Articles

The [Un]Observed: Look with Your Ears

“Welcome to The [Un]Observed, a Radio Magazine of candid conversations and explorations, works in sound and produced pieces from around the world. We’re exploring the intimate, and sometimes surprising, moments of art, culture and life.”

The [Un]Observed is a new launch and very promising start-up by MQ2 finalist Tania Ketenjian. The site is like a delicious mouthful of rich, dark chocolate – a sensual treat that elicits feelings of happiness and satisfaction, a sampler to savor, worth every calorie consumed. The [Un]Observed features some truly interesting and unusual audio art, sound poems and stories. Many of these pieces have aired or appeared elsewhere, but this new platform unearths them from the archives, revives and refreshes them, giving them a second life.

“As an independent journalist, working internationally, I have had the privilege to be exposed to some of the most compelling story telling,” said Ketenjian in her initial e-blast announcing the site. “However, as a media user, I have been hard pressed to find a place on-line where pieces from different parts of the world can be witnessed and shared. The [Un]Observed aims to be a hub where unusual, powerful, beautiful, odd and engaging journalistic and artistic work from the UK, Ireland, Australia, America and other countries will be heard and archived. As media is shifting, this is a wonderful moment to extend the possibilities of the way we listen.”

The [Un]Observed spotlights some of Ketenjian’s fine work, and invites contributions from the boldest producers in public radio. The first edition of The [Un]Observed features A Chorus of Refuge, a sound installation produced by MQ2 collaborators Kara Oehler, Ann Heppermann and Jason Cady. It’s a mesmerizing piece that channels a tower of babel, a mix of voices, languages, accents and narratives that blends into a rhythmic incantation of the immigrant refugee experience. 

For the public radio lifers among us, the aural artsiness of The [Un]Observed brings to mind the memory of New American Radio, a groundbreaking experimental series that went off the air in 1998. But it’s more of a 2.0 version, a newer New American Radio.

Theologian/philosopher Paul Tillich said, “The first duty of love is to listen.” StoryCorps founder David Isay said, “Listening is an Act of Love.” I say: if you love radio, listen up!

For the moment, The [Un]Observed is a labor of love; producers and artists who contribute their work are The [Un]Compensated, literally contributing their pieces. But, at least their won’t be [Un]heard.

The site will be updated with five new pieces weekly. Congratulations, Tania!