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On the Trail of the Snail

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 11 December 2010

Five celebrated radio producers from around the world contribute their personal responses in sound to Henri Matisse's The Snail, the iconic paper cut-out collage that hangs in Tate Modern, London.

This collaborative edition of Between the Ears explores radio's capacity for re-presenting art. It evokes through sound the primary colours, elemental spiralling shape and gastropodic allusions of an image that's at once playful and melancholy. Late in his life, ill-health forced Matisse to work with a new technique, directing assistants to arrange coloured paper cut-outs on his studio wall - The Snail of 1953 is the most celebrated example of this period.

The "On the Trail of the Snail" audio collage consists of:

Chris Brookes (Canada) - "?The Snail Trail in the White House" (with reference to The Orlons 1962 hit The Wah-Watusi and Alma Thomas' homage to Matisse, Watusi)

Dinah Bird (France) - "Helix" ("The spiral is a spiritual circle. In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, unwound, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free." Vladimir Nabokov)

Sherre DeLys (Australia) - 'Chromatic Composition'. (Sherre and sculptor Joan Grounds reflect on Matisse's use of colour as they walk through a north American woodland.)

Pejk Malinovski (USA) - "A Snail is a Snail is a Snail is an Artist", featuring the voices of Gertrude Stein and biologist Ronald Chase.

Kari Hesthamar (Norway) - "Tramp" ("The first step in any trip or journey is always a footstep - the brave or curious act of putting one foot in front of the other." The Norwegian author Tomas Espedal walks - to collect stories and to survive.)

Curated by London-based producer Alan Hall.

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