Haiku in Motion: Kinetic Typography Enhances Poetic Meaning
Traditional Japanese haiku is a paradox; it encompasses an often spiritual moment of clarity or insight, yet expresses it within a more or less rigid set of rules. When expressed visually, these haiku are called haiga, and often take the form of beautifully rendered paintings combining image and words using ink and brush in a purposefully simple manner, using as few brush strokes as possible. Kinetic typography offers an opportunity to present the words of a haiku in a dynamic way without the literalism inherent in a representational image. By presenting type moving dynamically across time, the reader (now reader/viewer) is able to explore the meaning of a poem in ways not obvious before. It creates a temporal experience that extends meaning by drawing the viewer into the experience of the poem. This presentation will look at samples of kinetic typography applied to haiku and compare them with traditional haigas, exploring how the medium affects understanding and interpretation. Current research into the link between kinetic typography and experienced emotion will be reviewed.
Keywords: Haiku, Kinetic Typography, Visual Poetry, Typography in Motion
Assistant Professor, Ryerson University