Jones, Peluce collaborate on poetry exhibition

'5 by '5 poetry exhibition attracts Oak Park teachers, features poetry by Jones, visual art by Peluce

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Physics and engineering teacher Ken Jones and digital arts teacher Tony Peluce combined their artistic talents in a poetry performance Dec. 9 in downtown Ventura.

The event, called “5 by 5 by 5,” features five local artists performing five art performances in five minutes. The performance involved an original poetry piece by Jones with a backdrop of digital media art pieces created by Peluce.

“I was asked to perform in this show a while back but wanted to do a multimedia performance with my poems,” Jones said. “I spoke with Peluce about my poems about time, and he is really interested in time, so it seemed like something we could collaborate on.”

Jones, a lifelong poet, meets monthly with a poetry group in Ventura. There, he performs pieces about various subject matter on nature, relationships and physics.

It’s all about promoting education with the sciences and arts to bring together both forms. We are bringing together that gap because they’re really aren’t that different.”

— Tony Peluce

For his recent performance, Jones’s ideas emerged with drawings and poems that complemented his background in science. Peluce created an animated loop for each of the four poems Jones performed, emphasizing different themes in each part.

“He intertwines principles of physics with life and I’ve always been interested in how science meets art,” Peluce said.

Starting with the concept of time, the pair began work to make their respective pieces combine seamlessly.

“We wanted the art to enclose the audience around my talking, rather than [pushing them] further away,” Jones said. “The hardest thing was fitting the poems to the timing of the video playing in the background.”

To accomplish this, Jones walked back and forth across his classroom during a prep period, memorizing the lines of his poetry to perfect the timing.

On the night of the event, teachers from Oak Park High School as well as local artists applauded the duo’s artistic performance.

Poetry comes alive when people speak it … reading it is great too, but speaking it makes a big difference. I think once they come to reach that, they’ll enjoy poetry more”

— Ken Jones

After their success Dec. 9, the pair plans on expanding the project to possibly involve live music and to create a larger stage production.

“I’m currently trying to get the same piece into the Electric Lodge [a performance studio in Venice] to perform it around February or March,” Jones said. “Peluce didn’t get to put in all the animations he wanted to … by then we could have the piece completed.”

But the duo’s collaboration also extends into their relative school subjects.

“It’s all about promoting education with the sciences and arts to bring together both forms,” Peluce said. “We are bringing together that gap because they’re really aren’t that different.”

In the meantime, Jones is coordinating the first school-wide, student-based poetry recitation competition, scheduled for Jan. 24.

The school recitation precedes a larger, annual event called “Poetry Out Loud,” which is a national competition in which millions of students compete by reciting a chosen poem in front of a panel of judges. Competitors that succeed are able to ultimately advance to the national competition in April.

“I had been a judge at a one of the competitions at another school the previous year and knew a little bit about it, but I signed [OPHS] up not knowing if there would be any takers,” Jones said.

Currently, 12 students have signed up for the competition, with more expected to join before winter break.

“Poetry comes alive when people speak it … reading it is great too, but speaking it makes a big difference,” Jones said. “I think once they come to reach that, they’ll enjoy poetry more.”

 

 

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