Duncan Speakman’s Only Expansion was an augmented audio tour showing at the IDFA DocLab that was doing real-time modulation of the surrounding soundscape mixed with produced sounds in order to create a unique experience. The headphones had microphones attached in order to do the real-time modulation, and it also used a custom-built audio processing device to do the real-time processing that is impossible on existing phones and AR head-mounted displays. There was also a companion book for the people going through this experience that provided prompts for what they should pay attention to. The overall experience covered themes of climate change, and used a number of different real-time audio modulation techniques in order to amplify the building and releasing of narrative tension.
Only Expansion received a Special Jury Award for Creative Technology at the DocLab, and I had a chance to talk with Speakman about his music composer background, his journey into producing audio tours, Torsten Hagerstrand on time geography, Kristine Jørgensen on extradiagetic sound, Christina Kubisch’s Electrical Walks, time and our perception of time, and the different ways that he modulates sound in order create and release narrative tension.
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