Nonfiction lab’s Kyla Brettle and David Carlin have recently spent five days in Bangkok furiously recording location material for a non-fiction radio feature commissioned by ABC Radio National’s Creative Audio Unit.
The sound piece, which answers to the working title of ‘Making up on radio’, explores the construction of textual and sexual identity within liminal spaces. The work pivots on the idea of ‘making up’ in Bangkok. It takes us into the mind of a non-fiction writer, far from home, flirting with the feminine pronoun and observing Bangkok from the bubble of a faded international hotel. In the foyer bar Virginia Woolf drinks scotch and discusses Heidegger with essayist Wayne Koestenbaum, who fancies hotels – and the resident plumber is none other than philosopher Hélène Cixous. Beyond the double glazed windows three young transgendered activists lead us through the congested streets they call home, sharing insights gleaned from life lived on the edge between one gender and another.
The project was inspired by David’s essay, ‘Making Up; ten scenes in a Bangkok hotel’. We set out to transpose the work into sound and trace the awkward silences, unexpected insights and dynamic shifts in voice and perspective that the process of adaptation would bring.