This is a world in which all meaning has been untethered from the ground of its origins and all signposts point to the road that you make up as you travel through the text – DJ Spooky
In much of Nichol’s work, the poem is built in the movement from element to element — in travel, in memory, and in the movement of words on the page during the act of writing and reading. The specific quality of the movement produces the poem or, in this instance, a part of a poem.
In The Complete Works, this segment from Nichol’s work, The Martyrology, uses a hands-on compositing technique to combine the text and picture to remix the original recording and text. The sequence is based on footage shot while we were traveling to meet the authors who would be performing for the film. The “compositing” uses lines from the poem printed onto transparent film and then placed, by hand, over the moving image sequence as it plays back on a monitor. This process is reshot and edited together to create the final composition.
The Complete Works involves re-reading and re-inscribing Nichol’s poetry. The Page is a Window segment physically rearranges and recombines the text to create something new—literally along a “road that you make up as you travel through the text.” The page cannot metaphorically be a window — transparent — because there is always the materiality of the page and text combined with the complex network of cultural and political contexts within.