Synopsis: Talk of the Town is a microfilm created by a poet and artist during the 2020 pandemic shutdown. That spring, time melted and people asked, “What day is this?” One marker for Didi Goldenhar was the weekly arrival of The New Yorker in Jackson Heights, Queens. The magazine radiated with new meanings and sparked a poem which she sent to Quin de la Mer in California. Committing the poem to memory, Quin took a long walk in the desert where the motion of palm fronds resonated with the verse. The film shows how these two seemingly separate parts express a global, even universal, connection.
Edith "Didi" Goldenhar
DIDI: Starting in March and throughout the early months of the pandemic, I lost track of time. Sheltering in place, days turned into weeks, punctuated by silence OR sirens. One reliable marker was The New Yorker arriving in my mailbox each Wednesday. The perennial sections – like Talk of the Town – radiated with new meaning. So this New Yorker wrote a poem and sent it to Quin in California.
QUIN: After reading Didi’s poem and committing it to memory, I took a long walk. It was dusk and California’s Colorado Desert was still 109 degrees fahrenheit. A gentle breeze put large palm fronds in motion, and it seemed they were speaking with the poem in my head. Filming the visual communication and setting the poem to spoken word, the piece united two seemingly separate parts, expressing a global, even universal connection.
QUIN DE LA MER is a conceptual artist based primarily in California. Grounded in place-related processes, Quin wanders this world making work about the unraveling of life on planet earth caused by the global apartheid that exists between those that have and those that do not. She is particularly focused on the gap between the human species and the non-human earth community. Quin earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Inquiry & Interdisciplinary Arts from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Currently, she is a doctoral student in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at CIIS where she is combinging philosophical enquiry with artistic practice.
DIDI GOLDENHAR is a writer based in Jackson Heights, New York. Her nonfiction explores issues of social justice, activist networks, and women’s leadership. Her poems are steeped in personal and historical memory. In her recent documentary, Return to Calais, these themes intersect in a story about refugees past and present. In 2019-2020, the film toured festivals in the UK and the USA as the recipient of multiple awards. In 2022, Return to Calais will screen at the Ethnografilm Festival in Paris.