Art.

Aug. 28th, 2013 06:48 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I did a bit of the Art Festival today.

I went to Wind Pipes for Edinburgh, an installation in a former church (a wonderful space off the Royal Mile which I didn't know existed!). An organ playable by visitors, made of bits of waste pipes. The deep notes had a very breathy sound, almost alive. It was driven by huge bellows, and I thought it was just wonderful.

I then went to Rose Street to see Kenny Watson's The Days, a humorous installation of a year's worth of Edinburgh Evening News hoardings. Taken out of context, the headlines take on a surreal meaning, illuminating the paper's obsessions (crime, sex, perverts and dust bin collections).

What I hadn't realised was that in an annex were videos of Complaints Choirs around the world. I had heard the Edinburgh Complaints Choir on the radio, but I hadn't bothered to seek them out. (They were singing complaints on the Royal Mile.) Coming across these videos, I wish I had. I found them funny and illuminating. I watched four, I think: Tokyo, Birmingham, Helsinki and Hamburg. Those in foreign languages had more impact - particularly Tokyo - I think reading the words and contrasting the sounds to the complaints brings more poignancy. That said, I am completely ear-wormed by the Birmingham choir.

I loved these videos. They were so unexpected, surprising, challenging AND ordinary that they changed my perception - certainly about choirs!

Here are the videos.


Tokyo


Birmingham


Helsinki

Hamburg (not on YouTube!)

rhythmaning: (whisky)
Last weekend, I went on another anti-SDL (aka EDL) march. Edinburgh Council decided that it was fine to let the EDL march through the city in the middle of the biggest cultural event in Europe - the Fringe as well as the Edinburgh International Festival - which host performers and visitors from all over the world. In case you are not aware, the EDL have a strong anti-immigrant and more specifically anti-Muslim stance.

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I wasn't quite as angry as I was last time, and more with the local council than the moronic EDL, but I was sufficiently angry to get me to spend several hours in the company of a rather wonderful but distinctly motley crew of people who similarly object to racists marching through our city.

We marched from Chambers Street down to Holyrood, by a route that seemed designed to cause as much traffic disruption as possible. I don't know how marching routes are planned, but I imagine the march organisers - who want as much disruption as possible - and the council and the police - who don't (I presume) get together, batter it out and come up with a compromise route that reduces traffic disruption but gets the march noticed.

If I were the police, I would take a march from Chambers Street to Holyrood down Guthrie Street, onto Cowgate, and down to Holyrood. Simple, direct, easy to police. And only blocking one major thoroughfare.

Whereas we marched down Chambers Street, onto South Bridge (blocking South Clerk St, one the main roads into the city), down the Mile, along St Mary St (blocking any traffic trying to avoid South Bridge, as well as anything going down the Pleasance. But who would want to go down the Pleasance during the Festival?!) and then along Holyrood Road, into the park, and round the back of the Parliament. I guess those wanting to cause maximum disruption won the argument.

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There were about eight hundred anti-racist marchers. (The police said 350, way too low, and 150 for SDL - way too high.) We lined up behind barriers and a police cordon. There were a lot of police. An awful lot. We chanted, some people sang. There was a rather festive feel.

This changed when the BNP EDL SDL arrived. They had matched from Waverley, apparently, down the Mile. There were only about fifty of them, though I couldn't actually see any of them: they were also behind a police cordon, and barriers, and only those right at the front could see them.

There were lots of anti-racist chants. "No more violence, no more hate" was kind of undone by people shouting "you'd be running if it wasn't for the police". It was also quite lighthearted too; some people dressed as nuns blew large soap bubbles; some acts from the Fringe (I think) sang songs.

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It was a bit strange not being able to see the SDL, though probably a good thing: they were seemingly quite violent, with four arrested.

I didn't stay to the end. I had a show to get to...

And I'm still annoyed at a bunch of fascists taking over the streets of my city.
rhythmaning: (violin)
It's like 1978 all over again. Last week I went to a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition; tonight I saw Patti Smith perform... with Philip Glass. She read poetry by herself, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Louis Stevenson, accompanied by Glass, and sang acoustic versions of Dancing Barefoot and Pissing in a River, accompanied by Thomas Shenihan (?). They finished with People Have the Power, with both Glass and Shenihan.

