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Sienna Rackal

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Niamh Schmidtke  0:11  

Hello, you're listening to Future Artefacts FM radio show hosted by Niamh Schmidtke. And Nina Davies.


Nina Davies  0:19  

Earlier this year, several radio frequencies were discovered airing a collection of broadcasts. At first they sounded like regular news stories and interviews. They felt familiar, but also not quite belonging to our present. Slowly, the listeners came to believe that what they were listening to, did indeed belong to their world, just not their time. They were looking into the future through the mundane edges of radio recordings and public service announcements. While this material is still being meticulously studied by researchers in various universities and museums, your hosts have managed to gain access to this collection to air a selection of these broadcasts for you, our listeners.


Niamh Schmidtke  1:00  

For full disclosure, we will not be sharing this collection with you, as this introduction is based on a fictional event. In this monthly broadcast, Future Artefacts FM, we will present speculative fiction pieces by artists and writers, followed by conversation with hosts Niamh Schmidtke and Nina Davies. The programme will focus on fictional works intended for broadcast, such as radio plays or fictional interviews, to carve out a better understanding of the now by exploring various interpretations of the future.

Nina Davies  1:34  

This programme is kindly supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Elephant Trust.


Artist Introduction

Nina Davies  1:44  

Welcome back to Future Artefacts FM as per usual, I'm your host, Nina Davies,


Niamh Schmidtke  1:49  

and Niamh Schmidtke and we're welcoming you to Episode 12. Today, we're in the studio with Sienna, Hi, Sienna. 


Sienna Rackall  1:57  



Niamh Schmidtke  1:58  

How are you today?


Sienna Rackall  1:59  

I'm good, thanks. How are you?


Niamh Schmidtke  2:01  

I'm good. excited to hear the piece. Sienna is our final artist of our current ACE grant. Very big thank you to Arts Council and the Elephant Trust for making the current season possible. Today...


Nina Davies  2:16  

today's a special episode.


Niamh Schmidtke  2:19  

Over the summer, we were very lucky to work with HVH arts to deliver some workshops about future world building. Sienna was one of the participants at that workshop. And over the last few months we've been developing a story with her. Today, we're really happy that the CEO and founder of HVH arts, Debbie Clark is here. HVH arts is a registered charity, inspiring a generation of young people by offering them a gateway to the arts. Welcome to the show, Debbie.


Debbie Clark  2:52  

Thank you very much. Thank you for having me on. And thank you for the amazing project that you have been delivering all over last year. And of course with my beneficiary Sienna, who has been with HVH arts since the age of eight. So yeah, it's been a long time. So basically, we started a charity in 2013. We came in to Queens Cresent, Gospel Oak, we've supported over 525 unique young people. Your project has been really inspiring. And it has really developed Sienna as a writer. So I thank you for that. But my reason for starting the charity was to give the gift of art through inspiring young people. And I wanted them to have the skills and tools to develop lifelong artistic passions, and to be able to express themselves and gain confidence in all areas of their lives. And being a photographer myself, I knew from personal experience the transformational effect of having a medium that I can express myself through. And I wanted children and young people to feel that magic too. So I would just like to add that Sienna has been one of the most dedicated scholars within the foundation. We support, you know, as I said, quite a lot of young people. And she was a recipient of the McCrory award this year. And she's going on to I think, become a young actor.


Nina Davies  4:22  

You'll get a little sample of Seinna's acting in this.


Niamh Schmidtke  4:27  

But I'm and I've Nina's and myself as well, although ours is much much worse than


Debbie Clark  4:34  

but got Nina and Nina, thank you very much. You've been really inspiring, 


Nina Davies  4:39  

and we couldn't have done it without you. 


Debbie Clark  4:41  

Thank you very much. It's been it's been a great project and let's hope you get many more. Great. Okay, goodbye. Good luck, Sienna.


Nina Davies  4:50  

And Sienna. Welcome to the show. Thanks for coming in. We've done a few workshops with you in the summer with a group of who your friends are? I mean, I don't know whether... 


Sienna Rackall  5:02  



Nina Davies  5:02  

your friends. And then we got to spend the autumn developing your work, which was really, really exciting, too.


Niamh Schmidtke  5:12  

Yeah, it's been really enjoyable working with you and like seeing the story evolve. So as we were saying, with Debbie, we did some world building workshops. And you wrote the beginning of what became the story that we worked on together. So today, we're going to be listening to Before the Now, which is an 11 minute audio fiction piece that Sienna has been developing with us over the last few months. 


Nina Davies  5:38  



Niamh Schmidtke  5:39  

So the piece started started when we were doing the workshops in the summer. Yeah, and it's changed. It's not changed massively, but


Sienna Rackall  5:47  

it's still got like, more or less the same ideas, but I think it's really improved now, which I really like


Nina Davies  5:53  

yeah, definitely. I think it's like the meat of the story. 


Sienna Rackall  5:57  



Nina Davies  5:58  

It's still like, yeah, there of what you originally had. We've not we've not butchered it too much.


Niamh Schmidtke  6:04  

And the the meat Nina's referring to, we'll get to a little bit later. Yeah.


Nina Davies  6:09  

Sienna is there anything that you want to say about the work sometimes, some of the artists might have preference, a preference? I don't think you probably will, but some people will have preferences if you listened to it out loud or in earphones.


Sienna Rackall  6:22  

I didn't really have a preference, but I really hope you enjoy it.


Nina Davies  6:25  

Great. Perfect. Well, see you back in 11 minutes and hope you enjoy the work.

Before the Now work


Struggling babble slowly fades to silence and then *a knife stabbing sound*. I fell. Dead still. In horror. My eyes started to uncontrollably twitch. My hands started to uncontrollably shake. I looked down at my stomach. Approaching the hellacious wound with my unsteady hands. And there I saw it. The cold.. rigid metal shank plunged deep into my hot ..sticky.. Body. She must have twisted the oxidised shank around my stomach about what .. 5 times? Before she drew it out and cowardly ran away. *running away footsteps* And that , my friends , was that. Or so I thought.

Very dramatic  - is this a description of tone? To break up the sections? 

