This is a ‘portrait of the artist‘ poetry collection in video form.
The recommendation is that the viewer watches the entire video and does not dip in and out, as one could a written collection.
The video is 37 minutes long.
CW There are words in this video that some may find offensive.
Below the video is more information about the project.

DULL is available for events. This would mean the showing of a film in it’s entirety followed by a Q&A session.
Please email pete@peteland.co.uk for more information


About DULL

DULL is a poetry/video project that was premiered in Southampton in December 2017.
DULL is intended to be a portrait of the artist in the form of a collection of short poems that are roughly categorised as: Memories; Encounters and Fantasies.
Memories are random extracts from the artists past.
Encounters are contemporary conversations with, or experiences of, other people.
Fantasies are inner thoughts or experiences.

By weaving these three threads together, it is hoped that a whole picture of the artists life, at the time of creating the video, will become apparent, although the collection is described as a sketch as including all aspects of a life is a lifetime’s work.

The writing is intended to be as emotionless as possible, just ‘show not tell’ – simply ‘matter-of-fact’ with no judgement or comment, leaving the reader or audience to come to their own conclusions, but also reflecting passive engagement in the events portrayed.

Similarly the colour vibrancy of the video was deliberately suppressed to give a sense that the situations and thoughts being expressed are somehow distant and not fully engaged with.

DULL Has been screened in Southampton (launch event, Dec 2017), Brighton (New Writing South, May 2018) and Port Eliot Literature Festival (July 2018)

On the occasions that the video has been shown ‘live’ it has been followed by a question and answer session (after a short further reading) during which audience members are invited to ask questions and the artist will answer the questions as truthfully as possible. This is still part of the DULL experience.

The three Q and A sessions were recorded at the showings and can be viewed below.

Q&A sessions

The Process

Having collected and put in order a series of short writings and poems that I felt illustrated my feelings about my life at the time of making the collection, I thought I would arrange a launch reading during which I would read the entire collection as unemotionally as possible, so keeping the reading dull. However I decided I was not able to present the collection like this and thought that I would ask other people to read the poems for me, but how would I find enough other readers? How would I be able to afford to pay them to read for me? Then I hit on the idea of videoing other people reading the poems and editing those videos together to form one single reading. So this video was formed.
I put out a call on Facebook asking for volunteers to film themselves speaking the poems, asking them to email the clips to me so that I could edit them together for the video. Fortunately I received enough interest to create the whole video.
I sent copies of the poems in both poem and script form to each volunteer plus instructions on how to film themselves: they were to use the best digital video recorder they had to hand (phone, camcorder, digital camera) and to film themselves in landscape format with only their head and shoulders in the frame. It was preferred that the readers learned the poems and spoke them as if they were telling their own story.
When I had received the clips I then edited them together and edited sound using the free Lightworks and Windows Movie Live video editing software and Audacity sound editing software. It was an important part of the process to use free software. The video had to be DIY and made on as small a budget as possible.
Being the sort of person who ‘gets bored’ of projects, one of the biggest challenges was to push through the urge to abandon the project and to see it to completion. I also had to ignore the urge to edit, tweak and cut some of the poems and stay true to the original vision, no matter how I felt about the quality of the writing.
The entire process, from call-out to launch, took 18 months, which included several months of inaction.

The launch event took place in an empty shop unit on the first floor of a building that was due for demolition. This was aimed at further enhancing the audiences experience of the emotionless and isolated state hinted at in the collection. The room was also scattered with closed cardboard boxes of various sizes, indicating that some things were ‘packed away’ within the mind and not for show. In a sense, the room represented physically stepping into the artists emotional state.

I created an A5 pamphlet of the poems using Open Office and I designed a cover based on the popular ‘adult colouring books’ graphics.
Each pamphlet comes with a set of coloured pencils, inviting the owner to add their own colour to the collection.
A copy of the pamphlet was given to each contributor and was available free at the launch event.


Copies of the DULL pamphlet are available to buy. Please email pete@peteland.co.uk for more information



‘Moving and beautiful and genuine.
By far the most interesting and unusual and innovative and moving poetry event I’ve been to in a very long time. A really unusual beautiful piece of work. An intense intimate thing.’

Rosy Carrick Author, poet. Southampton launch.

‘Your heart may ache. You may wonder why it is called ‘DULL’.
It was beautiful and one of the most honest pieces of art I have witnessed.
I hope you get to see it too.
… the confessional-judgement-vulnerability aspect chimed hugely . So glad to be part of it, thank you.’

Dave Hubble Artist, poet, art blogger. Southampton launch.

‘I genuinely thought it was excellent and loved hearing/seeing/witnessing your work.’
Joshua Jones Poet. Southampton launch.

‘It was brilliant, engrossing, moving and beautifully put together’.
Ricky Tart Musician, poet. Southampton launch.

‘It was beautiful – a privilege to be there.’
Claudia Friend Artist. Southampton launch.

‘I’m a complete illiterate when it comes to poetry, I know nothing about poetry, I don’t go and see poetry, don’t read it, it’s all a completely new world to me, but I found that completely engrossing and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It’s really accessible to people outside the poetry world.’

Deborah Knight Audience. Southampton launch.

‘Privileged to be there and listen. Devastatingly honest.’
Dillon Jaxx Poet. Brighton showing.

‘Excellent project. I really enjoyed the rawness, the humour and the democracy of form which inevitably changed the exact meaning and emotion behind your words. Brave but smart too.’
Ni All Poet. Brighton showing.

‘I just want to say that I really loved it. It was really lovely’
Audience feedback. Port Elliot Literature Festival showing

‘I really liked it because a lot of poetry you go to listen to now – poetry slams – seems to be self oriented, egotistical if you like. I really liked the lack of egoism you gave them. That was marvellous I thought – not self-indulgent.’
Audience feedback. Port Elliot Literature Festival showing

‘I really love this. It’s strange and stark and unexpectedly moving. The words are precise and beautiful. Or not beautiful, but somehow beautiful in their collective strength. I think you’ve made something special.’ 
Nathan Filer Author, poet. (having seen the video online only)

‘It’s a very moving piece, and the writing is so strong.
Obviously it’s also a deeply personal piece, and I was very struck by the way it impacts, having so many voices on it. I think it’s a very intelligent and creative approach to take with it, and really opens it out into something additional to the autobiographical.
It is an engaging, moving and provocative piece, and obviously also a huge amount of work.’

Rosemary Harris, author, poet, theatre director. (having seen the video online only)

… it isn’t a poetry film by the standard definition – but to me it is a very interesting concept.  … it is very vital in its actuality of real life daily occurrences that we all experience and feel or think about. 
So, really a series of recitations that convey more than a live ‘performance’ because they are intimate and therefore transmitting something much more psychological (through body language as well). There is a feeling of being close to the edge in some cases, and yet surviving – just. This isn’t an art form but a real life examination of real life. So there is a strong connection to what is being said, right from the start. Close to documentary in feel it is really much more of the moment, unadorned and without any sense of being presented with something –  I would say that it has its own integrity in its type – and does get close to the poets themselves in a way that is much more affecting I think than a public space.
Your whole process is fresh and provides much food for thought because many of the readers did not seem like they were reading someone else’s poem at all – whether that matters or not is another point.
… it does fall into the category of art installation, verbal art installation (I would have to think about this further but certainly would like to do so).  With my background I can think of other experimental art films that could be spoken of in the same breath.’ 

Sarah Tremlett (Liberated Words) poetry filmmaker, writer, artist and arts journalist/theorist. (having seen the video online only)