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It Must Have Been Dark by Then
by Duncan Speakman

Do you notice the world around you gradually changes? There is always something happening somewhere else. It Must Have Been Dark by Then is a book and audio experience that uses a mixture of evocative music, narration and field recording to bring you stories of changing environments, from the swamplands of Louisiana, to empty Latvian villages and the edge of the Tunisian Sahara. Unlike many audio guides, there is no preset route, the software builds a unique map for each person’s experience. It is up to you to choose your own path through the city, connecting the remote to the immediate, the precious to the disappearing. In January and February 2017 Duncan Speakman travelled with collaborators across three countries on three continents, visiting environments that are experiencing rapid change from human and environmental factors. What he created on his return is somewhere between a travel journal and a poetic reflection…

from our own correspondent

I’m one of the three artists that have been commissioned to create a work of ambient literature, right now it’s in progress, untitled and unfinished so for now this is an update, a missive of sorts As a maker it’s always interesting to see your practice framed in academic contexts. While a clear definition of what ambient literature might be still seems to be floating in our peripheral vision, the thoughts that are appearing on this blog resonate and sometimes even describe the kind of work I’ve been exploring for the last ten years or so. It was interesting to read Amy Spencer’s post about authoring the uncontrollable, it describes a world of writing practice that I would definitely situate myself in (along with artists such as Coney, Blast Theory, Ant Hampton, Silvia Mercuriali et al.). I feel that approaches the ambient literature research is exploring have existed for a…

yesterday you’re still dreaming

As part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas, Circumstance present an experiment in Ambient Literature: “yesterday you’re still dreaming.” Ambient Literature is a narrative form within which the fabric of the city itself becomes part of the fictional space. The story is around you, and the phone in your hand becomes the vehicle for a new kind of story, somewhere between listening and performing. All you need to bring is yourself. “yesterday you’re still dreaming” runs for approximately 15 minutes, and will be available at an undisclosed Harbourside location every 30 minutes between 12:00 and 17:00 on Saturday 12th November. Up to 15 spaces are available in each session. Space is limited, so sign up now: We’ll be sending you more details closer to the day. . . . No phone required. REGISTER HERE

Six Conversations

We’re excited to see the appearance of Six Conversations, a new work by Duncan Speakman, one of the contributors to the Ambient Literature project. Done in collaboration with Tineke De Meyer and featuring contributions from Sarah Anderson, Jessica Macdonald, and Simon Moreton, the project looks beautiful, so be sure to check out the details below and order a copy. * * * Six Conversations by Tineke De Meyer and Duncan Speakman, with contributions from Sarah Anderson, Jessica Macdonald and Simon Moreton Somewhere between your ears and your hands, this combination of print and sound asks you what it really means to have a conversation? Six Conversations is a hand-made limited edition set of books that work in harmony with a custom made mobile application. The digital and print do not just add to each other, they are interdependent, one story told across two platforms. From a simple exchange of words, to…

MIX 2017: Call for Proposals

The call for participation in next year’s MIX conference has been released, and there are two exciting opportunities. First, there is a call for papers to be presented at the conference, with a deadline of 30 January 2017. Second, in association with Paper Nations, there is a competition to create work for Bath Spa University’s MediaWall. The deadline for proposals for work to appear on the MediaWall is 31 October, 2016. In addition to these, there will also be another call put out soon for writers and artists to present their work at the conference, with further details coming shortly. Next year’s conference will be held at Bath Spa University from the 10th to the 12th of July, 2017, and will center around the theme of “Revolutions, Regenerations, and Reflections.” The conference will feature a lot of terrific keynote speakers, including Dr Elizabeth Evans, Assistant Professor in Film and Television…

Ambient Literature in The Bookseller

To mark the launch of the Ambient Literature project, Kate Pullinger wrote a piece for The Bookseller, the UK’s primary trade publication for the publishing industry. The article is a great read that helps to make connections between Ambient Literature and the publishing industry. One of the on-going challenges for anyone working on digital innovation and literary forms is that emerging publishing models do not coincide with existing models within the publishing industry. Digital innovation in the publishing industry tends to focus on work-flow, book formats and marketing, whereas for many creative practitioners, including the team involved in Ambient Literature, digital innovation is about exploring hybrid forms and finding ways to create immersive narrative experiences, new ways to connect readers with stories. But one of the goals of the Ambient Literature project is to open up a discussion with the industry – we have much to gain from talking to each other.…

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