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Arnolfini - est 1961

An intimate sci-fi opera that explores the real and fictional possibilities of terraforming.

With: Circumstance, Duncan Speakman, Sarah Anderson

Circumstance have established an international reputation by creating cinematic experiences in uncontrolled environments.

In this new performance they channel the city into Arnolfini’s theatre for an intimate sci-fi opera that explores the real and fictional possibilities of terraforming.

Like a film without images, but instead fusing transmitted voices with theatre effects, visceral electronics and live strings, the piece asks, what would happen if we could start all over again?

In When There Is Only Us a performer roams the city, their words transmitted wirelessly back to the venue as they travel through the world. In dialogue with another performer, who remains in front of the audience, they describe their city as if it were a new world, while the sound of the city is also dragged back in to the venue. This is the sound of a city that the audience know, and yet they hear it described as a fictional cinematic environment on to which they can map their own memories.

Sarah Anderson and Duncan Speakman will perform live music, creating a soundtrack to this absent voice. For this project they will be working with Bristol-based performers Jessica Macdonald and Alice Tatton-Brown.

Circumstance’s unique compositional mixture of acoustic string arrangements and electronic processing creates an intense experience that draws on real and imagined nightmares of the future of our planet. Known for their work in outdoor environments, in this project they are pushing both our own practice as well as expected notions of ‘live cinema’ scoring.

See the interview with Circumstance Director Duncan Speakman

This work is currently in early development. A selection of both scientists and science fiction writers are contributing texts to the project that explore the ethical implications of terraforming.

This is event is part of the Neural Geometry Weekend.

Further reading:

Notes From Nowhere: Comments On Work In Progress, J. G. Ballard, New Worlds, October, 1966 

Circumstance: When There is Only Us is part of BFI’s Sci Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder – a nationwide programme of Sci-Fi film and TV classics, special events and out of this world experiences, running throughout autumn 2014. #BFISciFi

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