Alexis Williams


Submarine Pompeii

Submarine Pompeii


A video remixing project where Montreal artist Alexis Williams creates a video Haiku from David Attenborough films every day for 30 days. ↓

I am writing poetry in a style that is mostly understood in my culture as simply being Japanese and having syllabic restraints. Since syllables themselves are defined differently in Japanese and in English, the interpretation of an English haiku often gets hung up on this superficial aesthetic criteria.
Submarine Pompeii haikus exist in an audio form so my syllables are counted as pronounced by David Attenborough, not as they are written or as they would be considered in Japanese.
The syllabic restraints I use are simply the rules that govern which samples I initially collect / harvest and hold in my pallet. The real poetry happens when I put the prefab phrases together to create a poem that attempts to conform to the literary aesthetics of traditional haiku and to make something that is profound, conceptual and conveys relevant meaning.
The project as a whole presents my desire to resist the custom for cultural artifacts to  be a final product that belongs to one party and cannot be further developed or reworked and the narcissistic tendency to separate human creation form nature. The original material has been studied and selected in the same manner that I study and select natural specimens for use in my art, and is being used as a raw material that was a product of our culture.
The poems celebrate the cultivation of language and ideas as living and evolving characters of our nature.
The appropriation of snippets of natural science films reworked into independent  ideas represents the infinite connections between many lives and non linear schools of thought as well as the belief of an underlying order to the universe.

These artworks are created as evidence to my deep respect for the creators of the origional content, the adventurers, the writters, the photographers and editors and a sincere love for David Attenborough.



30, 31 & 32 Incognito

There was almost another one of these: A master of stealth, She toboggans down the slope, in total silence. The visuals would have been a polar bear rolling down a hill, and you know polar bears, like snow are white.

33 & 34 Mushroom Moon


I love haiku with alternate endings


27 & 28 Extinction

I hate it when people say "67% of polar bears..." and show me pictures of poor animals to make me feel ashamed to be human, but this heartbreaking footage was begging to be a haiku. This polar bear swam for days before finding solid ground where he lost a battle against a walrus. These were some of the first samples I collected and squirrelled away until now. I might come back to it to make a larger, clearer series for a competition or festival some time. (I don't think it's obvious in this version that the disaster vanishing means extinction)


26 Sensible Shoes

I made this last week and discarded it because it wasn't good enough. But its funny, and has a cut so I'll include it to help get up to 30 by the end of the week.


25 Sixteen Earwigs

Modern Japanese haiku do not always follow the 17 syllable rule, some times they have less, the poem must however be said in one breath. This haiku has only 16 syllables, but it has a profound kiru, where the earwig transcends from a disgusting bug to some ones mother.

I particularly like this one because it is completely natural. No editing was needed to create this poem.


24 Flight

Getting closer to my final crit, working away at the two main David Attenborough non haiku remixes, I realize that I do not yet have 30 haiku as promised! I wish I could post all my samples for you guys to help me, but that would be a whole other logistical nightmare.


23 & 29 Freedom

Today's Haiku is 2 haikus that work together to make the cut. There is not a seasonal change, but the implication of liberation works for me.


David Attenborough Remix Cole Porter

No haiku today, Here is a list instead.


22 A/V

This one obviously needs a wonderful visual and sonic punchline. To Come.


21 Perception

After a 2 week hiatus from the project I'm back with some new poems. My lists of raw materiel got too big for me to face. Now I am working with three screens, almost enough to see all the lines at once and am feeling much more motivated to gather the materiel for the final piece.
I expect it will take a few days for me to get back into the swing of it and able to make legit haikus, but this one at least has a bit of a cut.



I can't face another haiku tonight. I'll post this as place holder with every intention of improving it and reuploading it in the future.

I feel like I'm finally getting into the groove of Haikuing, but am inspired to sample the original materiel down to real abstractions and to rebuild something much more meaningful. I expect these Haikus to become just the exercise that enables the real work. Tomorrow I'll show these haikus in mu studio in Montreal for the Concordia University MFA studio Open house between 1:30 and 6:30. Come on down for some art and some pop corn.


20 Death

I really like the first part of this one. I'll reuse it when I find some footage of David Attenborough talking about death and the afterlife.


19 Evolution of Dance

Au naturel



18 Poo

Today's Video Haikus are silly in celebration of my paper revealing it self as only needing to be 1200 words long and miraculously being finished.


17 Invisible

I'm allowed to deviate from the rules if they are replaced by an appropriate degree of absurdity.


16 Hypnopompic

If you don't know where you are, it's hard to tell when you are either. The bliss of hypnopompic amnesia.


15 Humanity

We are part of nature.


14 Freshness

My favourite so far.
I am trying to include a 'cut' (kireji) in each haiku, this one has a double cut when the particle turns from solid, to gas,and back to solid again. I like that it is visceral, but think I can do better. I'm striving to make strong conceptual cuts, but since I am committed to make one every day a lot of these so far do not have a cut, or a season (kigo), so are not really good haikus but I am including them any way. Some of the best cuts emerge after watching a few times so it is worth putting some of the sillier haikus up for contemplation.


13 Seclusion

A haiku made from remixed David Attenborough films.



12 Astonished

I continue to make a video Haiku made from remixed David Attenborough films every day.


11 Windfall

I missed this one yesterday. A repeat with the darkest, coldest phrase, but still encouraging.


10 Resurection

I will make one video haiku from remixed David Attenborough films every day this month. The Youtube channel DA30daychallenge was the original sight for this project but as I've become infuriated with their account management I've moved over here, so I will upload 11 videos today and continue uploading one every day for the rest of the month.


9 Fractimals

Day nine in the David Attenborogh Haiku challenge where I make a haiku by remixing David Attenborogh documentaries each day for a month.


8 Methodology

I managed a week of my David Attenborogh Haiku Challenge where I create a haiku by remixing David Attenborogh films every day.


7 Patience

Haiku made from remixing David Attenborough films.


6 Independance

Haiku made from remixing David Attenborough films.



5 Personification

5th Haiku in the David Attenborough 30 day Haiku challenge.


4 Sarcasm



3 Irony


2 Paradox

Day 2 of David Attenborough Haiku challenge. I will create and post a haiku by remixing David Attenborough documentaries every day for the next month.


1 Seventeen

I will create and post a haiku made from David Attenborough documentaries every day for the next month.