“Correspondences” by Baudelaire (1821-1867) is one of the most influential and beautiful poems in French literature. The poem established two different relationships of distinct natures: 1) the relationship among our human senses and the relationship between the physical and spiritual worlds, and 2) how these distinct relationships also correspond and intensify one another. It can be very challenge to make the important message attainable to those with no prior knowledge of the French language, French literary movements.
This interdisciplinary project developed largely in two stages. The first, which was of a literary nature, involved analyzing and translating the poem. Research was done on French literary movements as well as on the nature and techniques of translation. The second involved a translation of a different nature, translating from the written word to human experience. This was done using the virtual reality visualization technology.
Nature is a temple in which living pillars
Sometimes give voice to confused words;
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which look at him with understanding eyes.
Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance
In a deep and tenebrous unity,
Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day,
Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond.
There are perfumes as cool as the flesh of children,
Sweet as oboes, green as meadows
And others are corrupt, and rich, triumphant,
With power to expand into infinity,
Like amber and incense, musk, benzoin,
That sing the ecstasy of the soul and senses
— Charles Baudelaire
The poem was successfully translated from the written word into the realm of virtual human experience. Through the use of imagery, symbolism, and VR visualization technology, everyone can experience and understand the important message of the ambiguity that exists in the relationship of the physical to the divine.
A video has been made from the virtual environment and will be used as a visual aid for poetry courses.
Click the movie below to see the Virtual Poetry in detail.