Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

Back to School

Posted: August 12, 2010 by shopfrontcontemporaryarts in under fifteen
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Surgical Mask in the Financial District

[Interview conducted by the Harmony Institute with Charlie Turner, aged 15]

I just remember all these ads on Facebook about how it was okay to go back to school. They had these dumb-looking kids in school uniforms walking down the path with smiles on their faces and books in their hands.

One of my friends knew the girl in it and said that the only time her mum had let her out of the house was to film the commercial.

In the end me and my younger brother were allowed to go back to school, but we had to wear these face masks the whole time.


You can only be scared for so long

Posted: August 11, 2010 by shopfrontcontemporaryarts in under fifteen
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The Death Zone - Longer and Lower. Frenchay hospital, Bristol

[Interview conducted by the Harmony Institute with Valerie Turnbull, triage nurse, St. Vincent’s Hospital]

I had just started at St. Vincent’s and didn’t know too much about the whole thing. There had been rumours, you know, just whispers about what the poor people might look like or how you could tell.

In the beginning I was dreading walking through the wards in case someone had it.

But you can only be scared for so long.

Everyone was holding their breath for a new case but it just didn’t come. Eventually we just got on with it. We didn’t forget exactly, but I figured if I was going to come face to face with a Zombie, ah sorry, Post–dead, I had better know what I could do to help.

One morning all the nurses were called into a presentation from the senior medical staff about procedures and early detection. We were all a bit confused, we had listened to Dr. Boyd, we thought the risk was over. Turns out some doctors weren’t convinced. They wanted us to be prepared.

They showed us this video of one of the first cases. Close up shots of the skin and the eyes. How they acted around raw meat and, well, brains. I thought to myself, there is not a single thing I could do to help that thing.


Isn’t that an awful feeling?

Remembrance of things past…

Posted: July 28, 2010 by shopfrontcontemporaryarts in under fifteen
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[Transcript of unbroadcast radio interview conducted with Audrey Hampton outside of [redacted] processing centre]

It was a big white room in a medical centre out in [redacted]. I had to put on this white suit and had to have a shower before with this awful green disinfectant. It was horrible.

They sat me down in this chair in front of a glass window and I must have been waiting for over half an hour. When the shutter started to rise I could see Michael centimetre by centimetre. I peeked under to see him as fast as I could.

He was…well, at first I couldn’t recognise him. I think he noticed, but he didn’t say anything. I wish I had been able to hide my reaction. After all he had been through.

He was thin. Really thin and wearing this white smock. They had shaved off his beautiful hair.


He smiled and a tear rolled down his cheek. I pushed up against the cold glass. I just wanted to hug him. I wanted to take him home and put him in our bed and look after him and kiss him. He said he loved me, that he thought about me all day. His voice was tinny through the speaker.

He said he was remembering things. You know…from when he had…changed.

I didn’t know what to say. I told him my Dad had been fishing that weekend in the new boat.

Audrey Hampton


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Someone screaming underwater

Posted: July 23, 2010 by shopfrontcontemporaryarts in fifteen or over
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[interview conducted with Toby Rayment, provided courtesy of Keith Tinney, Sydney Morning Herald]

I remember the sound she was making more than anything else, that’s what I remember.

I was standing on Platform 16 at Central Station waiting for my train home. On the platform opposite there was a group of people standing around one of the benches. There were so many people I couldn’t see what they were looking at.

Some people ran away with a purpose.

It reminded me of the time I saw a car accident, you know, how some people like to take on different roles in an emergency. There was a woman in a power suit and joggers calling someone, the ambulance I guess, on her mobile. Others just stood around and watched with their arms folded. There was a woman with her hands over her mouth and two little kids just stood there staring. People on my platform started asking each other what was going on.

Then I heard the moan.

It was definitely human, but a bit wet, like someone screaming underwater.

The crowd backed away and I think someone vomited off the platform. Through the gaps in the crowd I could see this woman sprawled on the bench. She was rigid and shaking violently and then…completely still.