I'm a huge Patti Smith fan, and have been since I first heard Horses in 1976. The only time I saw her play was in 1978, after Easter. Her performance tonight was electrifying - Dancing Barefoot and Pissing in a River are both deeply emotional songs, and always send a shiver down my spine. I had to stop myself singing along.

Philip Glass's playing was wonderful, too. I am not a fan of poetry - at least, not a fan of reading on paper. But hearing it spoken with a piano accompaniment tonight was rather special.

Fringe.

Aug. 3rd, 2013 05:04 pm
rhythmaning: (violin)
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival starts this weekend. Perhaps you've noticed the wall-to-wall media coverage. From now until early September, Edinburgh will be full of people visiting from London to watch other people visiting from London perform.

It has made me realise that I have never "done" the Fringe.

Which is not to say that I have never been to a Fringe show. Quite the opposite. When I first moved to Edinburgh in 1982, I spent the summer working with a student theatre company; the next four Fringes I either worked doing tech for a student company or front of house for a theatre club (it was a club in order to get around safety regulations, I think; membership was signing away various rights. Plus it allowed them to have a late licence the rest of the year, too. Either way, because it was a club meant that they had to employ students - like me - to ensure that people coming in were members) - some years, both.

When I returned to live and work in Edinburgh in the 1990s, I would go to many Fringe show each year, though my enthusiasm for the Fringe was quickly replaced by that for the Festival proper (generally much more interesting and reliable than the Fringe - and better value).

No, I have been to a great many Fringe performances; but I have never "done" the Fringe as the many, many tourists do. Cramming in five or six shows a day, queuing for tickets and returns, crowding into the Royal Mile, and spending the rest of the time in the pub.

And frankly, I never will!
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
I did lots of different things during the Edinburgh International Festival - I experienced new music, radical theatre, new artists. Much of it was excellent, a little was dreadful.

But it was also the first time I was searched as I went into a ballet performance, and was questioned where and when I bought my ticket; where I had my bottle of water confiscated; and saw a punch up - well, nearly - between members of the audience.

This was because - purely by chance - I had decided way back in July to see Batsheva Dance Company: when I was selecting what I wanted to see, I had nothing going on in the last weekend, more or less, and thought Batsheva sounded interesting.

Much more than I had expected.

Batsheva are an Israeli dance company, and on the back of a comment by the the Israeli foreign ministry that they were "good representatives for the state of Israel" (or something), they attracted the attention of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, who claimed that Batsheva's appearance at the festival was sponsored by the Israeli government. (This was denied by the EIF, though I can't find a link to it!) They are apparently part funded by the Israeli government, though.

By the time I went to the theatre, I was aware of this - I'd seen this piece about an earlier performance on the BBC's website. I even thought the performance might have been cancelled. Since it wasn't, I thought I'd head out there.

I did think about staging my own personal boycott; but having bought a ticket, I'd rather not waste my money. And I was of course curious. But I also believe strongly in freedom of expression, and I wanted to judge Batsheva on their artistic merits.

Some hope.

There was a large picket outside - perhaps one hundred protesters or so, held back by the police. I took a leaflet handed to me - I am largely sympathetic to the Palestinian cause (and have been for over thirty years, since I visited Israel in 1979 and was shocked by the Israeli treatment of Palestinians). On the way into the Playhouse, I was asked where and why I bought my ticket, and I was searched.

There was only a small audience inside: the theatre was perhaps a third full, and I thought about moving to a more expensive seat closer to the stage - it was only the idea that my action might be miscontrued by the many security guards stationed around the auditorium that stopped me.

The dance itself was interesting but frankly beside the point. Every five minutes or so, a member of the audience stood up and shouted slogans such as "Free Palestine!", "Palestinian blood in on your hands!" (I wasn't sure if that was aimed at the audience or the dancers), and "Boycott Israel!"

Each time they did, the music stopped, the dancers stopped, the lights would come up and security guards would move to the still-shouting demonstrator and bundle them out of the nearest exit.

Then the lights would go down, the music start where it had left off, and the dance recommence.

The demonstrators were scattered throughout the auditorium, which meant that I spent much of the time wondering where the next disturbance would come from. Other members of the audience were more active, remonstrating with the demonstrators. One non-demonstrating sympathiser got up and remonstrated with a foolish and ignorant remonstrator who had said loudly "What a fuss for a handful of Palestinians"; they faced off to each other, nose-to-nose, hurling insults and punches. I had never seen a punch up at the ballet before.

