Polite Safety Notice: A National Poetry Competition filmpoem by Aindri C

The Poetry Society are excited to present Polite Safety Notice, a filmpoem by Aindri C, based on Mark Fiddes’s poem of the same name, which won third prize in the 2018 National Poetry Competition.

 

We caught up with the director, Aindri C, to find out about how this mesmerising film came together.

Two similar sketches side-by-side of a man sat on a bench. In one, the man's head is on fire, in the other, it's not.
Sketches of what would later become frames of animation.

What drew you to this style of animation for this poem?
When Helmie Stil [the film’s producer] and I were discussing the poem we thought that the level of abandonment conveyed in it felt too irreversible. We saw a connect with climate change. The crisis with patriarchy and consumption is so ingrained that any kind of reform will require profound shifts in our social structures. I was making a catalogue of monoprint textures of food that I had grown in the summer and we realised that the same process could be used to create an archive of everyday non-biodegradable objects: plastic bottles, spoons, polythene bags, straws, etc. I also worked with oil and grease.

Were there any ways that having a poem as your source material placed restrictions on your creative process, or made things more challenging?
The ending of the poem was important for us to convey the connection between toxic power and environmental degradation. I felt the monoprint textures were not enough and in the end we settled for the symbol of the leaf, on its own, which I hope will convey the message more clearly.

Can you talk us through the steps that it took to create and animate this film?

Aindri C's process for creating the monoprints in the film.
The monoprinting process.

I constructed each scene with the materials on to a geli plate and the animation was made from several runs of each print, sequenced together.

Who are some of your influences? Which filmmakers would you recommend to people who have enjoyed Polite Safety Notice?

My main influence has been Gyotaku (‘fish printing’) – a form of nature printing developed by Japanese fishermen to record their catches in the 1800s. I admire the way monoprints can also be a way of recording objects.