Have you ever experienced an attack? An attack that wasn't your fault but you ended up paying a price. Didn’t think so.* background music and a pause* 30 thousand people died trying to rescue Minerva *attack sounds * *fades out* Short quick breaths of air narrowly escaping my lungs. * heart beating carry on* Heart racing. Body beating. Vision impaired. * heart beating stopped*


More informal and less serious like a diary 

 Being attacked has its ups and down. Mhmmm more downs than ups. Firstly being dragged along the floor towards my death, ripped one of my ears out! It's fine though, my ears will grow back any day now. Anyways back to the story.  First off I might just tell you about myself *joyish music plays*. My name's Audrea. I have jet black hair , I am very very clumsy and I have a long beakish nose. That would make sense since we all evolved from owls. Or that's what Mum told me . I'm only 16. I was star-crossed with being born into a royal family. The Euripides *you rip ides*. And i always have to wear that  stupid crown that always gets tangled up in my hair. I swear it's like a curse. Being born into royalty in my opinion is loathsome. My older sister Fjona died when I was very young. My family hates talking about it. They haven't told me about the incident or even if it was an incident. In fact they don’t tell me anything about anyone *background music*. On a different note, I am actually destined - or whatever- to be queen. Let me explain. In our family, the eldest out of the former king or queens children can either pass the crown onto the next eldest sibling or the oldest of their own children. It's confusing. I'm aware.  My mum had no siblings so she passed the crown down to my older sister who only had it for a year or two and then .. well she passed so now the crown is mine.


Ahh my coronation. I entered wearing my late mother's pulchritudinous dress and a pair of d’orsay heel shoes. The whitesmoked coloured dress caressed my shoulders and lightly trailed along the aisle .-*footsteps over talking but is quiet*  As beautiful as the dress was , I could almost smell my mothers scent but I had to drown it in my most expensive perfume because I couldn't afford to smell old and like mould on my best day.  As I sat in the Chair of Estate I noticed something a bit off. * tension rising music* As much as I liked the attention and the many lovely faces looking up to me, I couldn't help but acknowledge the fact some ugly people (who I did not invite by the way) were sitting at the back , kept on talking, yawning and chuckling at me. Some had angry expressions however some looked quite sad. *music stops*But I didn't care, nothing would ruin this day for me, not even the poor, grotesque tramps in the back.  Many of my aunts and uncles that I didn't even know existed turned up to the coronation and the amount of compliments * your dress , your hair , that crown/ bunches over compliments overlapping and echoing.*Everyone was so happy and warm and it was perfect. Even down to the last detail. Wait , no. Not everyone was happy. 

I was seconds away from being crowned the new queen of Minerva when something I saw out of the corner of my eye immediately caught my attention. It was a scroll of paper. Just laying on the floor. I think that this is an appropriate time to mention a new trend going around called buck code. I heard about it from a friend of a friend. She said it was something about images or swirls, i wasnt really listening at the time. I was more concerned about what I was going to feed Cassius, my pet, later. Squallen or Hikjen. Both mountain range animals and both similarly delicious. I ended up picking Squallen. *short chewing noise*  Anyways the scroll seemed to belong to one of the tramps in the back of the Abbey because as soon as I saw it he was quicker than a mouse to enforce his tight grip and snatch it away.* paper rustling*

I was 5 days in, being the newly crowned Queen of Minerva and although i was the queen of the world or whatever, I was just so fixated on the crown. It was pure gold with ruby, emerald and sapphire gems encrusted in, glinting in the pale moonlight. So precious. I would spend my mornings just staring right at it. Almost like I was in a trance. * pause / background music* On the 6th day of reign it is a tradition to sit up on the wise old oak tree and gaze across the kingdom you rule. I personally think that's so boring! But I had to. 


*climbing noises* As an elegant royal we are supposed to sit beneath the tree but that's so blah. I wanted to climb up. Lucky for Cassius he could fly up but I was struggling. I reached the top and even though I didn't want to admit it, it was amazing. The purple sun was rising along the horizon, shining light on all the buildings and farms and … cages??. Wait, why were there cages? What was inside. This sparked my curiosity so much that as I leaned forward to try and make out what was in the cages.. I fell. It's embarrassing but just pretend it didn't happen but I wasn't going to give up and I was going to find out what was inside. *murmuring*  e was I going to get a good view? The study has big windows but isn't high enough. Errrr… *lightbulb* The astrology tower !! YES. It has a telescope and is definitely high enough.I 100% knew dad's stinky tower was going to be put to use someday.

I ran as fast as I could. The crisp wind navigating through my hair and the grass being kicked up after every step. I got to the tower and sprinted up the stairs, tripping up every 5 seconds or so. I'm not the athletic kind, I'm more into sitting pretty as I do so well. Finally reaching the top I took a second to catch my breath. Quick second to fix my hair anddd *bang* *scream*.




No this isn't the part when I die so you stop crying. This was my kidnapping.


I was just fixing my hair in the reflection of the astrology tower windows and I saw a quick movement over my shoulder. I spun around and .. no one was there. However, someone was lying on the floor. They grabbed at my ankles and my whole body slammed to the floor and was dragged away. I must have blacked out for a few seconds because once I regained consciousness again I found myself in a little black room. *echo*  Frantically I started banging and gripping the walls to find some sort of exit or door. This was when my fingers traced along a marking. * muttering* It was the Euripides royal sign. The room must be somewhere in the castle. After a few minutes of strategizing and realising no gorgeous prince was going to kick down the walls and save me I had to do it myself. *footsteps stomps* *creak door opening* 

“ Stupid animal”  

Cassius!!!!  What are you doing here?Are you okay? Ahh Cassius.

