While filming a raven

While filming a raven raiding a jam-packed garbage bin at a shopping centre car park in a Western Sydney suburb, a regular ABC Radio National listener accidentally records the sound of an unidentified stationary motorist adapting a personal safety device to the purpose of warlike behaviour blaring over the program he’s listening intently to.

The listener notices a woman in the car on the opposite side of the garbage bin becoming visibly distressed and can’t tell if it’s because she can see the camera pointed in her direction, or because the motorist leaning on the horn is right behind her and she wants to reverse out. The raven takes off with a brown paper bag from McDonald’s, and with nothing more here to see the listener brings the film to a conclusion. He plays it back on the phone to see how it looks and thinks, ‘Cool! It couldn’t have ended sounding more sweetly than that if I’d planned it.’

The following afternoon, the listener goes to the local DVD retailer and asks a young bloke at the counter for anything directed by Rolf de Heer. The bloke finds a box set collection of six Rolf de Heer films in the system, but they only sell it during Christmas. The bloke writes the catalogue number down for the listener so he can order it online, then the listener browses the shelves to see if any of the other films nobody ever has when he’s looking are maybe there this time. To his delight he finds two of them:

a) π: faith in chaos (A Film By Darren Aronofsky)
b) Grave of the Fireflies (A Film By Isao Takahata)

The bloke from the counter wanders over and mentions the 20% discount on all DVDs and Blurays that ends today, so the listener checks the price on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and decides that at five bucks a pop if they’re as emotionally unfulfilling as he suspects they will be, they’ll be just what he needs to restore his façade and face up with cool, calm collection to the world after

a) π: faith in chaos
b) Grave of the Fireflies

have shot, he’s long been expecting, his emotional order to pieces.

About Brad Frederiksen

Engineer and analyst of electro-mechanical and digital systems by day job. Practitioner and student of life and art (broadly construed). View all posts by Brad Frederiksen

3 responses to “While filming a raven

  • D!

    lOvE it, really. From sound to idea.

    Just have to disagree with the definition of warlike used here. Obviously that should have been Australian Warlike Sounds. I am not even sure you are allowed to drive here without using that sound you call safety sound. In some other little parts of the world, one of them known as India to outsiders, you cannot actually use a vehicle to its stated purpose without using that device to its loudest possible pitch.

    • Brad

      That’s an interesting point of view, Guy. I thought my use of ‘personal safety device’ was more controversial than my use of ‘warlike’. Car horns are usually referred to as ‘warning’ devices in Australia. I haven’t seen them called personal safety devices before but I think that would be more appropriate, since there are too many cases when a warning can be used or interpreted as a threat.

      The carpark example that I have written from is a good case in point: a motorist is acting aggressively toward someone else simply because they are not moving. Neither the person being beeped at or the person doing the beeping are in any danger that would justify a warning – unless of course the person beeping the horn is warning the other person that if they don’t get out of the way quickly, physical violence will be the result. That violence often does turn out to happen, and it’s called Road Rage. It is warlike behaviour to my mind, and it’s not specifically an Australian thing.

      I don’t understand how beeping a horn adds anything to the purpose of driving a car, unless cars are actually designed to travel from A to B on cushions of sound waves and nobody has told me!

  • kathi

    yeah, this is great stuff

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