8_pillars_a_free_score

“Khal” Exhibition Opening Peformances

- By Paula Booker (Programme Developer, Auckland)

Khal, an ongoing project begun by Helga Fassonaki in Tabriz, Iran, is currently being exhibited at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Auckland.

Fassonaki sent sixteen sculptural scores abroad, for sixteen female artists to interpret and perform publicly in response to a ban on female solo performances in Iran. Three Auckland artists then re-interpreted the scores in performances at the Khal exhibition opening on November 18.

The evening’s performances were:

  • 8 Pillars, originally received by Rachel Shearer and Ducklingmonster, performed live at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision by Piece War / Live Visuals by Cutss 
  • Hypocrisy, originally received by Angeline Chirnside, performed live at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision by Hermione Johnson and Zahra Killeen Chance 
  • Hum Hum Hum Hum Hum, originally received by Purple Pilgrims, performed live at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision by  Liz Maw
Khal5
“Hypocrisy,” performed by Hermione Johnson and Zahra Killeen Chance.

 

Khal4
“Hypocrisy,” performed by Hermione Johnson and Zahra Killeen Chance.

 

Khal1
Guitar set up ready for Piece War, in front of “8 Pillars” video projection.

 

Continue reading

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: 11 Years of Bullying

Jesse Greenslade, author of the anti-bullying children’s book First Week Blues, talks to Wallace Chapman about being continually bullied at school and the subsequent apologies he received years later from his tormentors (“Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman,” Radio New Zealand National, 1 February 2015).

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of this item please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

 

You can hear the full interview here.

 

This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently during 2015.

Blizzard

100 Years Ago: The Blizzard

By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Co-ordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

100 years ago this week, the New Zealanders still grimly hanging onto the slopes of Gallipoli were dealt yet another blow. After enduring a summer of searing heat, with vast swarms of flies and the dysentery they brought, the northern winter arrived. From November 26-28 a vicious snow storm lashed the peninsula.

Referred to by veterans ever afterwards as “The Blizzard,” the snow brought further misery to the men who were living in bivvies and shallow trenches. Thousands developed frostbite and over 200 died. Interviews with three New Zealand Gallipoli veterans held in the radio collection of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision recall the snow, mud and frostbite. As one man says, it was then the “higher-ups” realised they couldn’t possibly hold on through the winter, and preparations were made for the evacuation from Gallipoli the following month.

You can hear a compilation of these recollections of “The Blizzard” on our website, Anzac: Sights and Sounds of WWI, here.

It is one of the new archival film and sound items uploaded to the website this month.  The site, which is a collaboration between Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, will continue to be updated with new material over the remaining three years of the WWI anniversary period.

Image:  courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: Speech Jammer

Jase and PJ from ZM (3 Nov 2015) try to do a commentary of the Melbourne Cup while hearing themselves in their headphones slowed down and in delay (thanks to the Speech Jammer app). The results are unpreeeeedictable!

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of this item please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

 

See a video of the commentary here.

 

This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently during 2015.

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: The Magic of Radio

Entertainer Charlie Frye bends a couple of spoons in front of a very baffled Kim Hill (Saturday Morning with Kim Hill, 24 October 2015). Charlie and his wife Sherry were in the country for the Wellington Magic Convention held over Labour Weekend.

They were interviewed during Saturday Morning with Kim Hill, which is collected by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision as part of the 24/7 capture of Radio New Zealand National.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of this item please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

 

The full interview can be heard here.

 

This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently during 2015.

MobileUnitLarge

Preserving the Mobile Unit Collection

In September this year Audio Conservator Alex Porter and Cataloguer Camilla Wheeler embarked on a project to digitise and describe the New Zealand Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit Collection. The project will take the best part of the next year, and in this time Alex and Camilla will listen to every part of the collection.

The Mobile Unit was one of the first mobile recording units in New Zealand. The origins of the Mobile Unit itself are as fascinating as the contents of the collection. Set up after the Second World War, the purpose was initially to go out and record musical talent from the provinces for use in broadcast programmes for the radio – an early New Zealand’s Got Talent or X Factor. However, the scope of the mission broadened when the sound recordists realised the wealth of oral histories the old people of the towns they visited could contribute.

MobileUnit

In post-war New Zealand, it was important to create radio programmes which had a patriotic appeal and showcased the best our country had to offer in order to increase morale. However, with limited budget and radio stations only existing in a few main centres,  broadcasters were restricted to recording people, bands and choirs who could come into the studio. Professor Shelley, Director of Broadcasting, “had an idea that the country was simply ridden with talent which never got an opportunity of getting near a microphone”[1] and directed producer Leo Fowler to establish the Mobile Unit recording team. The brief was to record “the bands, the choirs, the school choirs, and the thousands of individual artists [in the provinces] who were just waiting to provide the Broadcasting Service with some new talent.”[2]

The bands and choirs they had been sent to record were often only available to record in the evenings, as they were made up of working men and women. This left the recording team with spare time in the day, during which they made calls on the local elderly and invited them to record their memories. Very quickly, they realised that here was the real gold. In the 1940s there were people alive who remembered the New Zealand wars in Waikato and Taranaki, and the gold rushes in Coromandel and Central Otago, with memories going as far back as the 1860s. The result was that these oral histories, which were initially the by-product of the project, came to be the focus of the Mobile Unit. The collection contains some of the oldest recorded memories of New Zealand, including some of the earliest recorded te reo speakers. Leo Fowler had good relations with Māori and made an effort to seek out te reo speakers and kaumātua.

