area: Media Art
recommending institutionFulbright Commission
time periodMarch 2017 - April 2017
Karen Rodriguez is a producer at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, where she produces films on conservation and science. Her first job was on the film set of Rick Schmidt’s independent feature American Orpheus, where she started out working on the crew and ended up acting in the film, her first and last on-screen role. Her independently produced documentaries have been screened in festivals around the world. One film, Notes on Liberty, was selected as one of 30 films in the 2010 American Documentary Showcase sponsored by The U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She traveled with a delegation to Poland to present the film along with other independently produced documentaries. Since 2013, she has curated the Upstate Shorts screenings for the annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival in Ithaca, NY. She holds a M.F.A in Film and Video Production from the University of Iowa. She has taught film production at Emerson College and Ithaca College.
For the Q21/MusuemsQuartier Artist-in-Residence Fulbright award, I propose to create a short film based on Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler’s poem “Abschied” (translated as “Farewell.”) The film will use text, image, and sound to present and translate the poem into a visual medium—a cine-poem.
I propose to interpret the short poem—which is quite abstract and elegiac—three times in the film—once each in German, English, and a third language to be determined by experiences at the residency. I’ve chosen this poem for its brevity, its lack of concrete imagery, as well as its beauty in the original language.
Each version would be in a different language and also interpret the poem in a different way—one as a poem to a former lover, another as a goodbye to a city, and another as a goodbye to a country or way of life.
My intention is to use the main train station in Vienna as the image and location that binds the three versions together. The Vienna Hauptbahnhof is a highly modern station and is an apt metaphor to the idea of farewell represented in the poem. The film is a commentary on the challenge and fluidity of translation and interpretation in both poetry and life.