Some stupid stupid idiot threw my precious Cassius into this torturous room with me. As I lent over to hug him I saw the paper I saw at the Coronation. Why is it here? Would it be linked to my kidnapping? I kept staring at it trying to figure what it could be. But it was a dark room. How could I see? I looked up and to my surprise the door was left ajar. How could someone be so dense that they would leave the door open whilst someone they just kidnapped was in it. Gosh! This was my only moment to escape so me and Cassius had to lay low and crawl which wasn't too hard for Cassius. We were out of the room and were met with a staircase. I’d seen this staircase before, It's the one at the bottom of the Astrology tower. Even though this was my castle and kingdom I did not know I had a secret dungeon underground. We snuck up and I tripped again. Looking back this was probably the reason why I died. The trip made a loud echo and we froze. Dead still. We seemed fine and started our trek up the stairs again and THIS is when it happened   


Cassius’s voice

One minute she was right behind me and then she was gone. I didn’t turn around fully but I could hear the struggling echoes from her. Blood. I could smell blood. Not mine but Audreas. Now I couldn't turn around. I couldn't bear to see my beloved owner in incredible pain. She couldn’t speak properly but I made out she would want me to carry on. Maybe. She was one moody girl and maybe she wanted me to stay and pass with her but I WAS not going to do that. I ran up those stairs like my life depended on it. I got to the top and the window was open. I was tempted to jump out so I did. I'm a very spontaneous half reptilian, quarter eagle and quarter dog animal. The fall wasn’t too bad. As I was graciously falling I saw the war zone the once tranquil royal garden had become. Blood everywhere, the wise tree had fallen and my best friend (a tyrannosaurus rex) started floating up into the sky and suddenly so was I. Minerva was falling to pieces. It was time to find a new home.


Nina Davies  17:44  

Welcome back. I hope you all enjoyed the work Before the Now by Sienna Rackall.


Niamh Schmidtke  17:50  

Is there anything behind the piece that you're thinking about when you're writing or that you took from it the the workshops we did together?


Sienna Rackall  17:58  

I think when we watch the films in the workshop, that was very inspiring, because we were told to write something futuristic or science fiction, basically. And when I think of science fiction, I think of more like Star Wars. And I was like, how am I really going to base something off of Star Wars, which is has already existed? And so watching the films, especially because they were two different films, like one was cartoon and one was real life, the Matrix? Yeah. And the other one was Wall-e, I think I take inspiration from that. But like, I didn't involve too many of their ideas into my work, but


Nina Davies  18:33  

Yeah, there are sort of two, two kind of very different speculative futures that were presented.


Niamh Schmidtke  18:39  

Yeah, I think that was a bit of a learning curve for us as well. Because I mean, you're you're 14 and most of the people in the room with us, we're kind of the same age and the Matrix is, you forget, it's a film you need to watch a few times before it makes sense. Yeah. I think that might have also been kind of good as well, because we're talking about science fiction and speculation. And so yeah, gotta kind of break down bits of the, bits of the story,


Nina Davies  19:07  

I think is that it's something when you've been watching the Matrix for so long, you can see the fourth time, fifth time watching it. You can keep watching it


Sienna Rackall  19:15  

I don't understand when they're in the matrix, matrix or when they're out, I still don't understand it. The directors must have been really confused. 


Nina Davies  19:22  

Yeah, it takes a while to I think the it's one of those things that you almost need to watch that film a second time to let them know what's coming up. And you notice things that you didn't notice before. So when we were doing the workshops, we were talking a bit about the technique of the unreliable narrator. And I remember you kind of picking up on that or that kind of seemed to resonate with you quite a lot. And I was wondering whether for the listeners whether you want to describe what the unreliable narrator is.


Sienna Rackall  19:58  

So I thought that was really Cool idea when Nina was telling me about it, because I wanted to make the character Audrea really naive, and really childish and really like, giddy basically. And I just thought it'd be such a cool concept to put that through, like, because she's a narrative in the film, like more or less like she talks to the listener. Does that make sense? 


Nina Davies  20:23  



Sienna Rackall  20:23  

yeah, she talks to a listener. And she kind of gives her opinion on a lot of stuff. Except for when Cassius does. But I think also you see, like the story through her eyes. So you see it through her opinions and stuff and how she's very biased on stuff, man?


Nina Davies  20:44  

Yeah, it's interesting how you don't really, usually the narrator is always kind of meant to be this reliable character. We watch it and narrators are usually you know, in documentaries, sometimes trying to think of the 


Niamh Schmidtke  20:58  

Well they're kind of impartial. 


Nina Davies  20:59  

You haven't heard the nature documentaries. What did they? Attenborough, David Attenborough. Yeah, he's a, he's a narrator, and you believe and you believe him? And yeah, it is a factual show. But so you get used to when someone's being a narrator to always believe that what they're saying and that what what they're saying is rational and true. 


Sienna Rackall  21:20  

Yeah. And they keep you updated as well, because it's the narrator


Nina Davies  21:24  

And so you kind of wanted to make this character flip, I guess there's Yeah, meant to sort of be that reveal, usually with a with the unreliable narrator, where you kind of start to realise towards the end of the story. You think, Wait a minute, I don't think that they're the they're this kind of rational person that that they're meant to be or their views, maybe are not the, it's always hard to be like, who has the right view, but there's something maybe slightly more sinister behind their thoughts?


Niamh Schmidtke  21:55  

Well she's not very likeable is she. 


Sienna Rackall  21:56  

She's not, I mean, that's how I wanted it to be anyway.


Niamh Schmidtke  22:03  

I mean, I kind of want to I think we talked a bit about this before as well. But is Audrea based on like, a historical figure or someone in your own life? 


Sienna Rackall  22:16  

Yes, no. She isn't, but loads of like, you see on the internet knows of girls being really like mean and stuff. And there's always like, a perception of like, teenage girls being really mean, especially like, even to the film Mean, Girls, for example, those girls are mean, so you always have that kind of idea. And I just wanted her to be like a really mean guy, but very in like a subtle way. But then she's also mean.


Nina Davies  22:40  

Yeah, I mean, this might be too personal. The question, but is that something that you that meanness, or that perception of girls as being mean? Is that something that you experience in your real life? Or is that something that you think just do experiences in fiction? Like, is it sort of a fiction?


Sienna Rackall  22:57  

Yes, definitely. It will happen in reality. Thankfully, I haven't dealt with any mean girls. Yeah, actually, no, it's a lie. I have, but not going to say who they are. But yeah, it's definitely I think it's more portrayed as like drama- and more dramatic in fiction. I don't think anyone would go around exposing the mean, but or the Burn Book. Sorry. Yeah, that's pretty cool.


Niamh Schmidtke  23:21  

No, but I guess it's also that you get to see like, what she cares about? Yeah, too. Or like maybe where that like meanness, yeah, comes from in her. One of the things, I guess thinking about like the science fiction bit, and we were talking about the Matrix earlier, and so on. It's bit unclear when the piece is set, like what timeline it is, until at the very end, when you realise that this is the beginning of Earth. And it's kind of an origin story of Earth, which sort of places this like, billions and billions of years ago. I was thinking in that then and like thinking about the beginning of worlds and of planets and so on. How do you imagine the beginning of Minerva the planet that Audrea, the main character is queen of what do you think the beginning of it was like?


