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Becoming Futures

19 to 21 April 2024

A sound festival dedicated to science fiction, utopias and imaginative futures

Timespan is excited to present “Becoming Futures” a weekend-long festival dedicated to the exploration of science fiction, psychopolitical narratives, and utopias of revolt through sound. Co-curated with the Italian artistic and curatorial collective ALMARE and the web radio Radio Papesse, the festival “Becoming Future” responds to ALMARE’s project Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U., created thanks to the support of the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture as part of the Italian Council (2022), the programme for the international promotion of Italian contemporary art.

The festival line-up features Radiophrenia’s Mark Vernon, ALMARE, Natasha Thembiso Ruwona, Steve Goodman (Kode9), and Radio Papesse bringing an incredible selection of national and international sound artists and practitioners to the Highlands. Over the course of the weekend, through free workshops, screenings, and a rich programme of events the audience is invited to collectively reflect on how the imagining of multiple futures can contribute to revolutionising the present, transforming the utopias into a “rebellious mode of possibility” (José Esteban Muñoz), and into something “habitable in the here and now” (Ursula K. Le Guin).

With two days of arts and entertainment make sure to reserve your free tickets using the link below

You can also reserve your free tickets by emailing or by calling 1431 821327


Friday 19th
21:30- 22:30
Listening Session
Radiophonic Futurities– Mark Vernon (Radiophrenia)
Mark Vernon presents a specially curated listening session of audio works inspired by or relating to the festival themes drawn from the Radiophrenia sound archives. This is a relaxed listening session to kick off the festival! A light buffet and drinks will be offered throughout the evening.

Saturday 20th
09:35- 12:00
Souterrain Sounds at the Caen Burn, KildonanTimespan heritage curator Jacquie Aitken will lead a group to the souteirran site at the Caen Burn Kildonan. This archaeological Iron Age site has been silently reacting and responding to the loss of its inhabitants, changes in climate, and the constant threat of destruction from development. To better understand the acoustics of the site, archaeoacoustics is being used as a technique to capture the sounds of the materials and vegetation surrounding the area. Jacquie’s will use these sounds to reconstruct the acoustic of the area, the recording will be available at Timespan’ s archive throughout the festival. ALMARE and Radio Papesse will join the conversation introducing archaeoacustic as a starting point for the sci-fi narrative of Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U

We have booked the Community Bus to bring us from Timespan to the site. We will meet in front of Timespan at 9:30 to head to Caen Burn with the Community Bus. As spaces are limited booking is mandatory to ensure a spot on the bus, please book your tickets here or email People are also welcome to join us by driving their own car, meeting point is still 9:30 in front of Timespan.

Extra Infos:The walk is a 30-35 minute walk of medium difficulty through potentially boggy terrain. Welly boots are recommended; if you don’t have any, email us your size, and we’ll try to provide spares!

Lunch Break

Mark Vernon, Live at Hideous Porta 2015. Courtesy of Mark Vernon

Performative Lecture
mapping a black sonic geographyNatasha Thembiso Ruwona
mapping a black sonic geography is a performative lecture detailing the research and development process so far of a new work in progress A Troubling, Or, A Sonic Refusal. The film is a study of Black sound through the idea of ‘troubling’. A conscious or responsive enactment of a troubling practice serves as a refusal to colonial structures, creating a disruption or a glitch in a system, or an environment. Troubling in this case is defined as constructive instead of a problem, or something to be fixed. Within this, the film aims to broaden discussions of place, race and time, using sound as its starting point. 
The research and development of A Troubling, Or, A Sonic Refusal is currently supported by the FLAMIN Fellowship.

15:00- 16:30
Screening and conversation
Astro-Darien- Steve Goodman (Kode9)
Originally a sound work, this 26-minute science fiction video essay questions the possible disintegration of the UK; the story is narrated by synthetic Scottish voices and set as if it were a video game of the same name. The fiction unfolds from a historical event that Steve refers to as “a Caledonian Heart of Darkness”, the so-called ‘Darien scheme’: in the late 17th century, Scotland tried to colonize part of what is now Panama, with catastrophic results. The failure of the Darien scheme has often been cited as one of the reasons why Scotland signed the Act of Union in 1707. The English agreed to take on the Scottish government’s debt to the subscribers to the Scheme, and this was probably one of the main reasons why the government of Scotland did not oppose the Acts of Union as vigorously as it did in previous attempts to merge the two countries, despite the fact that public opinion in Scotland was still largely against it. The narrative ‘mixes’ these historical facts with the contemporary, going on to investigate the tenders currently underway to build a vertical satellite launch station in the Highlands (Sutherland Space Port and Shetland Space Centre are involved). In order to imagine a future scenario and an escape to an orbital space habitat, the story ‘samples’ both Scottish history and current affairs, and actual pieces of the Highlands soundscape.

Coffee Break

Presentation of Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U. at Museion, Bozen February 2024 ©RosarioMultari

17:00- 18:30
Screening and Conversation
Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U.ALMARE
Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U. is a sci-fi film and audio story written and directed by ALMARE, curated by Radio Papesse  Set in an imaginary society, Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U. follows the adventures of the researcher Dorothea Ïesj as she extracts (and resells) sounds from the past. 

Thanks to a technology called ECHO, it is possible to analyse the sound waves that have been engraved on every surface over the centuries. ECHO reveals the audio traces imprinted in matter, allowing any sound to be recovered. Dorothea Ïesj receives a scholarship financed by the war industry and the powerful university association “Societas Paleoacusticæ Universalis”, better known as S.P.U., to analyse sound artefacts related to military actions, which she then smuggles with a group of colleagues

Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U. is inspired by pseudo-scientific theories developed in the 1800s, at the same time as the growing development of recording technologies. These included archaeoacoustics, which hypothesized the possibility of tracing acoustic phenomena of the past that remained “engraved” in matter. Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U. investigates the link between data capitalism, technology, and value creation, reflecting on the use of archaeological artefacts, archives and memory as instruments of power and control.

The script is written in a dystopian language that mixes ancient and contemporary Italian. Filmed from movable type letterpress prints, Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U. stands at the frontier of radio, cinema, and literature, in a hybrid genre that has a long artistic and cinematic tradition in videos without images.

Made in Helmsdale Choir

Highland Food Shack (Timespan’s car park)
For Saturday’s dinner we have brought to Helmsdale the Highland Food Shack an amazing food truck offering street food crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Veggie options will be available

20:00 – 22:00
Music and Ceilidh night
Join us for a night of music with a special perform by Edwyn Collins followed by a Ceilidh with live music by The Full Tilt band and traditional dancing animated by the Helmsdale Dance Group
Entrance with an offer of £5 at the door.

Sunday 21st
10:00- 12:00
Listening Session
A Living Archive for the Future- Radio Papesse
Think about this: future is listening in the making, or as Lisbeth Lipari would phrase it: “In listening we become”. Inspired by this idea, Radio Papesse is guiding a collective listening session to enliven/activate our archive towards the future and exploring audio stories and pieces – documentaries, sci-fi fictions and experimental bits of sound – that are loosely connected by ideas of utopia, futuring, resistance, imagination.


The festival is curated by Timespan with the Italian artistic and curatorial collective ALMARE and the web radio Radio Papesse as a continuation of their collaboration for the project Life Chronicles of Dorothea Ïesj S.P.U. awarded the 11thedition of the Italian Council.

Becoming Futures is supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh