Lights out – on BBC

I had the honour to work with audio wizard Eleanor McDowall on her last feature of the “Lights Out” series on BBC Radio four. The program has been aired but is available online here. Eleanor and Guðni Tómasson follow me on a journey past Þingvellir up to the sight of the former Ok glacier with thoughts about language and mythology. Also featured is one of my favourite artists, Katie Paterson, but we walked the mountain together in the year 2021.

“I noticed that language seems to fail us. How do you write about the foundations of our existence? That is how mythology enters very naturally into the story, because history is about ideas, religions, empires, wars and culture. Mythology is about the fundaments. Sun, moon, wind, oceans, great floods and tragic gods… We are living in mythological times, where we are shaking the fundaments.” – Andri Snær Magnason

Drawing on ideas in his book, On Time and Water, the Icelandic writer Andri Snær Magnason and the Scottish artist Katie Paterson explore how our imagination can help us hold the moment we live in. From handfuls of dust to watching geological time mark the landscape, this documentary flows from the night skies into the deepest known point in our oceans.

Archive recording from Raddir – Voices: Recordings of Folk Songs courtesy of the Árni Magnússon Institute
‘Vatnajökull (the sound of)’ recording courtesy of Katie Paterson

Recording of the journey to Okjökull by Guðni Tómasson
Music composed and performed by Phil Smith and Zac Gvi

Produced by Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

The program has been reviewed in The Irish Times and in the Guardian:

“Produced by the gifted Eleanor McDowall of Falling Tree Productions, Lights Out: Dust is a beautiful, imaginative response to our dying planet that lingers in your thoughts long after the spoken words have faded.” Nuala McCann The Irish Times.

Eleanor McDowall, co-head of indie production house Falling Tree and one of the UK’s most admired production talents. Falling Tree make Lights Out for Radio 4, and Dust, beautiful, careful, wild, is apparently the last ever Lights Out series. 

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