Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Tiny objects hide stanzas of New Zealand Poet Laureate

Tiny objects hide stanzas of New Zealand Poet Laureate


At first glance it looks like a display of typical every-day objects. There’s a piece of cardboard, a bus pass, a camera lens and a piece of coal, alongside a paua shell, a watch and a chunk of glass.

But each object has a secret. Invisible to the naked eye, scribed by very short laser pulses in microscopic letters is a poem by Ian Wedde, New Zealand Poet Laureate 2011-2013.

This extraordinary feat called Poetry off the Page is a collaboration that had its origins last year in the English department course of the same name, co-taught by Professor Michele Leggott and Professor Helen Sword at the University of Auckland.

Ian visited the Poetry off the Page students in September 2012 to talk about his role as New Zealand Poet Laureate and to read the first ten sections of his evolving poem Shadow Stands Up. Later the 21 students took stanzas of the poem into communities of their own choice, real and virtual. Ian's poem appeared in neighbourhood letterboxes, on the Link bus and on wine bottles in a local Glengarry store. It went to a city pub quiz, to Poetry Live at a pub in K Road, to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, FictionPress and Tumbler sites. It morphed through an email chain and it went to the beach in a beer bottle.

The students then picked ten inscribed objects, one for each of the first ten sections of Shadow Stands Up. Next they visited the University’ Photon Factory to meet and talk with Director Cather Simpson and her team of science and engineering students about laser micromachining stanzas of Ian's poem onto the objects.

The Arts, Science and Engineering students worked together to finalise designs for the laser-written objects.

Ian says the poem was inspired by journeys on the Link bus and looking through the transparent and reflective environment of the bus window.

He says the project reminds him of his favourite museum, the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, Los Angeles, where you find objects such as tiny sculptures that can fit inside the eye of a needle.

"It’s certainly off the page and on to something else. I just think it’s kind of fun and kind of quirky."

The objects, microscopic images of the laser writing, and some of Ian's notes for Shadow Stands Up are in the University's General Library special collections section and the project has been displayed in the library foyer of the University’s General Library. Special Collections Manager Stephen Innes, with help from Simpson and science student Jake Martin, curated objects within the collection, which are now part of the University's library archives.

Jake has created a video presentation which can be viewed on You Tube by this link:http://youtu.be/ytNa8C6j1BU

You can also see the work on the website at poetryoffthepage.org.nz
Jake says the most difficult object to laser micromachine was the paua shell, and several were sacrificed in the making of the display.

He explains that each stanza was typed into a computer programme before being programmed into the laser system. The laser then engraved the stanzas using millions of tiny dots to form each letter.

The laser does its scribing by hitting the material with a tightly focused series of pulses. Simpson says, "each of our high-tech pulses is a billionth of a second long, or less – much faster than a human can see light."

"The method we use is very important in high-tech manufacturing, and we recently received a $7.8M grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to make laser micromachining more economically viable for NZ industry," Cather says. "This project was fun and innovative, and showed just how far laser technology can stretch!"

Despite knowing where they had chosen to laser the stanzas, even the students occasionally struggled to find where they themselves had put the poem.

"It could sometimes be a little challenging to see," Cather says.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: The Stolen Island: Searching for ‘Ata by Scott Hamilton

Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Pretence. No Bullshit. Fine Poem.

John Dickson doesn’t publish much; never has. Indeed, this new collection is his first such in 18 years. As he wryly and dryly states,

I’ve published two slim volumes, and spent all
My time working on the next.
(from Wasp p.67) More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays On Place From Aotearoa NZ

The New Zealand landscape undoubtedly is very beautiful, but so is the British one, and my attachment to this country is much more about some particular places, and the memories and emotions that in them combine, than it is about the landscape as a whole. More>>

Canonisation Fodder: Suzanne Aubert Declared ‘Venerable’

Suzanne Aubert, the founder of the Sisters of Compassion New Zealand’s home grown order of Sisters, has been declared ‘venerable’, a major milestone on the path to sainthood in the Catholic Church. More>>

“I Have Not Performed Well Enough”: Ernie Merrick Leaving Wellington Phoenix

Ernie Merrick has stepped down from his position as Wellington Phoenix FC Head Coach. The club would like to thank Ernie for his contribution to Wellington Phoenix and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. More>>

Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news