October 2019

1619 - The New York TimesThis is a series that "examines the long shadow of slavery". Starting with the arrival of a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans in…

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September 2019

If - Sherre DeLys and John JacobsThis is a stunning piece produced in 2002 and inspired by the New Children's Hospital at Westmead. It lives in a blurry grey spot…

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August 2019

That Infernal Noise (Der var en infernalsk støj-net) - Niels Pugholm A sound art piece by the Danish sound artist Niels Pugholm. This is a Google translation of the Danish…

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July 2019

Moon Graffiti - The TruthTo celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Truth has replayed (repodcast?) their first ever episode, back from 2010. The story is…

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June 2019

Your Undivided Attention - Centre for Humane Technology: This is a new podcast from CHT, a nonprofit organisation set up by a bunch of ex-silicon valley dudes who have seen the error of the former was and are now on a mission to reverse the evils of technology and "realign it with humanity". Episodes 1 and 2 feature Natasha Dow Schüll, the author of Addiction by Design. Schüll's book looks at the addictive nature of pokies - she's spent years studying how they hold people in an endless loop of play. The parallels with social media and smartphone design are quite terrifying.

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Audiocraft Podcast Festival
📷 by Ash Berdebes

Audiocraft Podcast Festival

Audiocraft Podcast Festival is the most important event of the year for audio makers and podcast fans seeking to connect and collaborate with Australia’s passionate audio community.  At the 2019 I festival, I chaired a panel titled Stories and squiggly lines with multi-disciplinary artist and musician, Becky Sui Zhen, and Sam Haren, artistic director of Sandpit.

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May 2019

Is America Ready to Make Reparations? - The New Yorker Radio Hour: This podcast is one of few that I am actually subscribed to and have set to automatically download and enter my queue. In my view, the New Yorker consistently publishes some of the best writing in the world and their podcast is usually of an equally high calibre - albeit less carefully crafted than the magazine. This short series on the case for reparations to African-Americans includes the voices of Ta-Nehisi Coates and a bunch of other, lesser-known clever people, as well as the particularly interesting story about the history of Georgetown University and how students voted to pay reparations to the descendants of the enslaved people who built it.


Itch - Pitt Medcast: This eight minute episode of the University of Pittsburgh's medical school podcast explains the interesting relationship between pain and itch, as well as some interesting recent breakthroughs in this surprisingly complex matter of neurobiology. Thanks to Caroline Crampton's podcast recommendation feed The Listener for this one.
Sound and Health Cities - 99 Percent invisible: I'm writing this recommendation from a Hong Kong hotel room where I'm hiding from the incessant barrage of jack hammers, pile drivers, heavy hands on car horns and loud, hissing busses one is subjected to on or near street level (19 floors up I have relative quiet). This episode examines how little attention has been paid to sound in cities and the impacts of this neglect. There's a ray of hope in words from people championing good sound design but I remain pessimistic and sometimes want to run away to live in the wilderness. Then I realise I lack survival skills and this is a terrible idea. Maybe just a country town?

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April 2019

Forest 404 - BBC Radio 4: I am not the biggest fan of audio drama, although I do have a couple of regular exceptions to the rule such as The Truth and Everything is Alive. Here's another exception. BBC describes it as immersive sci-fi drama with unique soundscapes and accompanying talks. The story is set in a future with no trees and the protagonist's job is to delete the excessive bytes of data irresponsibly created by the humans of 'the slow times' (us!). The storyline is whatever you call the audio equivalent of a page turner. Each episode is then accompanied by a short talk (<10 mins) from an of expert about some aspect of nature and humans. Then there's also a nature soundscape for each episode.


We Don't Say That - Rough Translation:  This episode describes some fascinating linguistic issues relating to how the French language describes blackness (as in people who are black). And introduces some particularly admirable people out to change the French language for the better.
The Chinese Surveillance State - The Daily: This two part episode gives a good overview into the crazy shit that has been rolled out in China over the past ten or so years. The first part focuses on Kashgar, a mostly Uyghur city in Xinjiang, in the far north west of China. Security was already pretty intense when I went to Kashgar in 2011. Now it sounds dystopian. The second part tell the story of a family torn apart by the 'reeducation camps' where Uyghurs are being sent en masse. Warning these episodes are quite harrowing.

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