Sienna Rackall  24:12  

I don't know. But I watched the film Don't Look Up at the end of the film. I think it's Meryl Streep and Jonah Hill. They end up on this like, they end up on a planet, have you guys watched it? Yeah, they end up on like a planet with like, it's really weird. I was you know, the like generic new planet basically like really foresty and green I sort of wanted to base my idea of that because I thought if it's too like industrial like like buildings everywhere as a new planet wouldn't be too interesting. So I really wanted it to be like forest-ey and colourful


Nina Davies  24:48  

The new planet as in being the, Minerva 


Sienna Rackall  24:51  

Yeah. Being Minerva. 


Nina Davies  24:52  

Okay. Yeah. Well, yes, usually, those perceptions of planets are always pretty. Yeah, well, they're always kind of futuristic, yeah, they always seem to be more advanced. Yeah. I always wonder about why are those perceptions of a different planet would be that or that it would be so similar to ours, that the materials would even be similar? I don't know, this is just something that I've always thought about thinking how like on our planet, we have like those three states like solid, liquid and gas. And I always think, would there be the maybe on some planets, there's different,


Sienna Rackall  25:26  

Like, oobleck? 


Nina Davies  25:27  

What's oobleck? 


Sienna Rackall  25:28  

Oobleck, oh, my God, I made it in science club in primary school is really, really happy about that. It's like cornstarch and water, I think. And it's like, a substance, that's when you hold it in your hand and you squeeze it solid for about a second or two. And then you let it go, it becomes a liquid, which is cool. 


Nina Davies  25:47  

Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about. 


Niamh Schmidtke  25:49  

They did an episode on this, of this on Mythbusters. And they had someone run across a pool of it. To see if they could like, because it has that thing, it turns solid, when it has pressure applied. So if you can, like run can, yeah, run across the pool. And then, I guess going back to the beginning of a piece, since we're talking about like origins as well, the title Before the Now. What made you think of calling it something, like it's not directly related to the story? In a way it's quite open? But 


Sienna Rackall  26:25  

Yeah, like the now for us is planet Earth, the present moment that we're living in right now. And Minerva was before that, so it's a very like umbrella term, basically, like it's really open like, Before the Now. It's, it's kind of like Back to the Future, doesn't really make that much sense. Yeah, it kind of does.


Niamh Schmidtke  26:42  

Yeah. And that makes sense. Kind of like thinking about if there was a whole civilization 


Sienna Rackall  26:47  



Niamh Schmidtke  26:47  

before the beginning of Earth and the civilization that we know Yeah.


Nina Davies  26:52  

Yeah because it makes me think about the reveal. I know, we're kind of at the beginning of the conversation. And I'm fast forwarding to the end. But at the end, there's this reveal when the dinosaurs float up into the sky and find Earth. And it suddenly puts this fictional story in relation to our own world. Yeah. I mean, so in one way, the it kind of reminds me of the end of, and now I realise  I might be spoiling a film that you haven't seen yet, of a planet of the apes. Have you seen?


Sienna Rackall  27:25  

It like it comes on on TV? So like, little bits of it? But I've never watched the whole film.


Nina Davies  27:29  

Do you know, do you know what the ending is of planet? 


Sienna Rackall  27:32  



Nina Davies  27:32  

Maybe I won't maybe I won't ruin it.


Sienna Rackall  27:33  

No you can spoil it


Nina Davies  27:36  

 No, I'm not gonna spoil it. If you ever do watch. Like, I think it's good to watch it the first time and not know the end. Okay, so I want but the some of the listeners who are listening who have seen it will know what I'm talking about. But I guess there is sort of this thing that makes me think, you know, with the dinosaurs going to find Earth, it does make me think because obviously, Audrea and the sort of the class or the kind of being that Audrea is, is the dominant, the sort of dominant being or animal that exists on that planet. And the fact that the, the animals that ended up actually finding another planet, aren't the sort of dominant species, I say dominant, with little quotations. It does make me think, you know, we always think about this sort of narrative of trying to find another planet because we're starting to kill our planet. And there's this idea that we will be the ones that will find another planet like that humans will be the one that eventually make it to Mars. And there's something about your story that kind of makes me think, well, maybe it won't be, like we could create these pathways to another planet, but maybe it might not end up being us that actually survives on those planets. It could be different kinds of biology or microbiome.


Sienna Rackall  28:56  

I find that is so amazing. 


Niamh Schmidtke  28:57  

Or maybe it's Cassius


Sienna Rackall  29:01  

repopulate the earth. Yeah.


Nina Davies  29:04  

But was there a also, was there a decision in wanting to make it the dinosaurs that go to Earth? But then I realised that of course, it's the dinosaurs to go to Earth because it's dinosaurs that were on the earth. But yeah, it does make me think about conversations about the climate crisis. I've always feel like Niamh is climate crisis for the right terminology. 


Niamh Schmidtke  29:25  

Climate Crisis, climate breakdown, 


Nina Davies  29:27  

climate breakdown,


Niamh Schmidtke  29:28  

just don't say climate change. The climate is always changing.


Nina Davies  29:30  

Yeah. And so for you Sienna were you thinking about the climate crisis at all when you were writing the story?


Sienna Rackall  29:41  

I actually wasn't which is really weird because it's like, really big thing now. Yeah. But I don't think much incorporates into my story that much because she's not like of the earth because or of Minerva because of the climate but I can see like, how it can relate.


Niamh Schmidtke  30:00  

Well it feels a lot like it's a political struggle. Yeah. You know, she has an uprising against her in essence.


Nina Davies  30:27  

I thought we were when we started doing the workshops. I totally thought that, especially like showing Wall-e in the workshops, which is, which is a film about kind of the climate.


Niamh Schmidtke  30:37  

It's a film about wastes, too much of it. 


Sienna Rackall  30:40  

The environment. And yeah,


Nina Davies  30:40  

I totally thought that all the stories that everyone would make in the workshops would primarily be about the climate crisis, just because it's so like, the stories about climate crisis, just imply a future already, or like thinking about it, or narratives.


