Carol Novack & Jean Detheux
with Donald Meyer, Victoria Johnson



Refuge (sketch 1) from Jean Detheux on Vimeo.

Just weeks before she died in December 2011, Carol Novack sent me "Refuge," a prose poem she hoped I could create a movie with/for/to.

We had already done two movies together, "Civil War" and "Destination", and I also did the cover and over a dozen illustrations for her book "Giraffes in Hiding" (

"Refuge" was a challenge, the first two movies were done with the voice of Carol reciting her own work, she of course was no longer alive to record her text. That's when Donald Meyer, the composer who created the sound track of "Destination," agreed to help. He enlisted Victoria Johnson who provided the voice, and he began working with the recording, mixing, arranging, to finally give me the audio that became the base for the images.

I am not sure this is the "final" (video) version (hence "sketch 1"), but given December 29 is the anniversary of Carol's death, I wanted to publish it as a celebration of her memory.

I hope she found her town, her refuge.


Jean Detheux: Belgian born, graduate of the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts (Liège).

In Canada/U.S since 1971.

Has taught “Art” in Canada and the US (NY Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, NYU, Concordia U., Alberta College of Art, etc.).

Artwork (natural media and digital) in private/public collections (in Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle-East).

Left natural media (1997, due to sudden deadly allergies to painting materials) for digital technology (started exploring “time-based art”).

Films with the National Film Board of Canada (“Liaisons” and “Rupture”), numerous films in festivals since 2005.

Focuses on the importance of the hand gesture in image making (“le geste révélateur”), and especially, on the exploration of “inherent animation” (that which is done/found “by accident”), avoids “smarts” like the plague, believes that the conceptual approach is at a dead-end.

Numerous lectures (in the US, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Lebanon, Belgium), conducts master-classes (including in music schools), has written many articles (AWN, SAGE, VFXWorld, NFB, The Wig, International Journal of Arts and Technology, etc.) makes films and also participates in concerts, creating images in real-time in collaboration with musicians (improvising and/or not).

Visit Jean's website here.


Carol Novack's website here.


Donald Meyer: Composer and Musicologist Don Meyer, Professor of Music at Lake Forest College in Northern Illinois, composes music for independent films, dancers, plays, and commercials.


Victoria Johnson is an actor and voice-over artist working in Chicago.


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MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014