Anatomy of Melancholy

by Sara-Jane Crowson

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Labyrinth Establishment

by Sarah-Jane Crowson

Artist Statement:

Both visual poems intersect with Sarah-Jane Crawson’s doctoral research, which explores alternative narratives of education and ideas of the "critical radical rural.’ 

For "Labyrinth/Establishment" she re-uses images that portray various spaces of "establishment"; for example, illustrations of the courthouse and romanticized historical representations of rural spaces. She–quite literally–subverts these; rotating, warping and layering them in photoshop to create a new image, using and re-imagining ideas of "traditional" to make a new type of space.

She populates this new space with "golden threads" of wonder—strange objects that blend classical and folk mythology to explore what we might discover in our personal labyrinths. Her poem also uses "establishment" techniques—iambic pentameter and tetrameter, but combines these with contemporary animation and digital collage.

"Anatomy of Melancholy" uses found words from Bachelard’s "Poetics of Space," and again uses digital collage to create an expansive imaginary space, populated by hybrid creatures. 

In this imagined space, (as in Burton’s "Anatomy of Melancholy"), ideas as diverse as depression, boils, and gnomes might co-exist harmoniously in a single text or artifact. 

Both visual poems are underpinned by Henri Lefebvre’s notions of art/poetry as a place where "myriad possibilities might be, at first, imagined, and then–such is the power of imaginative representations of space–begin to inform the way our wider social worlds are created, offering possibilities for social change."

Sarah-Jane Crowson's poetry and visual poetry can be found in a variety of online and print journals, and has been shortlisted for various awards. She is interested in exploring the space between real and imagined in a gently subversive way. Inspired by fairytales, nature, psychogeography and surrealism, Sarah-Jane uses bricolage to investigate the unusual and surprising using words. You can find her on Twitter @Sarahjfc