forestry sector to pour millions into research for new products that may ensure its survival.

Over the past two years, the Canadian forestry sector lost 50,000 jobs and more than 250 mills closed or suspended operations, according to Avrim Lazar, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

The sector has been bleeding red ink since 2006, says Craig Campbell, leader of the Canadian forestry group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “It’s been hard hit by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Most of our lumber goes to the U.S. but housing starts were down 75% last winter. And newsprint is another key area: demand has been contracting every quarter since 9/11.”

As a result, the forestry industry is looking to transform itself by switching its focus beyond tissue paper and two-by-fours to producing higher-value materials with advanced technology.

I’ve commented before about Canadians being seen as ‘drawers of water and hewers of wood’ and so I find this development is very much in line with our history.  From the article,

Having conquered the science and start-up issues, Canadian researchers now have yet another mountain to climb. The real hurdles in developing NCC’s potential lie in economics, and the complicated realm of working with other industries outside the familiar confines of the forestry sector to develop new industrial applications.

To facilitate cross-industry development, a new R&D network called ArboraNano was set up this year through Industry Canada’s Business-led Centres of Excellence program. The initiative received $8.9 million in funding over four years, and is working with industry partners such as Bell Helicopter and Kruger, and scientists at McGill and other universities to develop and test new materials made with NCC for various industries.

Canada is doing a lot of things right, says Jones. [Phil Jones, Atlanta-based director of new ventures at IMERYS Mineral Ltd.] “Supporting the application development side is the critical bit. People talk about the valley of death: university guys spin out ideas, and then industry has to commercialize them. But that part is enormously expensive, and the five-year payback is usually low. Anyone in industry doing this is punished by Wall Street.”

I think Canadians support companies through their ‘valley of death’ stage quite well. We just don’t grow the companies afterward; we sell them, which contributes in part to the lack of  industrial innovation in Canada. No company gets big enough to support a large industrial laboratory.

Kudos to Rosie Lombardi for an exciting and hopeful article. Do read the article, there’s a lot I couldn’t include here.

My nitpicks have nothing to do with the writer but I would like to have seen some information about health and safety and environmental issues as per NCC production and some scientific information about NCC. I expect the magazine, Canadian Business, does not encourage forays into topics that are not usually considered part of the business scene but if business is based on economics, then health, safety, and environmental concerns are important and ignored economic issues in many business magazines. As for more science information, I have to admit that’s my personal preference.

Heather Haley’s annual videopoetry festival, See the Voice: Visible Verse 2009 will take place on November 19, 2009, 7:30 pm at Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe St., Vancouver, Canada). You can read more about the festival here. This year, in addition to the short videos, the festival features a live performance by Gabrielle Everall from Australia.

Hearing like a dolphin and seeing like a cat; videopoetry; GI Joe’s nanotechnology; Casimir force research

As I’ve been exploring ideas around multimodal discourse and sensing, this article, Tech gives humans animal senses, caught my eye. Animals see and/or hear more than humans do unless the human had access to a virtual reality display at the SIGGRAPH09 conference (August 3 – 7, 2009) in New Orleans. From the article by Jason Palmer on BBC News,

The virtual reality scene is based loosely on Cocos Island, west of Costa Rica, and visitors to the exhibit can wander through the island’s forests or swim in its tropical waters, navigating with the aid of a modified Nintendo Wii game controller.

They can switch between ranges of sounds or sights that they might see.

An ultraviolet setting paints a picture rich with both normal colour and reflections we can’t normally see. Visualisation expert Fred Parke has designed the system such that it corrects for perspective as users navigate the space. The programme allows visitors to hear the infrasound vocalisations of whales or the ultrasound clicks of tiger moths.

(There’s more here including a video [prefaced by a Blackberry ad featuring U2] of visitors enjoying the display.) The article goes on to mention that animals have senses that we don’t, for example, “sharks’ ability to sense electric fields.” It’s true true you don’t have that sense unless you’re a body hacker,  “a subculture of people who embed magnetic chips into their bodies so they can sense magnetic and electromagnetic fields thereby giving themselves a sixth sense.” (I posted about body hackers here in my exploratory series about robotics and human enhancement) I’m not coming to any conclusions; I’m exploring possible connections and in that context, the interest in extending senses beyond their ‘normal’ range or adding senses come from various sectors seems significant.

On another note, it seems like a good time to mention Heather Haley’s videopoetry event which will take place in Vancouver at Pacific Cinémathèque (usually) in November. Right now she’s asking for submissions,

SEE THE VOICE: Visible Verse 2009

Call For Entries

Nearing 10 years of screenings! Please help spread the word. Thanks!

Pacific Cinémathèque and curator Heather Haley are seeking videopoem submissions from around the world for the annual Visible Verse screening and performance poetry celebration. SEE THE VOICE: Visible Verse is North America’s sustaining venue for the presentation of new and artistically significant poetry video and film.

Official guidelines:

* Visible Verse seeks videopoems, with a 15 minutes maximum duration.
* Either official language of Canada is acceptable, though if the video is in French, an English-dubbed or-subtitled version is required for consideration. Videos may originate in any part of the world, however.
* Works will be judged on true literary merit. The ideal videopoem is a wedding of word and image, the voice seen as well as heard.
* Please, do not send documentaries, as they are outside the featured genre.
* Videopoem producers should provide a brief bio, full name, and contact information in a cover letter. There is no official application form nor entry fee.

Send, at your own risk, videopoems and poetry films/preview copies (which cannot be returned) in DVD NTSC format to: VISIBLE VERSE c/o Pacific Cinémathèque, 200–1131 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2L7, Canada. Selected artists will be notified and receive a screening fee.

DEADLINE: Sept. 1, 2009

For more information contact Heather Haley at: [email protected]

You can also check out her website here.

Moving from the artsy to the commercial, the movie GI Joe opened this weekend with a villain determined to take over the world by using nanotechnology weapons. Yes, nanobots or, for this movie, nanomites. Unfortunately, the critics are more interested in excoriating the film than in explaining the ‘technology’ and my eardrums are not up to the task of watching the film but it does seem that this is another variation of K. Eric Drexler’s nanoassemblers eating up the world scenario from his book, Engines of Creation. In contrast, scientists continue their every day nanotechnology research, (from the media release on Phyorg.com)

Today’s advances in nanofabrication include the manufacture of micro- and nano-machines with moving parts separated by distances less than a micron (a micron is a millionth of a meter; a single strand of hair is approximately 100 microns). Because the distances are extremely small, the Casimir force needs to be considered in the design and function of the micro/nano-machines for efficient operation.

“The Casimir force, which is usually attractive, is also large at short separation distances between objects,” explained Mohideen, a professor of physics and the principal investigator of the grant.