Niamh Schmidtke  30:54  

Even thinking both of the films that we showed, which makes sense with what you've written. We showed Wall-e and the Matrix, which are both about 'don't believe the authorities' 


Sienna Rackall  31:05  



Niamh Schmidtke  31:06  

and then you've written from the perspective of the authority 


Sienna Rackall  31:09  



Niamh Schmidtke  31:10  

and how much you shouldn't believe her because she's she's got some wacky ideas about how the world should revolve around her.


Sienna Rackall  31:16  

I've seen loads of Illuminati videos come up on my for you page and it's so weird because it's just like 


Nina Davies  31:23  

on tick tock 


Sienna Rackall  31:24  

Yeah, yeah, it's with this song like California Dreaming in the background, which has just ruined the song for me because now it just sounds really like detrimental.


Nina Davies  31:32  

Weird oh California Dreaming For Oh, for Illuminati


Sienna Rackall  31:35  

The videos are like, all the videos are under that sound. It is just like the government put too much chlorine in water, you're gonna die. And it's really like negative actually. But 


Nina Davies  31:44  

Yeah there's so many conspiracies on on tick tock, but I always find it so weird, because there's such a short amount of time to fit in. 


Sienna Rackall  31:52  



Nina Davies  31:52  

any information. So it's instantly kind of, it's not clickbait, but I guess it's sort of yeah, they give you a little sound bites. And with the ominous music, sometimes you might or maybe California Dreaming across those.


Niamh Schmidtke  32:04  

I mean, what interests you in conspiracy theories? Because, we talked a little bit before.


Sienna Rackall  32:09  

I just love how wacky they are and how like, I'm genuinely interested in the ones that do make sense because there's some that I just, I don't know, Tutankhamun is gonna be, come back to Earth. You know, there's really like weird ones. But then there's ones that do actually make sense. Which I'm really like, invested in.


Niamh Schmidtke  32:26  

Were there any of them that you were thinking about, in particular, as we are going through and like editing the story together?


Sienna Rackall  32:33  

Yeah, that was one that you told me about about the crown and the jewels.


Niamh Schmidtke  32:38  

Oh, that's actually not a conspiracy. Well,


Sienna Rackall  32:41  

oh, no, it was it was it?


Niamh Schmidtke  32:43  

It's a curse


Nina Davies  32:43  

Well, I think it's an interesting thing where we're talking about con- where conspiracies and folklore. Kind of converge because actually, because you're talking about folklore. But, you know, conspiracy theories could at some point in the future, we might look back on them as a form of folklore, because a lot of these conspiracy theories won't ever amount to anything, so they will enventually


Niamh Schmidtke  33:04  

but they won't make it into historical records. 


Nina Davies  33:07  

Unless, unless maybe they're stories. 


Niamh Schmidtke  33:09  

But yeah,


Nina Davies  33:10  

well they say go for the explain the story about the crown. 


Niamh Schmidtke  33:14  

So when we were, we were talking about the story after we'd had a bit of a break in summer. And the original version of the story,you talked a lot about the crown and her being kind of cursed. Yeah, we're trying to figure out what other kinds of curses had happened. And at the time, I was listening to, shout out to an amazing podcast, Empire podcast, really, really good if you will learn about the British empire in India, the origins, they have a great series about the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is the diamond that was in the queen's crown, what's still there, that was stolen from from India. But the reason why it's only ever worn by a queen, or the queen consort of the current king. So, Camilla. Now, I guess, I don't know the royals that well, is that every man who's worn it seems to have been cursed. They all seem to come to early deaths. The famous scene in the first season of Game of Thrones, where there's a man who has, Daenerys' brother has, like gold poured over his head to give him a permanent crown. That was something that happened to a man who wore the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Then later on, there were


Nina Davies  34:33  

there's also a, I think that also that story is also in The Hobbit. 


Niamh Schmidtke  34:39  



Nina Davies  34:39  

Where the main dwarf for 


Niamh Schmidtke  34:42  



Nina Davies  34:43  

Is like overcome by greed.


Niamh Schmidtke  34:45  

Yeah. Because these stories would have been in kind of Indian and Middle Eastern history from about the, like, 16 1700s. So they would have they would have trickled through time, almost as myth because they're so gruesome. But yeah, we are talking about that really, creepy story. I can't give the full details. But if you want the full details, listen to Empire podcast. They have three episodes, I think on it


Nina Davies  35:12  

But yeah, so you were saying that now? So the queen that just died? Did wear the crown? Like maybe I'm just using the wrong language about about the royal family?


Niamh Schmidtke  35:24  

No, she Yeah, no, she wore it. So the first Queen to wear it was Queen Victoria, I think. But none of the kings of Britain have worn that crown because of the bad luck associated with it. And even Queen Victoria didn't want to wear it until she was blessed by the last son of the Mughals of the Mughal empire, who loved Queen Victoria so much that he kind of gave her his blessing. 


Nina Davies  35:53  

Also, there was um, the reference to or not the obvious reference, but the sort of reference to conspiracies in your in your work was also um, I wanted to ask also about Buck code, which you you mentioned in the work. And I was wondering whether you could I don't know how much in the back of your head, you've kind of fleshed out what buck code was. But yeah, definitely. It feels very mysterious when Yeah, kind of briefly describe it in the story. And I was wondering, yeah, if you had any other thoughts on what buck code is, where it comes from? What are its origins?


Sienna Rackall  36:29  

It's basically like Morse code I just wanted another name for it. I just think it's really cool. I think Morse code, the whole concept of Morse code was really cool. It's like another language basically, with just using lights basically, in the war as well. Actually, my geography teacher was telling me how there's, I don't think that language exists anymore. But knots, I don't know if you've heard of, but I think it's in South America. And they use like, string in like knots in string to communicate. It might be, I'm not sure. But I just think the whole concept was like a new language is really cool. 


Niamh Schmidtke  37:06  

Or like a secret code. 


Sienna Rackall  37:07  

Yeah, like a secret code or like,


Nina Davies  37:10  

I mean, I'm almost computer code is almost like a binary binary code of zeros and ones is kind of really similar to just


Sienna Rackall  37:17  

Well zeros and ones are  so boring, because I associate that with maths and I do not like maths.