As each demonstrator was forcibly removed, many in the audience applauded, though I wasn't sure if they were applauding the demonstrator or the security guards. I tried to keep my opinions open. I felt most immediate sympathy for the dancers - the stop-start deanimation must have been hard, especially cooling down for a few minutes before the lights fell and the music started again. They deserved the applause.

At the end of the performance - which even with six or seven disturbances came in at less than an hour (it may of course have been cut short) - we were directed to leave by a specific exit to avoid the protest outside; there were a lot of police about.

I will admit to having mixed feelings about the whole thing. The demonstrators had to buy tickets to get into the theatre to demonstrate, so they were actively supporting the company they were protesting about. It was unclear who they were directing their attack at - the company or the audience. Had they wanted to stop the performance, they could easily have done so (if you want to empty a theatre quickly, just hit the fire alarm - the performance will stop, and won't start again). All they succeeded in doing was pissing off potential supporters - most of the audience turned against the pro-Palestinians. If they simply wanted publicity, they got that by protesting outside - the BBC picked up on that after the first night.

The protest inside the theatre seemed to achieve nothing.

It was all quite bizarre, and I'm pretty sure a wasted opportunity.

Still, I won't bother going along to Batsheva when they perform at the Festival Theatre in a couple of weeks.
rhythmaning: (sunset)
"Speed of Light" was an interesting experience: simultaneously brilliant and disappointing. NVA, the company behind it, have worked a lot with light in the environment (their installation at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2008, "Spirit", was beautiful, and I heard great things about their work in Skye and Glen Lyon).

Speed of Light is hard to describe: I think installation works best, except that the whole point was that it consisted of volunteer runners, choreographed to create patterns. At night. On Arthur's Seat. Wearing light suits.

You may see why I was attracted to it: the moment I heard about it, I knew I wanted to see it.

But - brilliant and disappointing: I clearly have conflicting feelings about it.

Brilliant first. At a very basic level, it made me look at the world in a different way - what I believe art should do. It took a familiar landscape - I must have climbed Arthur's Seat fifty times or more over the years - and made it afresh. The audience, equipped with light sabres light-emitting walking sticks (or "staffs" - all a bit Gandalfian...), were part of the choreography, part of the creation. The runners made amazing patterns on the (east-facing) slopes of Salisbury Crags, and the audience walked up the path to the east of this, the runners creating patterns against the dark of the landscape.

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The "WOW!" factor was immense: people were vocally awestruck (but see below...!). It had an immediate impact. It was stunning.

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So why the disappointment? Mostly for reasons that were nothing to with NVA or Speed of Light, at least not directly. In part, it was because my expectations were very high: I expected great things. I saw great things. But then it all got a bit blase: the whole thing took nearly three and a half hours, from my arrival for the 10pm slot to leaving at 1.15am. (We didn't leave for the walk until 10.30, what with health and safety talks and the like.)

The walk lead up Hunter's Bog between the Crags and Arthur's Seat, during which the runners were in complete dark, and then curved up the south and south east route to the summit. Despite being asked beforehand by the walk-leaders to keep as quiet as possible, many people on the walk chatted, non-stop - for 2½ hours! Their talk was very intrusive and distracting. (I could have asked them to be quiet, but I was aware that I was taking a lot of photographs, which others may have found distracting; and so many people were talking, one would have spent the whole time asking people to stop!)

Below the summit was a flat piece of ground where we waited, watching the runners. The lights of the light suits competed with the bright lights of the city. It wasn't much competition: the city was much brighter, and in some ways more spectacular. With the city spread across the west below us, and its lights appearing over the tops of the Crags, Speed of Light was very diminished. We waited quite a while as the patterns of lights weaved across the crags, becoming normal rather than spectacular. Despite being part of the event, watching them runners from above made them feel distant - more of an observer than, say, standing in a gallery looking at a painting - a curious effect, really.

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From the summit, the choreographed lights couldn't be seen - a problem of geography, perhaps, but a little disappointing itself. The walking sticks - which had been emitting rather discomfiting sounds since we had arrived at the viewing place below the summits - were dismantled and the top light-tips used to make a cairn.

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Coming off the hill, we walked slowly down, with little apparent activity now from the runners - and the city hidden once again behind the crags. At the bottom, leaving the tents that acted as the venue, many of the runners were coming off the hill: they received a round of applause.

