Reflection – Imogen Bismann.

The Transgression Stories studio has been the first studio I’ve undertaken, and one I’ve learn a lot from through class discussion, in class exercises and assessment tasks. The first in class exercise we did was in a small group, and we explored language and phrases, and focused on the phrase ‘too soon to tell’. This is one of the most abstract pieces I helped make, as it was disordered, with terms and phrases being said backwards and played in reverse. This helped me learn more about non-linear audio, and also how to edit audio to obscure it.

For our second in class exercise we created a short audio essay about the death of Qandeel Baloch. This was a more traditional style of audio essay, and we focused in on honour killings in Pakistan, and how they are still extremely prevalent as there are loop holes within the law which means if the family of the person killed forgives them they don’t have to go prison. In this piece we used echoing and repetition of key words to provide a sense uneasiness. We also used real twitter quotes from people who supported the honour killing of Qandeel Baloch. This class exercise taught me a lot about how to tell a story in a short amount of time, and also how to create audio effects in Adobe Audition.

For our third in class exercise we discussed ethics as a group, and ethics associated with discussing and conveying death. We compared Lu Olkowki’s ‘Grandpa’ (linked below) and the first few episodes of Andrew Denton’s ‘Better Off Dead’ (linked below) and looked at how they explored death differently and why we thought each podcast was credible and honest in the way they uncovered death. This taught me a lot about how ethical concerns must be considered before creating a piece, especially when it comes to discussing taboo topics.

Isobel and I worked on Weekly Update 5 together, and we decided to explore how death is conveyed differently in podcasts compared to other media forms, and how different podcasts choose to convey death. We looked in depth at Lu Olkowski’s ‘Grandpa’ (linked below) and Radiolab’s ‘Afterlife’ (linked below). This exploration led us to think about how there is a comforting quality about listening to a podcast rather than watching a television show, and how this might contribute to why podcasts are used often to discuss death. Isobel and I learnt a lot about microphone techniques when creating this update, as it wasn’t until the editing process that we realised a lot of the audio was too quiet to use.

One of our in class exercises looked at the transgression from conception to birth, and followed the story of a woman who became pregnant when she didn’t want to, and her journey throughout the pregnancy and once her child is born. This piece gave a real snapshot into the journey and transgression of conceiving a child and giving birth to it, and was edited in a way that you knew time was passing in small increments through the use of ticking clocks. This piece taught me a lot about how edit audio in a way that gives queues the audience to allow them to understand it, and how it is possible to tell a nine month story in the matter of minutes.

As part of the Transgression Stories studio I listened to a lot of podcasts which really helped me understand the different ways in which topics can be explored, and how stories can be structured through podcast. This American Life’s podcast ‘Serial’ (linked below) really stuck in my mind after listening to it, as it explores the murder of American high school student Hae Min Lee in the late 1990s. This podcast was one of my favourites to listen to as it is structured in a way that never makes you bored, or makes you listen to one thing for too long. ‘Serial’ first few episodes are certainly the best, as these are the ones that are the best edited and when narrator and investigator Sarah Koenig is the most honest and real. The podcast does become less riveting as it progresses, but ultimately it’s a prime example of a well thought out and well made podcast.

Andrew Denton’s podcast ‘Better Off Dead’ (linked below) was another podcast that really stood out to me. There is a quality in Andrew Denton’s voice which is so credible and easy trust that it makes it very hard to question anything he says. Denton’s piece explores voluntary assisted suicide, and it was his episode with a woman named Liz who is terminally ill that really made me the most interested, and showed how good Denton really is at interviewing people, and how voluntary assisted suicide is an issue that really needs to be discussed and explored in Australia. Denton’s podcast is well researched and even though it is clear from the beginning that he is pro- voluntary assisted suicide he still explores why people are so opposed to the idea.

The Age’s podcast ‘Phoebe’s Fall’ (linked below) was a podcast that I didn’t like as much. Although it wasn’t on the listening list, it was a podcast that everyone listened to when it was published only a few weeks ago. I feel that Phoebe is portrayed poorly in the podcast. On one hand they say she’s a beautiful young and loving girl, and then on the other hand she stalked her teacher, would run on roof tops and had been clubbing since the age of thirteen or fourteen. I understand that people have different parts of their personality but it was never clear in the podcast who she really was, and ultimately it just made me find her really hard to relate to.

Overall the Transgression Stories studio has taught me a lot about researching, creating, interviewing, editing, and finding stories for audio, and has lead me to be an avid podcast listener, and someone who enjoys creating podcasts also.

Lu Olkowski’s ‘Grandpa’

Radiolab’s ‘Afterlife’

Andrew Denton’s ‘Better Off Dead’

This American Life’s ‘Serial’

The Age’s ‘Phoebe’s Fall’

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