A cross-European residency programme which supported development of 'We Are Forests', a project by artists Duncan Speakman and Émilie Grenier.

In a social environment full of micro-blogging and continuous status updates communicated through text and image, what happens to the spoken word and the emotional weight of the human voice? Can we rethink mobile devices to allow for similar broadcast modes to Twitter and Facebook, but through audio? ‘We Are Forests’ is a new participatory sound work that uses everyday and emergent mobile technologies to ask, 'What would you whisper into a stranger’s ear'?

The project was developed through a shared residency, supported by Pervasive Media Studio, Netherlands Media Arts Institute (Amsterdam, NL), 5daysoff festival (Amsterdam, NL) and Kitchen Budapest (HU). Between February and May 2011, Grenier and Speakman spent supported time at each lab, to produce different aspects of the work. During this period, work in progress events took place at all venues and the artists regularly documented their progress online. The outcomes of the residency were presented in Bristol, May 2011, as featured in the video above.

Speakman has earned an international reputation for a number of works that physically and emotionally engage audiences in public spaces. Grenier’s practice includes working with wearable open source technologies for audio experiences to challenge users' assumptions about their surroundings. Both artists have previously collaborated on the creation of subtlemob 'our broken voice' and enjoyed opening their practice to different European contexts. 

www.weareforests.com, www.flickr.com/photos/weareforests

www.kitchenbudapest.hu, www.nimk.nl, www.5daysoff.nl