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So: brilliant and disappointing; fascinating and distant; engaging and irritating. But a wonderful experience, and one which changed the way I look at the city.

rhythmaning: (Default)
My last night of the Proms came a few days earlier than the last night of the Proms. I went to several Proms this year, and listened to several more on wonderful Radio3. Many years ago, I actually used to prom – when I was at school and an undergraduate (and when I was much less inclined to listen to orchestral music than I now am), I prommed a few times in the arena; later, when I was first working in London, I used to prom in the balcony, where it was possible to sit on the floor.

But for several years when I have been to the Proms, I have sat in the circle. The seats generally have a good view, and many times this year I was lucky enough to have empty seats beside me, which meant I didn’t feel as cramped as I otherwise might. One of the potential benefits of going by myself!

I made it to eleven proms this year, and heard some excellent music; there were several surprises, and a few disappointments.

The performance I most enjoyed was, by a slender margin, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of Mahler’s Symphony No 3. I knew I liked Mahler, and I was lucky in that there were several Mahler symphonies in this year’s Proms – I think they had the whole cycle, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth and the centenary of his death. The BBC SSO Prom had just one piece, the Mahler, and it benefited from this focus. It was glorious and majestic; the orchestra and its conductor, Donald Runnicles, created marvellous music. I thought it was brilliant.

A very close second was the Australian Youth Orchestra, one of the surprises of season for me. I chose the Proms I want to go to on the basis of the music being played, rather than the orchestra, and when booking I hadn’t noticed that it was a youth orchestra playing Shostakovich’s Symphony No 10. Others weren’t so unobservant: the Royal Albert Hall was only half full. Despite their youth, the orchestra didn’t lack maturity: their performance, under Mark Elder, was excellent – really very impressive. They opened with a premiere, which I was particularly surprised I enjoyed - Brett Dean’s Amphitheatre. Whilst I am really very pleased the Proms and the BBC supports new work, it is not often that I enjoy it. I thought this piece was lovely – it would bear listening to again. But it was the Shostakovich which really impressed. It made me think that the music was in good hands if players such as these were keeping it alive.

Shostakovich was another of the Proms’ themes for me:: I saw three of his symphonies (including the No 10). The BBC SO gave a fine performance of his famous Symphony No 5. This was one of the pieces I liked when I was first getting to grips with classical music, after hearing a Shostakovich suite at a Prom in the 1980s (I bought a CD of the suite, which also featured Symphony No 5), so I know it well. I really enjoyed the BBC SO’s performance. They opened with Arvo Part’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, immediately followed by Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, both of which I love. I didn’t warm to Huw Watkin’s Violin Concerto which they premiered – I found it squeaky and jerky, and I would happily have sat that one out in the bar…

The other Shostakovich I heard was Symphony No 7, “Leningrad”. I think this is a brilliant piece of music, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales gave a very good performance under Thierry Fischer. It was full of dynamics, the percussion working really hard. The first movement features a lot of snare drum work, a crescendo of tapping, and this started barely audibly, a slender tapping, and built and built and built as the rest of the orchestra came in until it thunder to a climax. It was only broken when, early on, the gentle snare was joined by someone’s mobile phone going off. There is a reason they ask you to switch your phone off, you know

I saw more music by Part, too. The Proms likes anniversaries – this year was Part’s 75th birthday, and they premiered his Symphony No 4. I enjoyed this premiere a lot! I like Part, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Part was in the audience, too, and was given a truly rousing reception – it made it a very special event. I think he was being applauded for his lifetime work as much as the premiere, but it was good to see him honoured. He looked humbled by the crowd’s adoration, too.

I saw two Bruckner symphonies – another youth orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, playing No 9, and the BBC SO playing No 8. The No 9 (confusingly before the No 8 in the programme) was very good. This time, the youths got a good audience, and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester acquitted themselves well. They played some Mahler, too – some lieder (not a great fan…) – and so did the BBC SO, who opened with the prelude to act 3 of Lohengrin. Their premiere of Tansy Davies’ Wild Card I could have done without, but I thought their performance of Bruckner Symphony No 8 was excellent – the brass sounded really powerful, a glorious sound – a fitting end to my Proms’ season!

