These Pages Fall Like Ash

2013

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“a work of subtlety and imagination” – The Book Machine

These Pages Fall Like Ash is one story told across two books. One is a beautiful, crafted physical artefact, the other a digital text on hard drives hidden across a real city and read on your mobile device. The two books come together and provide a singular reading experience.

This is about a moment when two cities overlap. They exist in the same space and time, but they aren’t aware of each other. It’s a tale about two people who have become separated, one in each world, about their fading memory of each other and their struggle to reconnect.

One of the cities is your own; you become part of the narrative as you travel, moving from place to place. Your version of the story becomes about you and your place in your own city, about what you would hold on to, about what you would fight to remember.

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Credits

These Pages Fall Like Ash is one of eight projects supported by the REACT Hub, on behalf of the AHRC as part of the Books and Print Sandbox. It has been developed at the Pervasive Media Studio.

Composed by Tom Abba, Duncan Speakman, Emilie Grenier, Amy Spencer with Nick Harkaway and Neil Gaiman

Infrastructure – Tom Melamed

Location management – Ruth Essex

Historical notes – Eugene Byrne

Books printed by Whitehall

Covers manufactured by CutLaserCut based on initial designs created at Timelab

Tomorrow The Ground Forgets You Were Here

2012

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“and when there was nothing left we had to create something,
we made words out of water so they could flow between us,
we waited for a boat to come,
hoping these seas we made would not dry out”

The sound of the world becomes the music in this new cinematic experience. The audience are invited to walk and live in streets they know, custom electronics pick up the noise of the city around them and remix it into the soundtrack, harmonising and synchronising the world so it merges with elements of a pre-composed score, the roar of a passing bus becomes a resonant tone that duets with a violin, the conversation of passers by is cut up into a pulsing rhythm. Satellite positioning lets the listeners journey shape the soundtrack and narrative, while bluetooth beacons placed in shops and cafes trigger recordings of their inner monologues, so the audience feels as if they are able to hear fragments of these peoples thoughts.

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Credits

For this project circumstance was represented by Sarah Anderson, Tim Redfern and Duncan Speakman

Script and project conception : Duncan Speakman

Soundtrack : Sarah Anderson and Duncan Speakman

Platform development audio hardware : Tim Redfern

Voices: Jolijn Antonissen, Tiemen Van Haver, Katrien Vande Perre, Luth Lea Roose, Nathalie Allard, Kevin Trappeniers, Michiel Soete, Ken Verdoot, Cin Windey, Lore Uyttendaele, Grietkin Deroo, Lisbeth Jaspers.

Production assistance, script development : Elisa Demarré

Thanks: Kurt Van Houtte, Eva De Groote, Evi Swinnen, Suzanne Hendrikse, Georgios Patsis (ETRO AV Lab, VUB).

Presented with Vooruit as part of Electrified III:The Responsive City Created in collaboration with timelab and iMinds (Art&D) In the framework of Transdigital supported by the European Fund for Regional Development

Headphones provided by Urban Ears

Respect your elders
In 2006 Duncan made a performance work called ‘sounds from above the ground’, which involved a guided tour of a city where the audience hear a live remix of the surrounding ambient sound. Although very much a live performance it was heavily influenced by the amazing ‘Sonic Interface’ by Akitsugu Maebayashi. We moved onto working with Gumstix as a mobile audio platform after being introduced to them by Zack Settel and Mike Wozniewski while they were working on their 3D audio space systems in Banff. And of course we couldn’t forget to mention the wonderful RjDj which has made this sort of stuff accessible and distributable through iOS (and also made a stack of super useful audio processing tools)

The Haiku Gap

2012

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In residence at STSpot Yokohama and Kogane-Cho we explored the application of cinematic techniques in realtime performance in public spaces.

Audience members were guided remotely via telephone by a performer who followed them but remained hidden from sight. The audience’s route was a repeating loop through the Kogane-cho district. On each loop they would encounter a set of performed scenes, but on each repetition the scene would appear to be earlier in time.

Two audience groups were led simultaneously on overlapping routes, so at moments the audience would have the sense of seeing their own journey mirrored, a fleeting glimpse at the end of an alleyway.

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Credits

For this project Circumstance was represented by Sarah Anderson, Duncan Speakman, Machi Miyahara, Jinya Imai, and Tell-Kaz Dambala

Project supported by British Council Japan and ST Spot

Thanks to Manami Yuasa, Katsuhiro Ohira, Chika Sudo

Give Me Back My Broken Night

w/ Uninvited Guests

2011 – ongoing

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Created in collaboration with Uninvited Guests, Give Me Back My Broken Night is a mobile performance work using pervasive technology, which asks audiences to collaboratively imagine the future of their city. Site-specific science fictions are told using a combination of location sensitive mobile devices, portable projectors and actors, to create a magical, relevant and cinematic experience for participants.

Unlike conventional tours or historic walks, this is a tour of the future. Audiences are given a mobile device and a blank folded paper map, a micro projector is hung around their neck. In the streets, an actor guides them through a landscape of utopian or dystopian possibilities. They ask the participants about what they would like to see there. As the audience describe their own visions of the future, these imagined buildings begin to appear on the paper map in their hand as a series of glowing lines.
They return to the theatre to meet other audience members, at which point the individual maps become projected as one and all the participants describe, debate and share their visions for the future.

