Hazel de Berg’s recordings take place in the homes or work spaces of the subjects rather than a recording studio. This allows something of these places into the recording whether birdsong, traffic or an r&b song playing in the background. In the recordings, de Berg remains enigmatic, the ghostly presence operating the machine.
Interview with John Forbes (O’Keefe edit)
Recorded on 19 August 1980 by Hazel de Berg.
2015 edit by Ella O’Keefe
‘John Forbes interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection’
Courtesy of the National Library of Australia, TRC 1/1175
Special acknowledgement to Duncan Felton, NLA Oral History & Folklore Branch
Described in a 1961 article from the Canberra times as a ‘tape-recorder enthusiast from Sydney’ Hazel de Berg was a photographer and radiographer and oral historian. She spent much of her life collecting the words and voices of Australian poets, artists, writers, composers, actors, academics, publishers, librarians, scientists, anthropologists, public servants and some politicians. Subjects were asked to speak about their lives and work and while De Berg asked questions, for the most part she edited her voice out of the final recordings. Her archives are not then a repository of interviews, but of voices, speaking directly and intimately to the listener. The recordings take place in the homes or work spaces of the subjects rather than a recording studio. This allows something of these places into the recording whether birdsong, traffic or an r&b song playing in the background. In the recordings, De Berg herself is an enigmatic presence, the ghostly presence operating the machine.
Ella O’Keefe is a poet and researcher living in Melbourne. Her poems have been published in Cordite, Steamer, Overland Blog and Text Journal. She is a former director of the Critical Animals research symposium. Her work on radio has been broadcast by The Night Air on Radio National, All the Best on FBI Radio and Final Draft on 2SER FM.