The major disappointment for me was the Orchestra for World Peace under Valery Gergiev playing two Mahler symphonies – No 4 and No 5. After the marvellous No 3 from BBC SSO, the No 4 seemed insipid, and No 5, which I like, little better. I had expected great things from Gergiev and an orchestra comprising the best musicians (allegedly), but I would have preferred the youth of Australia or Europe, I think.
rhythmaning: (on the beat)


Picture from National Galleries of Scotland



Say what you like about Tracey Emin – she knows how to give catchy titles to her work. Such as

”You Forgot To Kiss My Soul” )
rhythmaning: (on the beat)


Picture from National Galleries of Scotland



Say what you like about Tracey Emin – she knows how to give catchy titles to her work. Such as

”You Forgot To Kiss My Soul” )
rhythmaning: (on the beat)
I like Matthew Bourne’s choreography: when a show he has choreographed appears in Edinburgh, I make an effort to see it – which means in the last few years I have seen his famous Swan Lake (famous not least for having an all-male chorus of swans – mute swans, obviously), Play Without Words (his magical take on “The Servant”), Edward Scissorhands (his, er, magical take on, er, “Edward Scissorhands”, using the original music from the film), Highland Fling (his beautiful, disturbing take on “La Sylphide” – one of the few times I have experienced a whole audience in shock during a dance performance), and, just a few months ago, The Car Man (his brilliant, murderous take on Bizet’s “Carmen” – a cross between Carmen and West Side Story, if you like).

(By the way, have a look at the videos on those show websites. Bourne’s company, New Adventures, seem to have high web production values.)

So I was really looking forward to seeing his new production of Dorian Gray - another adaptation, this time of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I was looking forward to it so much that I accepted a late offer to the opening night, when I already had a ticket for later in the run (the offer fell through due to illness, but I would have gone). This production broke records for a dance production at the Edinburgh Festival, selling out over eight nights.

It shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise than when I was disappointed. It looked beautiful; it was brash and loud, and sexy (there was a fair concentration on sex in the production); it was smart and clever, and the dance was good.

Indeed, it is hard to identify quite why I felt disappointed: perhaps it was a bit too clever – a bit too knowing. It was also a bit too loud: the music – I think performed live (five guys in black tie were brought on stage for the curtain call) – was over amplified for the relatively small space of the King’s Theatre.

All in all, it just didn’t work – there was a little something missing. I hope Bourne finds it before he next brings something to Edinburgh.
rhythmaning: (on the beat)
I like Matthew Bourne’s choreography: when a show he has choreographed appears in Edinburgh, I make an effort to see it – which means in the last few years I have seen his famous Swan Lake (famous not least for having an all-male chorus of swans – mute swans, obviously), Play Without Words (his magical take on “The Servant”), Edward Scissorhands (his, er, magical take on, er, “Edward Scissorhands”, using the original music from the film), Highland Fling (his beautiful, disturbing take on “La Sylphide” – one of the few times I have experienced a whole audience in shock during a dance performance), and, just a few months ago, The Car Man (his brilliant, murderous take on Bizet’s “Carmen” – a cross between Carmen and West Side Story, if you like).

(By the way, have a look at the videos on those show websites. Bourne’s company, New Adventures, seem to have high web production values.)

So I was really looking forward to seeing his new production of Dorian Gray - another adaptation, this time of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I was looking forward to it so much that I accepted a late offer to the opening night, when I already had a ticket for later in the run (the offer fell through due to illness, but I would have gone). This production broke records for a dance production at the Edinburgh Festival, selling out over eight nights.

It shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise than when I was disappointed. It looked beautiful; it was brash and loud, and sexy (there was a fair concentration on sex in the production); it was smart and clever, and the dance was good.

Indeed, it is hard to identify quite why I felt disappointed: perhaps it was a bit too clever – a bit too knowing. It was also a bit too loud: the music – I think performed live (five guys in black tie were brought on stage for the curtain call) – was over amplified for the relatively small space of the King’s Theatre.

All in all, it just didn’t work – there was a little something missing. I hope Bourne finds it before he next brings something to Edinburgh.
rhythmaning: (sunset)
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s featured exhibition for the festival is Vanity Fair Portraits - a large collections of photographs from the glossy magazine Vanity Fair.

The exhibition is in two parts, reflecting the history of the magazine: from 1913 to 1936, when the magazine stopped, and then from 1983 to the present, the publishers realising they actually had a marketable brand.

That is a long gap in the middle – nearly half the 20th century – and it is reflected in the pictures.

I found the first half of the exhibition far more rewarding than the second half. It features a surprising number of major figures in photography in the first half of the last century, and they produced some startling images. Most notable was the work by Edward Steichen – there were several of his photographs in the show.

