veronica simmonds + andrew bateman - we are the transcribers

 Image by Veronica Simmonds and Andrew Bateman ~ Still from  We Are the Transcribers

Image by Veronica Simmonds and Andrew Bateman ~ Still from We Are the Transcribers

We Are the Transcribers was written and produced by Veronica Simmonds and Andrew Bateman with Andrew Patterson as The Bosses. This piece was originally a video which you can view here.


Veronica and Andrew say: 

What's a transcriber, you ask? Well, it's a human who listens to words and then writes them down for other people. It's a dying art that we were trying to capture. In the making of this piece we were trying to cultivate the monotony, drudgery, brutality of transcription work which we were both doing a lot of at the time. 

You will notice that there is an almost drone like quality to the typing sound that is playing throughout the entire piece. The idea was to really hammer home through the hammering of the keys, the brutal non-stop feeling being a conduit of human language which we were both at that moment in time. Non-stop typing was one technique that we tried.

What's inspiring Veronica in the world of audio:

Inside the world of sound I am inspired by Sindre Leganger's piece Still Glowing Strong. The space, time and poetry of this piece will be with me always.

And outside of it:

I was recently floored by Leigh Ledare's exhibition The Task at the Art Institute of Chicago. This arresting situational film was so fucking real that at first I had to laugh until I had to feel it all.


Constellations says:

With the demise of Pop Up Archive this week, we thought we would do a special send off to the program that once saved our fingers from the toil of typing. Pop Up, you are gone, but never forgotten.

Veronica and Andrew's piece confronts the pure pain of the hustle. The foregrounded typing a steady, constant reminder of the small acts we have to do to make it from time to time.

Get some rest, it's December.


Veronica Simmonds is a radio experimenter.  Her documentaries have aired on CBC, ABC and BBC. Her radio art work has aired in a weather observatory in France, a hair dryer in Pittsburgh, and a grain silo in Norway. Her love of the internet has led her to create interactive web experiences such as and her love of hair led her to create her show Braidio where she braided hair on air. These days she works at the CBC producing Sleepover with Sook-Yin Lee,  Alone: A Love Story and now, The Fridge Light.

Andrew Bateman is a filmmaker and digital media artist in Toronto. He's currently working on a film about emails he gets for Andrew Batemans around the world as he picks away at a PhD in communication and politics. His work has been featured in Norway, Berlin, Istanbul, Brussels, and Toronto.  

janet rogers - broken english

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Broken English was produced by Janet Rogers.


Janet says:

I created this piece at sound art residency in Palomino, Colombia as part of a cultural exchange initiated by the Imaginative Film and Media Festival. Broken English, which should really be called "Broken Spanish", features the voice of a student who was maybe 13, 14 years old and was reading a graphic novel. I asked him if he wouldn't mind reading it out loud.

I took that recording of his reading and split every word in half. That's what you hear in this piece. I wanted to express how difficult language can be; difficult to convey real and authentic meaning, and difficult when you are in a different territory and you don't speak the language of that territory. It all becomes very 'uh...uh...'. There's no flow to it, it's all kind of broken up. 


Constellations says:

Janet's documentaries are a fusion of poetry, archival sound, and experimental premises. In her whole body of work, we're inspired by Janet's bold mix of story and sound art structure.

This piece distorts language in a way that feels simultaneously playful in its musicality, while also awkward and violent. It's so true to the way language and language barriers fail and frustrate us. We loved listening a couple times in a row, sinking into the jarring cadence of the reader's cropped syllables. 


Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia, lived in Stoney Creek, Hamilton and Toronto Ontario and is living as guest on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria, British Columbia) since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poetry with music. Janet is also a radio broadcaster, documentary producer, media and sound artist.

You can hear Janet on the radio hosting Native Waves Radio on CFUV 101.9 fm. 2Ro Media Inc is the production company she and Mohawk media artist Jackson Twobears own and operate. Janet produced and launched a 6-part radio documentary series titled NDNs on the Airwaves focused on the current history of native radio in Canada, in February 2016. Check out NDNs on the Airwaves on Facebook and more of Janet's work on her Soundcloud.


ellie gordon-moershel - anatomy of the road


Anatomy of the Road was written and produced by Ellie Gordon-Moershel, and stars Allison Hogg, Tricia Black, and features Claire Whitehead.  It's a fictional story about a woman getting an unusual opportunity to re-experience a nostalgic family road trip.


Ellie says: 

I was driving down the 401 which I normally find to be very uninspiring, but then I was thinking about all the breakthrough moments I've had in cars, whether its been me alone thinking of something and coming to a conclusion, or being on a road trip with someone else and us having our first real bonding moment or big fight. And I was thinking about how that's kind of like therapy.

So I was wondering if there was a way to spatially re-create the sounds of being in a car using binaural microphones and whether I could capture that mood and weirdness and giddiness and intensity that comes from being in such a small space with another person.

What's inspiring her in the world of radio:

The Strange Case of Starship Iris by Jessica Best. Audio fiction can be very hard to do without having a lot of cringey expositional dialogue. In Starship Iris the plot moves along beautifully by leaning on carefully constructed (and charming!) character dynamics as well as clever scene reveals. I'm also a big fan of Alice Isn't Dead by Joseph Fink. I love the writing, of course, but also the smooth delivery by Jasika Nicole.  

Inspiration outside of audio: 

Kids animation. It's a bleak time and I take refuge in the heartfelt, subversive, complex and queer storytelling coming out of shows like Steven Universe, OK K.O!, and Legend of Korra. That, and the Reductress essay, "I Didn't Come to this Corn Maze to Make Friends." Gotta have balance. 


Constellations says:

We're thrilled to feature Anatomy of the Road as Constellations' first foray into the realm of radio drama. We're inspired by Ellie's play with space throughout this piece, both conceptually and technically - using binaural microphones and recording through her car speakers (!!). This piece is funny and weird and taps into the all too real potential for VR as a tool for therapy / empathy. 


Ellie Gordon-Moershel is an independent audio producer, writer, and instructor based in Toronto. To keep informed of her upcoming pieces/projects subscribe to her newsletter.