As sea levels rise and wildfires burn, Only Expansion remixes the sound of the city around you to experience sonically how your own life might change in the future.
Only Expansion is an immersive audio walk that takes the listener on a journey around their local surroundings, utilising sound from within the local area, as well as those from environments around the world.
Only Expansion has been announced the Winner of Best Immersive XR at London Film Festival 2021.
Participants were provided simply with a pair of headphones and a guidebook, and were invited to explore the city themselves, following their own route. Using real-time audio software, Only Expansion picks up and remixes the ambient sounds around the listener with sounds of rapid environmental change; so the sound of chatting of passers by might turn into a crackling fire, or they may hear their city as if it were underwater or beaten by the eroding windy dunes of the Northern Sahara. This experience enables participants to imagine what their local landscape, and ultimately their lives, might look like under climate-collapse, which provides them with a sense of urgency towards the current climate crisis.
The objective of Only Expansion is to allow the listener to experience and hear via an immersive and visceral lens the environmental crisis that is currently facing our natural world.
About the artist
Duncan Speakman (UK 1976) trained as a sound engineer at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and is now based at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. Often working with mobile audio and locative media, he creates narrative experiences that engage audiences emotionally and physically in uncontrolled spaces. From intimate in-ear stories to large scale performances, his award-winning projects include sound installations on Guangzhou tram networks and loudspeaker symphonies in Christchurch, performative audio walks in Saitama, radio pieces for BBC Radio 4 and augmented reality theatre performances in Eindhoven. His current research is in the temporal composition of audio augmented reality experiences, exploring what they might offer to contemporary eco-critical thinking, while continuing to wrap the questions in melancholy and romance.
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Commissioned by Season for Change, a nationwide programme of artistic and cultural events that celebrate the environment and inspire urgent climate action. Led by Julie’s Bicycle and Artsadmin, and supported by Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
created by Duncan Speakman
music: Sarah Anderson and Duncan Speakman
book design: Tom Abba
technical support: Steve Symons
production assistant: Will Taylor
lasercut design: Fiona Dowling
Only Expansion was developed with support from Theatre in The Mill Bradford, University of Exeter Arts And Culture, Lydgalleriet Bergen, and Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants.
This tour of Only Expansion is being supported by Watershed (Bristol) and commissioned by Season for Change, a nationwide programme of artistic and cultural events that celebrate the environment and inspire urgent climate action. Led by Julie’s Bicycle and Artsadmin, and supported by Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.