The Grains Are Rough Here is a suite of 8 videopoems (13 mins 20 sec, 2021) that explores sense of place between Barcelona and Melbourne.

Opening still from 'The Grains Are Rough Here' (2021), showing a view over Barcelona rooftops, looking towards Montjuic hill.
Opening still from ‘The Grains Are Rough Here’ (2021).

The videopoems study the translocal complexities embodied in experiences of migration and transition, while tracing everyday routines at home and in the streets of Barcelona. Starting with an inward-looking and personal perspective, the videopoems slowly provide more context to the realities of Barcelona, asking questions not only about the personal migration journey, but also questioning attitudes towards a migrant ‘other’. 

Even though the suite follows a narrative of a day in Barcelona, it was informed by other places, such as Singapore and Mae Sot. Incorporating video and audio elements from several places is intended to surprise the viewer, causing them to question the narrative presented by the poet – are these videopoems presenting a physical place or are memories of past experiences distorting the representation of place?

The videopoems allude to these instances of translocal influence through imagery and sound, sometimes making visible (or audible) the overlapping place-times that informed the writing of the poems. The combination of text, aural and visual elements enabled the exploration of translocal layers of experience (through experimenting with the juxtaposition of image and sound, for example) while the text of the poem ostensibly follows the narrator through Barcelona’s streets. Sense of place is vital to this suite of videopoems, which explores the way past experiences influence the way we see our current localities. 

The videopoem suite premiered at On the Move Poetry Festival in Canberra, Australia, and is currently on offer for videopoetry and short film festivals.