A Short Announcement: The ORYX AND CRAKE series

In about a week and a half we are going to be publishing the first in a four part series of episodes about Margaret Atwood’s 2003 novel Oryx and Crake. The four episodes will play once a fortnight over the next couple of months.

Oryx and Crake focuses on a post-apocalyptic character with the name of Snowman, living near a group of primitive human-like creatures whom he calls Crakers. Flashbacks reveal that Snowman was once a boy named Jimmy who grew up in a world dominated by multinational corporations and privileged compounds for the families of their employees. Near starvation, Snowman decides to return to the ruins of a compound named RejoovenEsence to search for supplies even though it is overrun by dangerous genetically engineered hybrid animals. He concocts an explanation for the Crakers, who regard him as a teacher, and begins his foraging expedition.

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The series was inspired by a protest sign I saw saying ‘Make Margaret Atwood fiction again’. I chose Oryx and Crake because it’s one of the less obvious novels to use when talking about how Atwood’s work might fit in the current political moment. I wanted to see what this book, written in a climate of fear around genetic engineering (Dolly the Sheep was also born in 2003) looks like in a time when genetic engineering isn’t really the main contender for ‘destroyer of earth and humankind as we know it’. Although the book uses genetic engineering as the catalyst to its apocalypse, Oryx and Crake also has chilling things to say about capitalism.

So, I thought I’d publish this short announcement to give you time, if you’d like, to read Oryx and Crake so we don’t spoil it. Or not. The podcasts work just as well if you haven’t read the book.

Better off Read is available on iTunes where you can subscribe by clicking here

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

A Short Announcement: The ORYX AND CRAKE series

Episode 44: Pip Adam talks to artist Murray Hewitt

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Image by Dionne Ward taken during Common Ground the Hutt Public Art Festival

In this episode I talked with Murray Hewitt an artist who works mostly in video on the occasion of the recent screenings of his work The Rising Gale as part of Common Ground the Hutt Public Art Festival. The theme for the 2017 festival was Groundwater and explored our relationship with water – the Hutt River Te Awakairangi, it’s streams, springs and aquifer – and its importance to our sense of place, health and wellbeing.

Shot from a drone, The Rising Gale maps a path from the aquifer in Taita to Matiu/Sommes Island flying over the water in real time.

The Rising Gale screened at five bore  and river sites  across the Hutt Valley from 25 February to 4 March during Common Ground a festival produced by public art and urban revitalization organisation Letting Space in partnership with the Hutt Council.

You can see some great photos of the various screenings of The Rising Gale on the Common Ground website

During this episode you’ll hear excerpts of work by Gem Wilder, Damien Wilkins and Helen Heath written in response to and as ‘soundtrack’ for The Rising Gale. These were performed alongside the video on 26 February and GNS Science.

Murray Hewitt works mostly in video. His works have contemplated consumer behavior, remembered historic events, or mulled over current political ones through the considered actions of a lone costumed figure, or repetitive stationary camera shots that encouraging sustained deliberation from the viewer.

You can see Murray’s work at Circuit: Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand

We discuss many of Murray’s works but dwell especially on:

Burnings

Jessies Girl

Recessional

Weeping Waters

Better off Read is available on iTunes where you can subscribe by clicking here

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Episode 44: Pip Adam talks to artist Murray Hewitt

Episode 43: Pip Adam My Favourite Cindy – Bobby and Cindi

This is me reading a response I wrote as part of the City Gallery Wellington, Tuatara Open Late – My Favourite Cindy that was held on 2 February, 2017

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From Bobby and Cindi – Other People’s Photographs: Cindy Sherman’s Found Albums and Scrapbooks.

My Favourite Cindy has been a series of quick-fire talks by a variety of people about their favourite works from Cindy Sherman a major exhibition of Sherman’s photography since 2000, the moment where she returned to photographing herself after a decade of wilful absenteeism from her own work.

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From Bobby and Cindi – Other People’s Photographs: Cindy Sherman’s Found Albums and Scrapbooks.

This episode includes sound recordings by Freesound user Syna-Max licensed under Creative Commons.

Better off Read is available on iTunes where you can subscribe by clicking here

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Episode 43: Pip Adam My Favourite Cindy – Bobby and Cindi

Episode 42: Danyl Mclauchlan and Pip Adam talk about Time Travel: A History by James Gleick

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In this episode Pip Adam talks with Danyl Mclauchlan about James Gleick’s Time Travel: A History

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Danyl has written two novels, Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley and Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley both published by Victoria University Press.

During this podcast we talk about Danyl’s essays that appear on the The Spinoff you can read them here

The book I cannot remember at the end of this podcast is How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Better off Read is available on iTunes where you can subscribe by clicking here

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Episode 42: Danyl Mclauchlan and Pip Adam talk about Time Travel: A History by James Gleick

Episode 41: Rachel O’Neill and Pip Adam talk about The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

In this, our last episode for 2016, Rachel O’Neill and Pip Adam talk about Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts

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Rachel is amazing. You can read and see her amazingness on her website here

If you enjoyed listening to people talk about The Argonauts you might be interested in the Book Club being run as part of the Tuatara Open Late event at City Gallery Wellington next week

This episode includes music by Akashic Records which was licensed under Creative Commons and made available from Jamendo Music

Better off Read is available on iTunes where you can subscribe by clicking here

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Episode 41: Rachel O’Neill and Pip Adam talk about The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Episode 40: Starling

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Starling is an online literary journal showcasing the best new poetry and prose from young New Zealand writers.

As part of LitCrawl this Saturday (12 November 2016) Starling will be presenting Open Hearts: New Writing from Starling.

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Image: RŪAUMOKO by Miriama Grace-Smith

To celebrate this we spoke with Founder/Editor and writer, Louise Wallace, and Co-Editor and writer Francis Cooke.

This episode also includes readings from:

Sophie van Waardenberg

Claudia Jardine

Nina Powles

Rebecca Hawkes

Sharon Lam

Lily Ng

This episode includes sounds released under Creative Commons licenses from Freesound.org

Thanks to Freesound users: spoonbender

Better off Read is available on iTunes where you can subscribe by clicking here

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Episode 40: Starling

Episode 39: Helen Lehndorf and Pip Adam talk about Sketchbooks by Derek Jarman

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Helen Lehndorf

In this episode I talk to Helen Lehndorf.

Helen is a poet. Her book The Comforter is published by Seraph Press

She she has just release her new book,  Write to the Centre with Haranui Press

I got together with Helen to talk about Sketchbooks a book about the visual journals of Derek Jarman.

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Helen’s friend the amazing artist/writer/designer Sarah Laing created this amazing image of Helen in the arms of Derek Jarman

You can read more about Helen here including a great post about her journals.

You can see Derek Jarman’s music videos for The Smiths here and here

And here is Sarah Laing’s website, which is awesome and includes an awesome post about Helen and her new book.

Better off Read is available on iTunes where you can subscribe by clicking here

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Episode 39: Helen Lehndorf and Pip Adam talk about Sketchbooks by Derek Jarman