From memory fragments to the garbage crisis

Plus: a whole new side of Moby Dick

Path Taken

Episode: “Phoebe Wang ~ Isn't It Lovely?” | Podcast: Constellations | 12m47s

Absorbing, relatively short audio art installation. Artist Phoebe Wang has created a textured soundscape of speech and music that hits the listener’s ears in waves. The accompanying text calls these “fragments of recorded memories”, and they may well be personal to Wang, although obviously for the audience they are just prompts for our own rememberings. Crucially, this piece doesn’t take itself too seriously — quite a few of the voices are expressing joy or saying something amusing. My personal highlight is the person who snaps: “Say something profound! I don’t know, I don’t have any advice for you” (12m47s)


The Whale

Episode: “Chapter 1: ‘Loomings’” | Podcast: Moby Dick Energy: A Moby Dick Podcast | 47m43s

Worth it for the theme song alone. The rest of the show is good too, though — a lifelong Herman Melville fan and her guests talk their way through the lengthy 1851 novel Moby-Dick, chapter by chapter. This is the first instalment in this (occasionally sweary) series, so there’s plenty of scene setting and context provided for newcomers to the work. I haven’t read this book since literary pretension hit me hard in my early teens, and I was very pleased to discover an entirely new dimension to the work through this show: this book is actually quite funny (47m43s)


Garbage Crisis

Episode: “The History Of Wastefulness: Today’s Trash Challenge" | Podcast: The Compass | 26m31s

No nonsense documentary about human wastefulness and its impact on the environment. This is the first of three parts, and later episodes go into more detail about the history of rubbish and what we can do about our destructive habits, but the series starts with an assessment of how bad things are now. To evoke the scale of the harm we have already done the host takes a boat trip across a “plastic soup” in the Pacific Ocean off California that is “twice the size of Texas” and contains trillions of micro plastic particles as well as consulting a range of eloquent experts. Truly horrifying stuff (26m31s)

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