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Grayson Perry: En Garde
Grayson Perry goes backwards in the archive in search of the moment the avant-garde died. It's a century since Marcel Duchamp submitted his artwork called Fountain to an exhibition staged by the Society of Independent Artists in New York. Fountain was a urinal -- not a painting of a urinal or a sculpture, just a urinal, bought from a Manhattan hardware store and signed R.Mutt. The Society of Independent Artists rejected Duchamp's provocation and the original object was lost. Nowadays Duchamp's urinal is canonised as the fountainhead of conceptual art and the high water (closet) mark of the avant garde. Replicas of the Fountain grace museums around the world - emblems of the avant-garde spirit of experimentation and confrontation. Somewhere in the intervening years though, something changed - contemporary art lost its ability to shock and critique. We're still hopelessly drawn to the idea of art that's 'cutting edge', 'ground-breaking', 'revolutionary'. But is that possible at this point -- haven't we seen it all before? Maybe the death knell was sounded when the Saatchi Gallery opened on the South Bank? Or with the advent of protest and radical chic in the 1960s? Maybe it was when the CIA funded the abstract expressionists? Or when the post-war art market began to reign supreme? Or when the Museum of Modern Art opened its doors in 1927? Or maybe it was all a matter of style the very moment Duchamp's Fountain was conceived? Featuring Brian Eno, Kenneth Goldsmith, Nnenna Okore, Cornelia Parker, and Sarah Thornton. Producer: Martin Williams.
Driving Bill Drummond
Bill Drummond is many things. As well as an artist, a writer and former pop-star - he's the owner of an old curfew tower in Northern Ireland which he runs as an artists' residency. Last year some poets from Belfast's Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry stayed there and Bill published their collected work in a little black book called The Curfew Tower is Many Things. Except for a poem the award-winning Belfast poet Stephen Sexton wrote. Apparently that one went missing. So Bill has left two pages blank in the book for Stephen to fill in with poetry as they drive through all of Ireland's 32 counties in 5 days in a white Ford Transit hire-van, giving out copies as they go. But what exactly is driving Bill Drummond? Producer Conor Garrett is there to find out. As they cross the Irish border and over each county boundary, Conor is becoming increasingly concerned he may not have a good enough story for his radio programme. It's a problem further complicated by the fact Bill won't talk about his chart-topping '90s pop band who once famously set fire to a very large pile of their own cash. Then, when a narrative arc does eventually develop, Conor can't be sure how authentic it is. And what's all this stuff about eels? Producer: Conor Garrett.
The Race to Fingerprint the Human Voice
Impressionist Rory Bremner explores the role of the human voice in forensic phonetics. Forensic phonetics - or voice identification - has long been used in legal proceedings to help determine if the voice on a recording is that of the defendant. But with the electronic age enabling the recording and storage of more data than ever before, its role in criminal investigations is changing rapidly and the race is on to "fingerprint the human voice". Rory Bremner looks at some of the new research in this growing area of forensics - its applications in the fields of law enforcement and counterterrorism, and why there is such resistance to it in the UK, where we still prefer to rely on the human voice analyst than on an automated system. He hears about high profile cases involving speaker identification - including Michael Stone's conviction for the murder and Lin and Megan Russell and the conviction of John Humble as the hoax caller claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper. Rory also talks to Francis Nolan, Professor of Phonetics, about how the way we think of people as having "a voice" oversimplifies matters. Compared to a fingerprint pattern, which is always a constant, physical characteristic, the voice is the product of two mechanisms which vary considerably - the speech organs and language. Fingerprints are identified through literal analysis; voices are identified through comparative voiceprints. Your voice as your password is now becoming an everyday reality rather than a SciFi cliche. But can it really be said that every voice is unique, as some have claimed? The development of increasingly sophisticated automated speaker recognition systems is now bringing the prospect of a "voiceprint" enticingly close. But how accurate are these systems? Can they differentiate between 'real' Trump and Rory's impression of Trump...? Contributors: Professor Peter French Professor Hugh McLachlan Dr Helen Fraser Dr Kirsty McDougall Professor Francis Nolan Erica Thomson A Terrier production for BBC Radio 4.
Welcome to Wakaliwood
In the slums of Wakaliga, Uganda, a group of self-taught filmmakers run one of the world's most unlikely movie studios. Known as Wakaliwood they have released fifty-two feature films in ten years, with kit built from scrap metal and old car jacks. Despite this, their distinctive brand of kung fu action has found a global audience far beyond Kampala, with trailers going viral on YouTube and festivals around the world putting on sold-out screenings. Filmmaker Isis Thompson travels to Uganda to experience life on the set of the latest Wakaliwood production, and find out how the tiny studio's unexpected success is changing the fortunes of its cast and crew. Photo of Wakaliwood action scene by Tess Williams Presenter: Isis Thompson Producer: Olivia Humphreys A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.
The Myth of Homosexual Decriminalisation
On the 50th Anniversary of the ground breaking 1967 Sexual Offences Act, the campaigner Peter Tatchell takes a sceptical look at its impact on Britain's gay communities. Although it was a major staging post in the long and tortuous fight for the decriminalisation of male homosexual behaviour in Britain, Peter argues that the years immediately after 1967 were far from friendly towards homosexuality and convictions of men for same-sex offences increased dramatically. Peter goes on to examine discrimination against homosexual men in areas such as employment and housing in the 1970s, and revisits the fierce battles in the 1990s for reducing the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 16. Drawing on extensive archive from the last fifty years, Peter chronicles the continuing struggle for equal rights for Britain's LGBT communities - a story that takes us right up to 2017. Presenter: Peter Tatchell Producer: Tim Mansel Executive Producer: Samir Shah A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.