“REFLECTING ON RED DARKNESS” – POET DENIS JOHNSON & ARTIST SAM MESSER

“Red Darkness” is a poem that Denis Johnson (Writing Fellow 1981-1982) wrote in response to Sam Messer’s (Visual Fellow 1981-1982) paintings and drawings that were part of Sam’s solo Fellow exhibition in 1982. It was the first of many collaborations between the two dear friends. At the show’s opening on February 20, 1982, Denis had printed out copies of his poem “Red Darkness” with a cover that was printed at the local printshop. Denis read the poem, while a slide projector showed more of Sam’s paintings. It was truly a special evening. Years later, in 2012, Denis recounted to Sam that the order of the lines within the poem actually came from Denis asking friends to pick the lines randomly out of his hat one by one – and he kept that order for the poem. “Reflecting on Red Darkness” is a new video-in-progress of the first three stanzas of the poem – it will eventually include all six stanzas. This new video piece, produced and edited by Russell Jaffe, and narrated by Liev Schreiber, has been created to celebrate the 39th anniversary of that wonderful night. The video features "48 Curiosities" by Nyla van Ingen (remixed by Russell Yaffe). Click below to watch the video.