There was also work by Man Ray, Cecil Beaton, Arthur Steiglitz and Charles Sheeler – these were big names in art, not just photography. Their portraits concentrated on the subject, and in developing photography as an artform: working in black and white, these are pictures that set a standard. They communicate the personality of the sitter – you feel you know a bit more about them.

I felt that the focus shifted in the second half of the exhibition. The photographs became glossier, in colour (although I still preferred those that were black and white) – and it was as if it was the photograph and the photographer rather than the subject that had become important.

The photographs became more and more complex, and the technology to produce them makes such complexity easy. The subject is diminished.

There are some brilliant photographs from this latter period, but looking at the pictures I found myself thinking, “wow! How did they do that?” rather than “wow, that really brings out the humanity in the sitter!”
rhythmaning: (sunset)
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s featured exhibition for the festival is Vanity Fair Portraits - a large collections of photographs from the glossy magazine Vanity Fair.

The exhibition is in two parts, reflecting the history of the magazine: from 1913 to 1936, when the magazine stopped, and then from 1983 to the present, the publishers realising they actually had a marketable brand.

That is a long gap in the middle – nearly half the 20th century – and it is reflected in the pictures.

I found the first half of the exhibition far more rewarding than the second half. It features a surprising number of major figures in photography in the first half of the last century, and they produced some startling images. Most notable was the work by Edward Steichen – there were several of his photographs in the show.

There was also work by Man Ray, Cecil Beaton, Arthur Steiglitz and Charles Sheeler – these were big names in art, not just photography. Their portraits concentrated on the subject, and in developing photography as an artform: working in black and white, these are pictures that set a standard. They communicate the personality of the sitter – you feel you know a bit more about them.

I felt that the focus shifted in the second half of the exhibition. The photographs became glossier, in colour (although I still preferred those that were black and white) – and it was as if it was the photograph and the photographer rather than the subject that had become important.

The photographs became more and more complex, and the technology to produce them makes such complexity easy. The subject is diminished.

There are some brilliant photographs from this latter period, but looking at the pictures I found myself thinking, “wow! How did they do that?” rather than “wow, that really brings out the humanity in the sitter!”
rhythmaning: (sunset)
On Sunday, I went to see the fireworks that mark the end of the festival each year. It is a big display - sponsored by the Bank of Scotland - so nice to see them burn their customers' money (and let's face it, the way the credit crunch is playing, it might be the last time they sponsor the fireworks!).

Needless to say, I took hundreds of photographs.

Here are a few of them!

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You can see more of my pictures from the fireworks here!

(In case you are interested, the building silhouetted on the left in several pictures is Oloroso. They must have had a brilliant view!)
rhythmaning: (sunset)
On Sunday, I went to see the fireworks that mark the end of the festival each year. It is a big display - sponsored by the Bank of Scotland - so nice to see them burn their customers' money (and let's face it, the way the credit crunch is playing, it might be the last time they sponsor the fireworks!).

Needless to say, I took hundreds of photographs.

Here are a few of them!

DSC_0162

DSC_0118

DSC_0150

DSC_0094

DSC_0006



You can see more of my pictures from the fireworks here!

(In case you are interested, the building silhouetted on the left in several pictures is Oloroso. They must have had a brilliant view!)
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Prompted by Extra Salt n Sauce, I went to see the installation at Stills Gallery, the Martha Rosler Library. It left me less than whelmed; it was a library, more or less. I didn’t feel inclined to engage with the art – I didn’t want to look at the books much, though I flicked through a couple.

I guess I really didn’t get what it was about at all. I just thought “books” – which of course I think are great – but it didn’t give me a different perspective; and as libraries go, it wasn’t a place I wanted to linger. So I didn’t.

But it worried me: The House of Books Has No Windows at the Fruitmarket Gallery – another installation composed of books – had really grabbed me: it had made me smile and laugh, and I longed to be able to open the books and read them. Why was this different?

So being just around the corner, I went back to the Fruitmarket to have another look at the Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller installations.

And I still think they are wonderful.

They were selling postcards of The House of Books Has No Windows, and since I can’t find images of it anywhere on the internet, I scanned the postcard.


© Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Photo by Alan Dimmick



I found the The House of Books Has No Windows more captivating than before. I went inside; I was filled with wonder. I wanted to touch the books. And it made me smile. There was a note by Janet Miller that I hadn’t read before:
I love libraries because of the layers of time and meaning they contain. I like how you can escape into other worlds in a library, how when you open a book, you’re somewhere else

I love that – it really resonates with me.

The other installations were worth revisiting, too. The Dark Pool seemed more quirky and interesting: I was in the room by myself, and I realised the extent to which the soundwork depends on the listener – standing in different places triggers different sounds; it became a game to interact with different sounds.

I saw Opera for a Small Room in a different part of its twenty minute cycle, and it was genuinely spooky.

Unfortunately, the last piece – which wasn’t working last time – wasn’t working again. Or perhaps that is fortunate: I shall have to go back again…
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Prompted by Extra Salt n Sauce, I went to see the installation at Stills Gallery, the Martha Rosler Library. It left me less than whelmed; it was a library, more or less. I didn’t feel inclined to engage with the art – I didn’t want to look at the books much, though I flicked through a couple.

I guess I really didn’t get what it was about at all. I just thought “books” – which of course I think are great – but it didn’t give me a different perspective; and as libraries go, it wasn’t a place I wanted to linger. So I didn’t.

But it worried me: The House of Books Has No Windows at the Fruitmarket Gallery – another installation composed of books – had really grabbed me: it had made me smile and laugh, and I longed to be able to open the books and read them. Why was this different?

So being just around the corner, I went back to the Fruitmarket to have another look at the Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller installations.

And I still think they are wonderful.

They were selling postcards of The House of Books Has No Windows, and since I can’t find images of it anywhere on the internet, I scanned the postcard.


© Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Photo by Alan Dimmick



I found the The House of Books Has No Windows more captivating than before. I went inside; I was filled with wonder. I wanted to touch the books. And it made me smile. There was a note by Janet Miller that I hadn’t read before:
I love libraries because of the layers of time and meaning they contain. I like how you can escape into other worlds in a library, how when you open a book, you’re somewhere else

I love that – it really resonates with me.

The other installations were worth revisiting, too. The Dark Pool seemed more quirky and interesting: I was in the room by myself, and I realised the extent to which the soundwork depends on the listener – standing in different places triggers different sounds; it became a game to interact with different sounds.

I saw Opera for a Small Room in a different part of its twenty minute cycle, and it was genuinely spooky.

Unfortunately, the last piece – which wasn’t working last time – wasn’t working again. Or perhaps that is fortunate: I shall have to go back again…
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I spent a morning exploring some festival fringe art. I started at the new Ingleby Gallery, their first show since they moved from the Georgian splendour of Carlton Terrace to the more grungy backstreets behind Waverley. They have moved into the building vacated by the Venue, a dark and dingy rock venue. The contrast with the new gallery is staggering: they have created a bright, open space.

The first exhibit is seen a long way from the gallery: an installation by Mark Wallinger on a billboard site on the side of the building. Protesting “Mark Wallinger is Innocent”, it created doubt in my mind – innocent of what, and why does he need to broadcast his innocent. I have my doubts – send the polis around.

DSC_0001
...I don't think so...



(As an aside, can I just say that whenever I think about Mark Wallinger, I hear the music of this guy, too!)

Read more... )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I spent a morning exploring some festival fringe art. I started at the new Ingleby Gallery, their first show since they moved from the Georgian splendour of Carlton Terrace to the more grungy backstreets behind Waverley. They have moved into the building vacated by the Venue, a dark and dingy rock venue. The contrast with the new gallery is staggering: they have created a bright, open space.

The first exhibit is seen a long way from the gallery: an installation by Mark Wallinger on a billboard site on the side of the building. Protesting “Mark Wallinger is Innocent”, it created doubt in my mind – innocent of what, and why does he need to broadcast his innocent. I have my doubts – send the polis around.

DSC_0001
...I don't think so...



(As an aside, can I just say that whenever I think about Mark Wallinger, I hear the music of this guy, too!)

Read more... )
rhythmaning: (on the beat)
Sitting in the auditorium waiting for the show to start, the ushers suddenly move through the aisles asking everyone to leave quickly. There is a lot of confusion - not least from the number of non-English speakers. Thoughts quickly turn to fire or terrorist bomb – although being asked to wait in the foyer imples something less radical. Either way, everyone leaves as quickly as requested; the foyer gets crowded as those streaming out of the auditorium meet those rushing to get in.
Not a good start to the evening. )

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