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Only Expansion

14-18 July FREE Booking essential

An augmented audio experience by Duncan Speakman

Wed 14 - Sun 18 July

FREE, Booking essential

Explore the city with an audio experience that is responsive to your surroundings and be prompted to consider future environmental and geological changes.

Beginning at BALTIC 39, Newcastle upon Tyne, you’ll travel through the city with a headset and guidebook. This experience takes approximately 40 minutes, and you will return to BALTIC 39 at the end of your journey.

This is not a guided walk, you will each make your own way through the city - you are given prompts but you choose the route you take, so the distance and speed is up to you.

It is designed as a solo experience, but you can choose to make your journey alongside other people.

Only Expansion is suitable for ages 14+, although younger children can take part with adult supervision.

Participants should take personal responsibility for their safety and welfare throughout the experience. We recommend you wear sensible footwear when taking part in this audio experience.

Booking is essential, book your free place here.

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. A beautifully made guidebook prompts you to explore the city, choosing your own route, while headphones with customised electronics capture and manipulate the sounds around you.

Voices of passers-by become a choir, bus brakes create pulsating rhythms, these might then be blended with desert winds from Tunisia or the coasts of Norfolk, you hear what your own city would sound like if it were underwater. A visceral and poetic reflection on what it means to live on a planet in crisis, Only Expansion connects the here to the elsewhere, letting you experience our tangled ecology through sound.

Winner of Special Jury Award in Immersive Non-Fiction at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam

"Arresting, poised, beautiful, dark, innovative” - Seth Honor, Kaleider

“It is quite an ambitious endeavour to merge geology, modern city life, climate change, and the urban landscape…a highly sensorial and poetic project that not only makes you aware of the world around you, but also triggers the emotional chords within.” - IDFA Jury statement

“Only Expansion is unlike any other audio walk I have done - and i have done A LOT. It is beautifully composed and looks after its audience at every stage of the experience. It both deeply roots you to the city you are in and deftly articulates the fragility of other places. It is transporting, devastating and timely. Finally this genre is moving on to deal with the important issues of our time and am excited about the impact this will achieve.” - Clare Reddington, CEO, Watershed

"A transporting, time-shifting, epic, unsettling and moving walk. I know that this is a complex, detailed creation, but it’s beauty is in the simple act of being on my own, in my familiar day, looking and then looking again at the space that no longer has me in it. the world turns." - Kate Yedigaroff, Director, MAYK Mayfest

To create this piece Duncan travelled to sites around the world undergoing rapid environmental changes, collecting sounds from wildfires in the USA, the crumbling cliffs of England’s east coast, rising seas around Norway and the dunes of the Northern Sahara. Using realtime audio software these recordings are combined with the sounds of the city the audience is walking through.


Only Expansion 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 is supported by Watershed 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.