from Duncan

this is what happened

this is now

this is what happens next

circumstance essentially began as a thought experiment. In my years of practice as a solo artist I constantly worked in collaboration with many amazing artists, and became tired of labelling the work primarily with my name. In an attempt to step away from the cult of the individual I began working under the name circumstance in 2010, initially as an umbrella for projects created with my main collaborators at the time, Sarah Anderson and Emilie Grenier.

It was a loose frame, a collective of sorts, and in projects we created around the world we used it to define collaborations with an expanding network of artists. By 2013 Emilie had moved back to Canada, Tom Abba had become a regular collaborator, and pressures of funding possibilities made a formal status necessary. In 2014 Circumstance became a limited company with myself, Sarah and Tom as directors. As we continued to create projects together the increasing pressures of this new structure slowly revealed themselves. Sarah’s extensive work as a independent musician and Tom’s academic research paths meant that I acted as the sole full time director for the company. The original idealism of the nebulous collective was becoming a organisational burden, and our search for better structures for the company had proved fruitless. At the same time two new pathways were opening up.

For a while now we had been experimenting with hybrid physical/digital publications, sometimes as new forms of existing large scale performances we had been making. Alongside this I had found opportunities for new individual development, partly through academic research I am undertaking and partly through independent music production. In some ways I am starting a kind of sabbatical, having been continuously producing for around 15 years it is a moment for me to slow down and reflect a little on what I’ve actually been doing.

Now, after 6 years of creating performances and installations around the world as circumstance (and trying to avoid the obvious pun), a changing situation was appearing on the horizon.

It’s October 2016, and this is what happens now.

circumstance continues, but will now focus on the sale and distribution of self-contained experiences. What we had previously brought to you all around the globe, we now want to be able to offer as something you can own, use and enjoy on your own terms. From book projects such as our recently released Six Conversations, to upcoming mobile apps and music releases, circumstance will essentially become an online store. We will no longer be creating any new performances, installations or sited works under this name.

Sarah, Tom and myself will of course continue to make things, sometimes together, sometimes alone, and working under our own names may lead to new creative approaches and possibilities, and we may of course use the new circumstance to distribute them (it may still be possible to stage some of circumstance’s older existing shows, feel free to get in touch about that).

The details of the next steps are unknown, but we look forward to taking them, and sharing them.

And finally, I wanted to say thank you to all the organisations that have supported, commissioned and befriended the shape circumstance existed in over the last 6 years – Almost Cinema, Anglia Ruskin University, Arnolfini, ArteMov, Arts Council England, Auricle, Barbican, British Council China / Japan / Mexico / New Zealand, CA2M, Calvium, DeBrakkeGrond, Edinburgh Film Festival, Encounters, Forest Fringe, Fuel, FutureCity, Guangzhou 351, Het Nieuw Institute, I4G, InbetweenTime, Kontraste, La Monnaie, MAYK/Mayfest, Microwave Festival, Milton Keynes IF, MOCA Taipei, Museum Of London, No Boundaries, Performance Space Sydney, Pervasive Media Studio, PlayPublik, Rotterdam Film Festival, Saitama Triennale, Salisbury Festival, Semi-Permanent, Serravles, SonicActs, STSpot, Supersonic, Timelab, TimesMuseum, TPAM Tokyo, Vooruit, Watershed, Wellington International Festival, Z33

thanks for reading

still trying to remain invisible

duncan speakman