North Country

1995, 32:10 min.
Helen Thorington

North County (1995) sounds like a radio play version of Fargo made by David Lynch and the author of a text-based game. Playing on themes of memory, time, hypertextuality, and principles of storytelling, the piece drops us into the mystery surrounding a skeleton found near a lake deep in the woods of upstate New York. We shift between the perspectives of the dead woman, a forensics expert, and a woman who travels in a text-based virtual world that echoes that of the dead woman. Dreamlike interludes and repeated phrases (“Simon says, tell the story from the beginning!”) and images (a tamarack tree reflected in the waters of the lake) give the sense that we are skipping not from one story to another but between layers of a story told several times over in several different ways. Like Lynch’s films, the piece offers a lot of beautiful and sometimes eerie atmosphere and builds a world the listener can explore through the piece, but the story itself is not linear or resolved in a traditional sense. - Described by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2020/2021, Jess Speer.