I ran down the platform and didn’t look back.

Toby Rayment


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Deep red through the clouds

Posted: July 22, 2010 by shopfrontcontemporaryarts in under fifteen
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[interview conducted with internally-displaced citizen (designate #48761986: “Madeleine Lee”) at Parramatta Emergency Processing Centre]

My family were in our car driving to our Auntie’s house in Sydenham. I was happy to be going there because it reminded me of Christmas.

Every now and then my Mum would start crying, just very softly.

I asked her what was wrong and my Dad put his hand on her shoulder. She just wiped her eyes and kept looking out the window.

I remember there were cars everywhere.

The traffic was moving so slowly on the highway that Dad turned the car off and we just sat there. There were boys and girls running around on the side of the road, but Mum said we couldn’t. My brother was playing on his DS, but I just sat there and thought about home.

Ash was falling from the sky and the sun was glowing deep red through the clouds.

Internally-displaced citizen (designate #48761986: “Madeleine Lee”).


An Effort in Containment

Posted: July 9, 2010 by shopfrontcontemporaryarts in under fifteen
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[interview conducted between FLTLT McLeod and unnamed Defence Intelligence Organisation operative. Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, 1982.]

I grew up in Sydney, in the suburbs, but had always loved the stories about the country. How could you not? The place, the idea of the place, is steeped in adventure and we’re constantly told that that is Australia – out there, beyond the ‘burbs. I always wanted to be a cowboy and I suppose it was no surprise to anyone when I joined the Air Force.

I was about four years out of my cadetship when we were sent in to burn the place.

I had read the papers, watched the news, heard about the, uh, chickens and everything but like everyone else I thought it was a joke. Zombie chickens? I mean come on. What is this, some kinda B-grade horror film? How could I take that seriously? How could anyone?

I thought it was one of those Internet pranks you know? Film some shaky footage with a ball of feathers going nuts in a glass cage and you got yourself a million hits on YouTube.

I couldn’t believe it when our squadron commander told us we were going to firebomb the Australian countryside. This wasn’t what I signed up for. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it.

I saw the news of all the cars on the highway trying to get away from the farmland. That’s when I knew this was real. It was going to be my job to destroy a part of Australia. An effort in containment. Scorched earth. Burning bridges in retreat. It felt excessive, like overkill; like when they destroyed all those pigs and cows and sheep in the UK because of Foot and Mouth. Except this time we were using napalm, and doing it from F-111s.

I called my Mum and asked if she was okay.

Flight Lieutenant Anthony ‘Sweet Spot’ McLeod, No. 6 Squadron.


A Chicken Named ‘Lurch’

Posted: July 8, 2010 by shopfrontcontemporaryarts in under fifteen
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[the following is a transcript of the first debrief interview conducted by the Australian Federal Police with Dr. Stephanie Holt, CSIRO. Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, 1982.]


I was part of the initial group of scientists that were asked to investigate the infected chickens.

We were originally part of a team set up by the government looking at the H5N1 influenza. It really was a very well thought out initiative actually; our team was one of several all looking at ways to minimise the impact of further pandemics, specifically anticipating a breach of Australia’s sea borders by an hypothetical airborne pathogen. There were some great minds involved, really exciting, off the wall stuff. The team of engineers we had onboard were about to do some incredible things in airports, stuff with giant airbags, like in cars but much, much bigger.

The first of the infected chickens were brought to us, transported to our lab, and we…were scared. There was no heart rate, no brain activity but this animal was still moving. I mean, nothing…nothing like I have ever seen. I remember working away one morning and just bursting into tears.

Things were changing and once again science was behind the eight ball. We were all very careful. Once a virus emerges in one species there is always the risk it will mutate to find another host.

We asked if there were any other cases. We didn’t get a response. Looking back now, at that point, it was already out of control…

We named the chicken Lurch, you know, from the Addams Family? It was our way of dealing with it.

Dr. Stephanie Holt, epidemiologist.