A Calendar of “Eye-Pod Poems”: Jonas Mekas and the 365 Day Project


  • Angelo Maria Grossi




Jonas Mekas, 365 Day Project, transmedia storytelling, diary film, convergence culture


In 2007 (only one year after the launch of YouTube) Lithuanian-American avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas embarked on his first transmedial creation between cinema and the Internet, entitled 365 Day Project. Radicalizing the performative dimension which had characterized his experimental diary films, the then-octogenarian Mekas—one of the seminal figures of the “New American cinema”— challenged himself to create and publish a short film on his website for each day of the year 2007. All the short films (whose running time ranged from one and a half to twenty minutes) were free to be downloaded on the day of their publication, while later they could be bought for an inexpensive price. Footages were both old and new, creating a fragmented temporality (resulting in shifts in years, locations and topics) that brought the immediacy of the diary form into dialogue with memory and history. Mekas called these videos “eye-pod poems,” a wordplay that, on the one hand, indicated the confluence of aesthetic forms (film-poems, almost enacting Alexandre Astruc’s prophecy of the caméra-stylo), while, on the other, showcased an awareness of the plurality of the then-new devices through which they could be viewed. In fact, some of the films were not available to online viewing only, but were also displayed in various exhibitions.

Drawing on Henry Jenkins’ theories, this essay analyzes Mekas’ online film project as a creation that exemplifies the collision between old and new artistic media—typical of what Jenkins has called “convergence culture” (2006). Comparing the aesthetic strategies of Mekas’ online project with those of his diary films, the essay also argues that Mekas anticipated the modes of self-narration and self-representation of the social media, albeit with an unquestionably lyrical and artistic quality.

Author Biography

Angelo Maria Grossi

Angelo Maria Grossi received his PhD in American literature from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in 2018, with a dissertation that explores David Foster Wallace’s work through the interpretative prism of film theory. His research is generally focused on the cross-fertilization between cinema and contemporary American literature. Upcoming is an article on the use of the cinematic ekphrasis in the work of the Chicano poet Tino Villanueva. He has also recently completed the translation of a philosophical book-length study on the relationship between comedy and philosophy, Comedy, Seriously by Dmitri Nikulin, which will be published soon by Quodlibet.


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