Hidden History, Heritage and Art

On a very sunny midweek day I had the opportunity to see four projects that are part of the Edinburgh Art Festival commissions program.

As part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archeology, and the commission’s theme of exploring the legacy of Sir Patrick Geddes, each peice takes the audience into areas of the city that are often hidden from view.

The multimedia installation With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods by Shannon Te Ao is housed alongside the Art Festival Kiosk at Gladstone Court. Just off the Royal Mile it is a great place to start if you are planning a tour through different festival sights, or a space for some time out amidst the Royal Mile bustle. The work threads together layers of connection and dissonance – for me the dancing figures were particularly memorable.

A visit to The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich takes you up the Royal Mile and down Chalmers Close to Trinity Apse. This artwork is worth visiting just for the chance to go into this piece of Edinburgh’s history, but it is also a brilliant installation. What’s not to love about a call to arms in the form of an inflatable dragon?

Up the Mile a little further and across the way in Chessels Court is The Sociology of Autumn by Toby Paterson. Wether you see a Wendy House or a Bus Shelter this installation, in one of Geddes’ green spaces, invites you to stay awhile and reflect on the history and architecture of the space – and of the history and future of the people who pass through.

The last stop for the day was in the Johnston Wildlife Garden, off the Patrick Geddes Steps. After the busy-ness of the Royal Mile arriving at the Palm House by Bobby Niven was a literal oasis. I think this visit was my favourite stop of the day, and this location, usually closed to the public, was a treat. The warm sanctuary of the Palm House, the wildflower meadow and fecund cool of the shaded paths invite you to linger awhile. If you are lucky you might see one of the artists in residence at work, or perhaps just take the time to scribble your own poem.

Edinburgh Arts Festival: 27 July – 27 August 2017




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