The Mobile Unit vehicle itself – “Gerty,” as she was called – was “one of the mobile control towers belonging to the Air Force … [and] had four hydraulic jacks put on it, one at each corner”[3]. The purpose of the jacks was to make sure the van was absolutely level, no matter where it was parked. This was because the two 16” disc recorders it was equipped with were very sensitive to any movement. As well as the recording equipment, speakers and microphones, the van also contained an operating desk, interview table and general workbench. It had “five [or six] drums of cable so that you could record at considerable distances and [use up to] four or five microphones”[4] at a time.

Listen to Geoff Hagget, Mobile Recording Unit Announcer (1947), as he describes the truck and crew in an NZBC interview, 17 April, 1973:

The resultant Mobile Unit Collection is one of the richest resources of oral history in New Zealand. It was recognised by UNESCO last year and inscribed onto the UNESCO Memory of the World register.

The original recordings are on lacquer discs, and are kept in archival crates in Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s audio archive in Christchurch. The collection was preserved in the early 2000s onto CD, which was the medium of choice at the time. However, we have since realised that CDs have a finite shelf life and therefore it is important that we preserve this valuable collection in digital format as well.

As part of the project, we will be making full descriptions of the recordings in our catalogue records. Please check back in the future to see what gems we have uncovered.

- By Alex Porter and Camilla Wheeler, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Read updates on preserving the Mobile Unit Collection

Notes 

[1] Leo Fowler: Reminiscences on the Mobile Recording Unit. Transcript. Mobile Unit Collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Geoff Haggett: NZBS Mobile Unit. [Audio], Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

[4] Fowler

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: Samadhi – Voice of Sri Lanka.

The first broadcast on Plains FM from the Sri Lankan Language and Culture School in Christchurch (21 October 2015). The programme was created to share ideas, cultural heritage, and the Sinhala language with the young people of the Sri Lankan community in Christchurch.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of this item please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

 

This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently during 2015.

DiscLarge

Audio Mystery Solved

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision audio conservator Sandy Ditchburn has found that local knowledge and a great phone technique can be handy tools when researching archival sound recordings.

I’ve been really honing my research skills lately, mostly due to having a number of discs to preserve that contain recordings of events that happened in or around Invercargill – where I lived for four years while studying sound engineering. I’ve found that there’s not usually a lot of easily searchable online information about historic Invercargill events, so have taken to calling places such as the Southland Museum, the Invercargill City Library, and the Invercargill City Council, who have all been helpful verifying names and answering my obscure questions, such as:

“Who was the Mayor of Riverton in 1952?” (Answer: Dr Ninian Trotter, who was mayor for 28 years and something of a local legend.)

This week however, I had to branch out a bit further.

I had come across a disc with the title, “R.S.A. Memorial Hall Opening Ceremony.” I ascertained from the recording that this Memorial Hall was located in Invercargill, and, other than the names of a few speakers, that was the extent of the information given. I knew that having a date for this event would be extremely helpful in terms of information to put into our database, so set about searching for one. I found the number for the Invercargill R.S.A. but an unhelpful voicemail message explained that they were only open on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 4pm – not ideal on a Wednesday afternoon.

SandyDisc

My next call was made to the Invercargill City Council – another dead end, although the woman there did suggest that she walk past the building on her way to work the next morning and look for a plaque. Looking at the stack of discs still waiting to be preserved, I was eager to track down a date as soon as possible and this is where my local knowledge came in to play. If there was a plaque on the side of the building it would most likely contain the building’s date on it. I had walked past this memorial hall many times and remembered there being a free health service (Number 10) in an attached building. I even had their number stored on my phone from my poor student days! The very confused receptionist at Number 10 assured me that she wasn’t allowed to abandon her post to search for a plaque.

Feeling like defeat was near, I wandered into our main office and explained my situation. After explaining the building’s location, and a quick search of Google Street View, we were looking at the R.S.A. Memorial hall on my colleague Camilla’s computer monitor. My other colleague Sarah then pointed out a grainy, black square on the side of the building next to the front door, that was most certainly a plaque.

Google Maps street view.
Google Maps street view, showing the location of the plaque.

The closest manned building to that plaque (other than Number 10) was the H&J’s Flooring Xtra store, on the opposite side of the road. A moment later I was speaking to one of their flooring specialists, and asking if she would do me a favour by nipping across the road and taking a note of what the plaque said. She hesitantly agreed and, after taking my information, hung up. My phone rang after 10 minutes and I had my answer – the building was opened by Governor General, Sir Willoughby Norrie, on the 13th of March 1956. I explained to the woman from Flooring Xtra why I wanted the information, and she was almost as happy as I was to have cracked the case.

Sometimes picking up a phone, thinking outside the box, and acting on a hunch can do wonders when researching!

- By Sandy Ditchburn (Digital Transfer Operator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)