Essays on the subject of ‘radio- feature/documentaries’

Dr Virginia Madsen Convenor (Radio) Senior Lecturer Media, Music, International Communications Dept. of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies Faculty of Arts, Y3A, 191J Macquarie University. NSW 2109 Australia
Dr Virginia Madsen
Convenor (Radio)
Senior Lecturer Media, Music, International Communications
Dept. of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies
Faculty of Arts, Y3A, 191J
Macquarie University. NSW 2109

by: Virginia Madsen, AU

Here are two recent essays of mine on the subject of radio feature/documentaries – hopefully giving ‘IFCers’  an idea of the book I will finish by end this year (or I might take up mushroom farming!)
I also alert to a review essay I have just written published this week on Jens Jarisch’s Children of Sodom and Gomorrah (ARD 2009/ABC 2011), link follows.

I know it has been taking a long time.
I have however been publishing quite a lot in various places.
Other examples can be found on my webpage:

UnknownNew Book chapter 2013 (attached)
This chapter is : MADSEN, V. (2013) ‘Your Ears are a Portal to Another World’: The New Radio Documentary Imagination and the Digital Domain IN LOVIGLIO, J. & HILMES, M. (Eds.)
Radio’s New Wave: Global Sound in the Digital Era London, New York, Routledge.

Abstract: Virginia Madsen traces the long-submerged history of the radio feature, examining the roots of its documentary impulse and cinematic power in light of the recent irruption of radio’s new digital potential “to create dialogues, sustain conversations between the past and the future, offer an ‘ecology of the pod’ to the radio documentaire de création, as well as creating a fertile ground for new forms in the present to interact with the old, to mix and create new hybrid forms for the future”.

New essay review 2014: Virginia Madsen on Children of Sodom and Gomorrah by Jens Jarisch, in the new Revue: Radio Doc Review (online). Just published.
Link available here:

Abstract: This essay is an exploration and critical sounding of the multi-award winning radio feature Children of Sodom and Gomorrah: why young Africans flee to Europe (ARD 2009/ABC 2011) by the Berlin radio author/journalist and director Jens Jarisch.
The reviewer, Virginia Madsen, finds something close to a dialectic approach in this unforgettable and searing ‘radio film’, but also the resonances of what she explores as ‘allegorical thinking’.
Jarisch, even if unconsciously, appears to have dug down deep into the modern-day ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah, a ‘no place’ in Accra, Ghana where children eke out a living, forfeiting their childhoods and risking death to recycle our computer waste, before they flee to find a better life in Europe.
Madsen understands and imagines this program as a pilgrim’s journey between heaven and hell and purgatory as she sounds out key correspondences and dislocations the program evoked for her.
Her essay speaks of the phenomenology of listening in that encounter, the underestimated power of a writing with the microphone and of the history of ‘radio feature’ culture, especially in Germany.
Madsen responds to the depths this program sounds out as it invokes the voices of the dead and of the living, of hope, despair and longing in the face of overwhelming silence and noise.
The interweaving of voices in this ‘impossible dialogue’ and ‘play for voices’ succeeds in writing itself onto our memories like a fable.

Unknown-1Another Book chapter 2013: in French in Kaye Mortley’s new book: La tentation du son.
Madsen. V.  ‘Son sauvage Arlésien’ in La tentation du son,
Mortley, Kaye and Jacquin, Marc. (Eds). Phonurgia Nova, Arles, France, 2013. pp83-87
(NB: This essay is in French).

Another essay on topic is
Madsen, V.  ‘A Call to Listen: the ‘new’ documentary in radio: encountering ‘wild sound’ and the film sonore‘ ’in The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol. 30, No 3, Sept, 2010; pp391-410.

(history of the form, references to German, BBC, French developments, Kaye Mortley, Rene Farabet, Leo Braun, Willy Reunert Denmark…..and others.

(More ‘Virginia Madsen‘ on this site)

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