Thoughts on Audio Obscura

Audio Obscura, Greenlaw, Lavinia.  Attended Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at Saint Pancras Station London.

An obscure experience in a train station, indeed. Audio Obscura was a mix of creative writing and sound.  In one light it comes across as a collage of humanity and human emotion in different forms.  There is a flow and build throughout.


At the start the sounds mimic what might be going on around you in a train station.  As we get further into the piece, musical elements appear and disappeared, tones swell and fade, the is on moment in which two dull thumps can be heard, some tones are ominous others are quite tranquil. Sometimes the job of the added sounds were to add chaos, sometimes to bring the listener into a very calm place.  Sounds flowed well with the thoughts and voices.


Looking specifically at the dialog we hear a mishmash of jokes, thoughts on losing loved ones, thoughtfulness on the obscure, gossip, random details, small talk, and all manner of other small moments in human language.  I appreciated there were a variety of accents to help diversify.  By the end we see that perhaps the main goal, consciously or subconsciously for humans is acceptance of ones self and love for all, at the same time realizing that many deny this of themselves.

First notes and thoughts during the experience:

It was good to see Lavinia had into what people think and feel, that is hear and unheard on a daily basis.  The sound accompanying did a superb job of bringing us into different moods as the subject matter changed.


Audio Adventures

Reality Radio

Reality Radio,  Telling True Stories With Sound;  Biewen, John – Editor.

I first picked this book out of curiosity and for a good read.  I have realized it could go well with the project I work on for my documentary elective.  It could go many ways but could still gain from the information in this book.  Radio documentaries, or programs can include a extremely wide range of things.  It could be a collage of interviews, or samples of music, or sounds of an area or culture.

” I still can’t put my finger on it.  What about sound, about sound coming out of a radio that captures me ”  – pg. 36, The Kitchen Sisters

Radio to most brings to mind the traditional music dj.  Which in itself if is also a great medium and can be a collage of many ideas. What I am focusing on more is radio programs that give a message in a more abstract way?


“Radio is the perfect medium for diaries…A microphone is less intrusive than a video camera, so people can be more natural, more themselves”  Pg. 131 -Joe Richman

“The process of going through hours and hours of raw audio diary tapes is like mining for gold.  Ninty percent is junk, but then every so often there are magical moments that are completely unexpected.”  Pg. 130 -Joe Richman

“Good radio, like good theatre, is a collection of scenes that interweave voices and sounds through monologues and dialogues and soundscapes.  And beneath it all is the poetry that gets us closer to that elusive heartbeat we call truth.” Pg. 127 -Dmae Roberts

“People speak in poetic rhythm. You just have to listen for it and try to keep their form when you produce a piece.”  Pg. 119 Dmae Roberts

Related ideas and inspiration:

BBC Documentaries

Poetry on the Margins