 

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Credits 

This project was originally created in collaboration with Uninvited Guests as part of the Theatre Sandbox project.

For this project Circumstance is represented by Duncan Speakman

Commissioned by Pervasive Media Studio and developed with The Soho Theatre.

We Are Forests

2011

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We Are Forests is a work for public spaces, experienced and co-authored with audiences using mobile phones. This work explored ideas of intimacy in public space, starting with the question ‘what would you whisper in stranger’s ear?’. Experienced by audience members on their mobile phones in a public market space, it sought to try and create a work co-authored with an audience.

Participants begin the experience on their own in a crowded market, they receive a phone call which connects them to custom software so that when they speak their voice is recorded and then played to everyone else on the network. A mixture of pre-recorded texts and ‘imaginary’ audience contributions shapes a narrative over the course of the piece. Participants slowly begin to notice each other as they drift through the market, until at the finale live singers appear amongst the crowd in the market and begin to sing the words the audience have been speaking.

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For extra info and panel discussion at Watershed after residency please visit http://www.watershed.co.uk/dshed/we-are-forests

Credits

For this project circumstance is represented by Emilie Grenier and Duncan Speakman

Software design by Arjan Scherpenisse

Created on a cross-european residency between Pervasive Media Studio Bristol, NiMK Amsterdam and Kitchen Budapest.

Thanks to Annette Wolfsberger, Victoria Tillotson, Melinda Sipos, Clare Reddington and Dan Williams

our broken voice

2010

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Our Broken Voice is a subtlemob about trust and suspicion in public spaces, a Ballardian fiction of terrible events in a city centre, with the audience playing out the moments leading up to the event.

What is a subtlemob?  A subtlemob is an invisible flashmob, it integrates with the beauty of the everyday world, so only its participants are aware of it. It’s like walking through a film. It is experienced on headphones, and it is performed by you and hundreds of strangers. Armed with only an mp3 player this subtlemob takes you on a cinematic experience of twists and turns. A mixture of narrative and richly textured music fills your ears. Different MP3 files are distributed to different audience groups, so while some perform simple actions, the others hear stories about these actions, so that everywhere they look the stories come alive in the world around them. The roles swap back and forth, sometimes you’ll just be watching, sometimes you’ll be following instructions. There’s nothing embarrassing or dangerous, you’re almost just playing yourself. There is no venue, there are no ushers, this is a performance organised and owned by its audience . . .

try to remain invisible.

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Credits

For this project circumstance was represented by Lottie Child, Emilie Grenier, Duncan Speakman, Sarah Anderson and Tassos Stevens

Additional music performances by Ysella Kaute, Chloe Herrington, Emma Sullivan

Originally commissioned as part of InBetweenTime Festival.

Supported by Arts Council of England

 

As If It Were The Last Time

2009

‘A deliberate slap in the face to the flashmob phenomena . . . it reshapes the cultural landscape.’ – Paul Currion

As If It Were The Last Time is a subtlemob about celebrating the present, about home, belonging and loss. A snapshot of the world around you, a chance to savour the moment, and make new connections with the people and the place surrounding you. This is no requiem, this a celebratory slow dance, a chance to present in the world, and to see it with fresh eyes.

What is a subtlemob? A subtlemob is an invisible flashmob, it integrates with the beauty of the everyday world, so only its participants are aware of it. It’s like walking through a film. It is experienced on headphones, and it is performed by you and hundreds of strangers. Armed with only an mp3 player it takes you on a cinematic experience of twists and turns. A mixture of narrative and richly textured music fills your ears. Different MP3 files are distributed to different audience groups, so while some perform simple actions, the others hear stories about these actions, so that everywhere they look the stories come alive in the world around them. The roles swap back and forth, sometimes you’ll just be watching, sometimes you’ll be following instructions. There’s nothing embarrassing or dangerous, you’re almost just playing yourself. There is no venue, there are no ushers, this is a performance organised and owned by its audience . . . try to remain invisible

Presented at :

Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), Microwave (Hong Kong), Media City (Seoul), Gameplay (New York), Indiecade (Los Angeles), Performance Space (Sydney), Tristram Bates (London), TPAM (Tokyo), Yokohama Triennial (Yokohama ), ArteMov (Sao Paulo), Forest Fringe (Edinburgh), 1912 (Nanjing), Tiandi (Chongching), Wellington Internatinal Festival (Wellington), SemiPermanent (Auckland), plus independent events in Liverpool, London and Birmingham

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Credits

for Paul Walker ( 1979 – 2009 )

For this project circumstance is represented by Sarah Anderson & Duncan Speakman

Voices : Jess Marlowe, Jess Hoffman

Additional musicians : Leo Smee , Laura Groves

Developed with : Gemma Paintin, James Stenhouse, Uninvited Guests, Ed Rapley, Lucy Cassidy, Alex Bradley, Sita Calvert Ennals, Becky Hall, Tom Wainwright

Developed at Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol