This year’s city-wide Edinburgh Art Festival brings together a diverse line-up of some of the best UK and international contemporary artists in a varied programme of exhibitions, one-off performances and special events at some of Edinburgh’s most unique and historic venues.
The new commissions are situated in a series of unique locations throughout the city, including the gothic kirk Trinity Apse and an abandoned Police Box. In Trinity Apse, just off Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, Craig Coulthard presents a new video work, The Drummer and the Drone, which explores the evolution of military drone technology and the act of remembrance. Inside the old Police Box along Easter Road, Currents is a sound installation and a series of performances by artist and musician Yann Seznec. Using instruments constructed entirely from discarded computer fans, Seznec’s new work is a physical and sonic experience that draws on real-time weather data from around the world to move air around the visitor and inform the composition.
Other, off-site projects include work from Amar Kanwar and Shilpa Gupta in the debating chamber at Edinburgh’s Old Royal High School, offering the public a rare opportunity to visit the building before its redevelopment into a hotel next year. Originally built as a school, and redeveloped in advance of the 1979 devolution referendum to house Scotland’s anticipated devolved Assembly, the debating chamber remains strongly associated with Scotland’s recent political history, and in the year of a referendum on Scotland’s future, provides a resonant context for a series of artist projects which deal with ideas of identity, community and representation. Their pieces are part of the Where do I end and you begin series, comprised of 20 artists from across the Commonwealth. Inviting international perspectives, the exhibition reflects on the history of he Commonwealth whilst imagining how we might live together in the future.
Emerging contemporary Scottish artists are also represented at the festival, with a series of co-commissions at the University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery. As part of 14-18 NOW’s Lights Out, a major cultural programme taking place across the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of WW1, Nalini Malani presents a significant outdoor installation in line with EAF’s commitment to supporting the next generation of emerging artists. Complementing this is a new three year partnership with The Skinny, a special exhibition of work by recent art school graduates as part of The Skinny Showcase. This platform enables the most promising graduates to showcase their work at an early career level.
Edinburgh Art Festival, 31 July – 31 August, citywide, Edinburgh, www.edinburghartfestival.com.
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1. I’m a Lady Mary Sibande (2009) Photograph: Momo Gallery, Johannesburg. From the Where do I end and you begin collection.