Niamh Schmidtke  37:23  

Or even like going back to like, the Illuminati conspiracies, they would have like hidden hidden codes, you would write notes to one another, but you know, you'd only pick out a certain amount of words or you'd have an index and stuff. Yeah. Because I was thinking about that in relation to the group who ultimately ended up kidnapping and murdering Audrea. What, you know, why do you think they were using, do you think they were using buck code or why?


Sienna Rackall  37:50  

That's such an interesting question to the yeah, I hope so. I mean, they were really like sneaky how they kidnapped her, but I think they could have been using Morse code as well. It's not said in the piece. But I think?


Nina Davies  38:05  

Well you had in an earlier version, you had a little bit about a civil war that was happening, but I don't think it's in the it's in the final... version?


Sienna Rackall  38:14  

No, they just rebel


Nina Davies  38:18  

Yeah. Do you have any thoughts on like, what, maybe where that idea of a civil war or the rebellion might have come from? Like any video films you've watched? Or stories? Or something from real life fight? You know, it could be Yeah, from history.


Sienna Rackall  38:34  

Not really. I, I did watch Enola Holmes, which is also like, Oh, right. Yeah. inspired because she uses flowers to communicate with her mom, which is really cool. Like, um, she has a book and it has different like, types of flowers in it. And they use like the first letter of the flowers. Something like that. It's really cool when they communicate through newspapers as well, like circling words in newspapers. That was, movie was set when the suffragette movement was, oh, no, not suffragette movement. But her mom was like involved in 


Nina Davies  39:10  

protests or something? 


Sienna Rackall  39:10  

Protests for women,  Yeah,


Nina Davies 39:12  

It's interesting have you, have you ever learned any sort of secret or I don't know when you were younger? Did you ever have any secret languages?


Sienna Rackall  39:19  

Egg language, have you ever heard of that? No. Oh, it's really cool. I saw it on Tik Tok. Actually, it's okay, I'm gonna try and remember correctly, it's, you take the normal word. And between each, where there would be a vowel in the word, you replace it with the words with the letters D and G, or G and D. I can't remember. But it sounds like really weird. It's like, I can try and find an example. But


Nina Davies  39:48  

And so well, I'm assuming you haven't learned it.


Sienna Rackall  39:51  

I haven't learnt it fully. But when I knew when I found out my mum knew about it. I really wanted to talk to her with egg language.


Nina Davies  39:59  

Is there anyone you'd be like? Hiding your conversation from or? 


Sienna Rackall  40:04  

My mum! I actually I forced my brother to learn it with me as well. And we could only say about sentence but it was really fun.


Nina Davies  40:14  

I don't think I ever learned any. I don't think I ever learned any secret languages. It would have oh, well, my sister I went to French school. My parents didn't know how to speak French. So that was maybe the secret language.


Niamh Schmidtke  40:24  

My mum, I was always terrible at learning Irish in school. But my mum would speak Irish to me. And she'd speak Irish to me, especially if we were abroad somewhere and in an elevator and she wanted to like say something about someone who's in the elevator with us. Not a great tactic in somewhere like Australia or the US because there are a lot of Irish people around.


Sienna Rackall  40:44  

Yeah, my mum and my oldest sister, they speak French. So when they don't want to talk in front of me or my younger brother, they just speak French and it's very rude, actually.


Niamh Schmidtke  40:55  

Yeah, it is rather.


Sienna Rackall  40:57  

It's really annoying. As well cause I really want to know what they're saying. Because I'm very nosey.


Niamh Schmidtke  41:01  

Yeah, I guess that's a good incentive to learn French. 


Sienna Rackall  41:04  



Nina Davies  41:04  

I was gonna ask you about not not the story, but also your interest in acting and sort of that, that interest in immersing yourself in different worlds? 




Do you find that a beneficial or sort of not terms, not in terms of just educating yourself about acting and about the skill of acting or storytelling? But do you find that sometimes learning through stories is a way of engaging with the world?


Sienna Rackall  41:35  

Yeah, definitely. If you sit in like a lecture, or a conference for like, an hour or something you won't pick up much because you just get bored. And that's just plain simple. But if you're telling a story through it, and you're using actions and using, like, rhyming words, I think people just tend to pick up like, notes easier, that's just an example. Yeah, yeah.


Niamh Schmidtke  41:59  

I'm even thinking, because Nina and I went to a conference. Not that long ago, I was in the Wellcome Trust, it was called Beyond the visual. And it was a conference about how, how different arts networks and institutions are looking at people with visual impairdness and how they're how they're finding creating resources for those people. One of the final talks of the day we went, was a Canadian man who was talking about his love of fireworks. And he told it through a story about how he would go and see fireworks as a, as a kid. And he had a degenerative condition where his sight got worse and worse. And one year he went back to this same place where he used to always see fireworks as a kid, but with his sight could no longer see them but his friend who was with him could and so he asked his friend describe to me what what you see. And his friend was saying, you know, it's like tears of fire and so that that always sticks because there's this very, like creative or visual or storytelling.


Nina Davies  42:06  

Oh, he also said that someone would draw the things on his back. 


Niamh Schmidtke  42:10  

Yeah it became a whole project. Yeah, he had sighted people with non sighted people kind of drawing on their backs or on their body, or, sorry, on their backs or on their bodies, the figure of the fireworks, bringing it back to the story, because we've, we've rambled away a little bit. So Audrea is not human. And the only creatures we recognise from Earth in this story are the dinosaurs. Yes. Can you talk a little bit about Audrea's species, what she looks like, because we get a bit of an idea. But?


Sienna Rackall  42:50  

It was inspired by the first workshop that we did, like what like her species when we were looking through catalogues, and magazines and stuff. And just like features that I would notice about models, like some of them, it's just really simple. Like some of them had black hair, some of them had blonde hair. And also I saw a video on, I saw a video of how different like how we would have, okay, sorry. How different we would have looked if we'd evolved from different animals. So like, if we had evolved from lions, we would have like, really like 


Big hair? 


Just really hairy, we'd just be really hairy. Yeah, so it was like, inspired by that. And I saw a video of if we'd evolved from owls, and the person looks quite creepy. I think it was aI generated. But they just had a long beekish nose.


Niamh Schmidtke  43:49  

And like kind of pointy like, not very skin-like


Sienna Rackall  43:53  

little mouth underneath. Which is really weird. But I thought it'd be a really cool concept to make her not adapt from apes. Or like monkeys.


