Miller Aud-cast Episode 31: Wendy Spitzer aka Felix Obelix

Hello and welcome to Aud-cast #31. We’re grateful you’re with us, and for this aud-cast, we are featuring “Pieces of Grief: Loss in a Pandemic” from Wendy Spitzler, aka Felix Obelix, the latest finalist for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize in Audio Documentary. We want to note up top that the piece can be emotionally intense, and there are mentions of death and loss. Listener discretion is advised.

Wendy Spitzer, aka Felix Obelix, is an inquiry-based interdisciplinary artist with a diverse output that spans music composition and performance, visual and community artmaking, audio, research, and modes of participatory inquiry. Her projects often explore themes of time and memory and are executed collaboratively. She has a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) and a Master of Music in Creative Practice from Goldsmiths College, University of London (UK). After time spent in Prague and London, she now lives and makes art in central North Carolina. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram @felixobelix and find out more on her website: felixobelix.com.

Artist notes:

“Pieces of Grief: Loss in a Pandemic” is the third segment of a seven-segment audio documentary on grief and loss that premiered online in October 2020. The piece integrates field recordings; anonymous voicemails from community members experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic; archival interviews from folks who survived the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic; and original music composed, performed, and recorded by Wendy Spitzer, also known under her artist moniker Felix Obelix. For the voicemail portions, she set up an anonymous hotline and asked the public to leave messages talking about their experiences with grief during the pandemic. Voices from these two global outbreaks, almost 100 years apart, sit next to each other: the listener is invited to compare and contrast these voices, as well as experience the collapse of the two tragedies across time. As the pandemic recedes, the piece also serves (and will serve into the future) as a kind of auditory time capsule of our months in limbo.

All seven segments and more information about the project can be found at: felixobelix.com/piecesofgrief

Stick around after the piece to hear contest editor Bailey Boyd and managing editor Marc McKee consider the piece, and weigh its artistry, its honoring of the spectrum of loss in the wake of the pandemic, and the optimism of such an artistic and humane gesture.

Thanks for being with us on Miller Aud-cast #31, featuring “Pieces of Grief: Loss in a Pandemic” from Wendy Spitzler, aka Felix Obelix.  Learn more about her and her project at felixobelix.com.  Miller Aud-cast 32 is on the way, so stay tuned. Thanks to the Missouri Review contest editor, Bailey Boyd, and to Patricia Miller, for her generous support for the Miller Audio Prize.

Finally, TMR is open for submissions year-round, and we remain dedicated to discovering and publishing the best contemporary writing in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Be heard. Give us the opportunity to discover you: subscribe or submit your work today! Learn more at missourireview.com.