Inland and The Frenchman's garden

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2000
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My submission for the degree of Master of Arts in Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney, presents and discusses two radiophonic works made for broadcast on The Listening Room, ABC Classic FM. These are ‘Inland, and The Frenchman’s Garden’, both of which explore a listening approach to the Australian landscape. There are three components to the submission. The first consists of compact disc recordings of the works. They were written, composed, produced and partially performed by myself and include location recordings I made around the inland regions of Australia, alongside performances by actors and musicians. ‘Inland’ tells stories of mythic figures moving through a vast, Australian space, suspended in a landscape which is continually shifting and metamorphosing. ‘The Frenchman’s Garden’ is a radio documentary of an eccentric French botanist named Albert De Lestang, who planted a botanic garden in the Gulf Country of far north-western Queensland, in the first half of the 20th Century. The second component of the submission is a written version of each work. Neither is intended to accompany the listening to the radiophonic version. This version of ‘The Frenchman’s Garden’ is a record of a radio production. But the text of ‘Inland’ is intended to be read as a fictional work and a piece of writing in its own right. Thus I have indicated character and documentary names in ‘The Frenchman’s Garden’, but not in ‘Inland’. Instead variations in tempo and tone are shown through indentations and italics. References to sounds the reader will hear are indicated on the left hand page in both scripts. The third component of the submission is an essay, ‘Composing Radio, Writing Sound’, which examines the development of an artistic approach through ‘Inland’ and ‘The Frenchman's Garden’, in the context of radiophonic practices as they are found in the Audio Arts Department of ABC Radio. The programs were produced in this department, and its working style was a considerable influence upon the productions. I look at some guiding principles- the radiophonic diary and mimesis and the body – and consider these through the work of four other works made for this department. I also examine the approaches of composers to radio and the 'writing with sound' tradition, and I discuss place and space as they are manifested in the work of contemporary Australian radio makers. In so doing I find a place for my own work within the Australian radiophonic milieu.
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