Niamh Schmidtke  44:07  

Yeah, I'm imagining her eyes has been like really big and really wide. Do you think she can see behind her? Her neck is like,


Sienna Rackall  44:15  

Oh my God. Yeah, they turn their neck like fully.


Niamh Schmidtke  44:18  

Yeah, cause she also doesn't fly. Like there's a bit later on the story where like Cassius is able to fly. Yeah, and then maybe, maybe as well, because I think there were some versions. Because we've seen, we've worked on a few different versions together. And some versions had more descriptions of Cassius and some less. Maybe, if you could also talk a little bit about, like, what Cassius looks like, how do you imagine him to be? And also where do you imagine him to go? Like, does he go to earth as well? Or?


Sienna Rackall  44:48  

In the end I think he just floats away doesn't he


Nina Davies  44:50  

Floats away but not to Earth. 


Sienna Rackall  44:53  

Yeah, not to earth. We can make it like a like.


Nina Davies  44:58  

Yeah, Cassius is adventures.


Sienna Rackall  45:00  

That'd be so cool. Please fund us.


Nina Davies  45:05  

But also, yeah, so what because what happens what sort of Audrea's fate? Because the story just kind of ends abruptly? Yeah. Or her, her story ends? Yeah.


Niamh Schmidtke  45:19  

Yeah. Cause it's the end of Minerva, too her planet dies as well.


Sienna Rackall  45:26  

So it's kind of questioning the reader if we kill our planet, which hopefully we do not. What would happen because obviously, we wouldn't start floating in space. That's what the dinosaurs did. It kind of, I hope it left the listener with questions about where she would go as well. So I'm not going to answer the question. That's a way of getting out of it.


Niamh Schmidtke  45:50  

That's, that's for the listener to decide what happens next? And maybe like another thing around her around your story, because we talked a little bit about this, this Koh-i-Noor diamond, and the fate and the sort of curse that's associated with it. And you say there's a curse in her family, as well. Do you have any idea about like, what happened to her sister? Or because this kind of, or are we also left ambiguously, kind of wondering..?


Sienna Rackall  46:22  

Yeah, her sister dies. I'm just trying to remember my own story. Yeah.


Niamh Schmidtke  46:27  

Do you think was it the same group that ended up stabbing Audrea that cause that death? Or is it something more mystical?


Sienna Rackall  46:37  

I think I hopefully wanted to go for the more mystical path of it. Otherwise, it would just be a rampage of people killing the royal family from Minerva.


Niamh Schmidtke  47:47  

We're not trying to incite any killings on the royal family. By the way. This is purely fictional. 


Sienna Rackall  48:52  

Yeah. Yeah,


Nina Davies  48:55  

Yeah also so I was interested in what what made you want to use a sort of like rock like a sort of royal family as as the as the basis of your story like was there? Because obviously such a quiet sort of like sort of classical form of storytelling? Yeah, we do it all the time Game of Thrones is, you know, we were drawn to stories about families in power, which historically are usually Royal. And that starting to kind of change a bit there. Why did you choose to write about a royal family?


Sienna Rackall  49:00  

Huh, yeah, 


Nina Davies  49:01  

Yeah also I was interested in what? What made you want to use a sort of like roy- sort of like a sort of royal family as as the as the basis of your story like was there? Because obviously sort of, it's sort of like such a classical form of storytelling. 


Sienna Rackall  49:19  



Nina Davies  49:20  

We do it all the time, Game of Thrones is, you know, we're drawn to stories about families in power, which historically are usually royal, and that starting to kind of change a bit. Why did you choose to write about a royal family?


Sienna Rackall  49:36  

I think it's more interesting to write about like a family in power rather than, I don't know, an ordinary family in the village because, I mean, if I wrote about an ordinary family, and like the village area they lived, it'd be cool to add like a secret backstory or something. But I think with a royal family who has like loads of power and supposed to be well respected, like for them not to be respected, and the whole rebel against them, it just seemed like a cool idea.


Niamh Schmidtke  50:05  

What happens when you take their perspective when things are going badly? 


Sienna Rackall  50:08  



Niamh Schmidtke  50:09  

Because I guess it is. You do also wonder then because you hear this the perspective of a very bratty teen princessor a 


Sienna Rackall  50:19  

A queen, actually.


Niamh Schmidtke  50:20  

Yeah a Queen. And it makes you kind of feel for what what is it like to be under her rule? 


Sienna Rackall  50:27  



Niamh Schmidtke  50:27  

Like I'm imagining right. Now imagine if the current monarch. I don't know if there are any kind of current monarchs that are that young. I guess I wonder how different Audrea might have been if she wasn't royalty.


Sienna Rackall  50:41  

Um, I think she'd be less entitled, because obviously, she grew up in a family that she'd got given everything. So this is just from like, her background basically. So I wanted her to be from like a family who would give her everything and she would have loads of stuff. And that's just the way she was brought up for me. So for her to like, completely go off with that and live like a civilian would be really weird. So for her to like, take the civilians ideas hear about it also be really weird because she can't put herself in that position. So it's almost come natural to her that she's really bratty. And she's really like...


Nina Davies  51:22  

But it's funny, there's, I feel like there's always so many stories about, about royal families. And then when the when the younger kid then ends up being the one that comes to power that the like, because usually it's the eldest that will first come to power and then maybe they'll die or they'll, they'll abdicate or. And then when the younger person comes in it always the story is always told that the younger person was always meant to be the right person, 


Sienna Rackall  51:51  

Like the chosen one. 


Nina Davies  51:52  

Yeah, like they were more rational and they were less or they were less bratty. That's usually kind of always the way that the story goes, because they were never told that they would have power. So they're more humble or something. Whereas for your story, yeah, she's so was her, do you think just in terms of backstory for herself, do you think that her sister was just as bratty?


Sienna Rackall  52:13  

I don't think so. I wanted her sister to be like, just in my head I didn't try to down on paper, but I wanted her sister to be really nice. And wanted her to be the complete polar opposite, like be really bratty. I wanted her to have like a really kind older sister. Who's obviously tragic death has impacted her. But she doesn't really show it. Because she's still bratty. 


Nina Davies  52:35  

Yeah, I was gonna say is the brattiness brought about by her sister dying?


Sienna Rackall  52:39  

No, just since day one, she's been a brat


Nina Davies  52:42  

It's just a personal- . It's just a personality


Sienna Rackall  52:44  

It's just her.


Niamh Schmidtke  52:46  

we're talking about another world. And also kind of about the impact of the present on the future. And about Audrea and this kind of bratty- brattiness that she has. I guess, one of I have, like, kind of a two part question. 


Sienna Rackall  53:05  



Niamh Schmidtke  53:06  

And so one of them is, how do you think, has writing this story about like the origin of Earth in a very fictional way? Has it changed how you think about, like Earth's history or like your own future? 


Sienna Rackall  53:21  



Niamh Schmidtke  53:22  

And then on the double fold that in a more like creative slant on it. How'd you think Audrea imagined her future was going to be before her very untimely death?


Sienna Rackall  53:35  

I wanted her to feel like her future would be so planned out for her because she's so naive, and she doesn't take like other people's opinions into account. She doesn't listen to the civilians in the village. So they ended up killing her, which is not the best solution. But yeah, I just wanted her to have like, wanted her to think she would have very planned out future and everything would be under her control. And everyone would be, like very submissive towards her. Obviously doesn't happen. But yeah.


Niamh Schmidtke  54:10  

And do you think that's changed how you think about your own future? Or?


Sienna Rackall  54:15  

Yeah? Because I do. Yeah. At this, because everyone else like, Okay, this is gonna be really hard to word. But everyone else has grown up, they've had a future. And they've had like, it's been quite stable. But now because of the climate crisis, you don't know, like, you're always questioning how your future is going to be? Is it going to be like the other people's futures or not? Because they we're the generation to grow up with phones and technology, and they weren't. So our future, in a way could be completely different to theirs? Or the same? Like, yeah,


Niamh Schmidtke  54:53  

Yeah, I think there's also a sense of like, now, younger generations, like, I'll say, anyone, like under 35, there's a sense of, by the time we become old people, the world is going to look very, or the planet and the ways in which we live is going to have to be quite different because of the climate too. 


Sienna Rackall  55:12  

Yeah, exactly. 


Niamh Schmidtke  55:13  

Even like the ability to have phones or the materials of the planet, to like, make technology be technology is going to be in question.


Sienna Rackall  55:23  

Yeah, cause we even have like VR, which is fake reality. So that I think VR is a really cool concept. I had tried on a VR headset, and it was so cool.


Nina Davies  55:34  

I was gonna say that. It's funny, because you described your generation. Your Gen. Your Gen Z. 


Sienna Rackall  55:40  



Nina Davies  55:42  

You're not something younger than that, unless there's a new one. Yeah. Yeah. But how you described your generation to be growing up with phones. Yeah. And it's interesting. I would have said that. If I was to describe my generation, I would say that we grew up with social media, like, yeah, we just find ourselves as like, that's, that was the thing that we, when I was in high school, Facebook, like, started. And it's so funny to talk about phones as a thing to grow up with. When it's like when telephones have been around for, not that I'm saying like, I know that these are not just telephones. 


Sienna Rackall  56:16  



Nina Davies  56:17  

That that's, that's how you. Yeah, that's how you describe your generation. And that's a defining thing that sets you apart from maybe my generation. Yeah,


Sienna Rackall  56:28  

That's completely why like, I think I just, I think in my head, they didn't grow up with phones. We did, but they didn't even think about it. Like, actually, social media and Instagram was introduced when they will also children by think, 


Nina Davies  56:41  

but we didn't have it in our pocket neccesarily 


Sienna Rackall  56:43  

yeah, exactly.


Niamh Schmidtke  56:44  

If you had your internet on on your phone, your mum was going to kill you, because the bill would have been through the roof


Sienna Rackall  56:50  

Well, or like you have to pay for like text messages or calls or something like that. 


Nina Davies  56:55  

Yeah. Oh my god yeah I remember having only a certain amount of time.


Sienna Rackall  56:58  



Niamh Schmidtke  57:00  

And running to the shop and getting more credit cause you wanted to text your friend.


Sienna Rackall  57:04  

Yeah. It's just like how you see toddlers growing up with iPads and stuff. I wouldn't think of that to be in the last generation. Yeah.


Nina Davies  57:13  

Is that something that you would have grown up with? When you were a kid? Like really young? Would you have been watching stuff on phones?


Sienna Rackall  57:22  

Well, I always took my dad's phone. And it was more games and watching anything. I didn't really like watch YouTube that much. Just the occasional videos, but it was quite like even now like, well, we have phones. It's like we're supposed to be children in a way and we've grown up really fast. Like loads of people like my age is, even including me like I'm I get told sometimes I look 16 But it's also like, you kind of have to look 16, cause that's the that's the standard of a 13 year old or a 14 year old or something. Which is really quite sad, but I don't want the future to be like that.


Niamh Schmidtke  58:00  

Well, I think there's a lot of pressure I mean, you're showing you know, Nina was showing me a video the other day of they're looking at kind of dance stuff on Tik Tok and how dance videos now for like Gen Z everything's really well choreographed and everyone looks really good, and the angle. Everyone looks great. 


Sienna Rackall  58:20  

And the Makeup.


Nina Davies  58:22  

Yeah, we were just weren't as


Niamh Schmidtke  58:24  

they showed. They showed one for like, what Gen Gen X, 


Nina Davies  58:29  



Niamh Schmidtke  58:30  

For millennials. It was often like webcams on like a computer browser. The quality is really bad, and it's dark lighting. Everything is fuzzy. There's no choreography, the camerawork is awful. Everyone has terrible hair, and no one looks flattering, at all.


Sienna Rackall  58:49  

But it's nice to not care, that kind of stuff.


Niamh Schmidtke  58:52  

But it would have if it went up on YouTube, it would have been seen by like Max 50 people Yeah. Now Tik Tok algorithms going to show it to a minimum a few 100. 


Sienna Rackall  59:01  



Nina Davies  59:03  

Well, I think that's all we have time for Siena. Thank you so much for putting in all the hard work 


Sienna Rackall  59:11  

My pleasure. 


Nina Davies  59:11  

It was. Yeah, it was a pleasure working with you. 


Sienna Rackall  59:14  

I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. Yeah,


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