Freedom of expression at the Edinburgh Art Festival

The Edinburgh Art Festival starts today, so we’re offering our pick of events that amplify marginalised voices and explore free speech in the digital age.

July 28, 2016

The Edinburgh Art Festival starts today, so we’re offering our pick of events that amplify marginalised voices and explore free speech in the digital age. Part of the festival this year is its commissions programme titled More Lasting Than Bronze. The collection will explore the monument and the way that it creates whilst also deleting various histories. It will highlight the voices that have been lost in official accounts of historical events.

Ciara Phillips: Every Woman

Ciara Phillips’s piece Every Woman highlights the unsung contribution of women to the innovative ‘Dazzle’ ships of the First World War. Developed by British marine artist Norman Wilkinson, the elaborate designs on the ships were distorted their appearance when viewed through a telescope. The optical illusion made their speed and location more difficult to discern and target. Phillips’ contemporary design will illuminate the message ‘Every woman a signal tower’ in the dark, which draws attention to the swathes of women who worked on the original designs in a team directed by Wilkinson.

Bani Abidi: Memorial to Lost Words

Bani Abidi’s sound installation draws attention to two groups of unheard voices often left out of historical accounts of the First World War. The first are the mothers, wives and sisters of Indian soldiers living in the Punjab, who sung folk songs asking their men to stay home rather than fight. The second are letters written from Indian soldiers to their families, which were censored and blocked by authorities due to their too-honest accounts of the horrors of war. Both collections use oral tradition to highlight the stories that are omitted from official history.

Sally Hackett: The Fountain of Youth

There has been speculation amongst many Edinburgh-ers about the bias of our city’s monuments towards older intellectual men. Few statues populate the city of the women and youths that have contributed to our intellectual and political history. Sally Hackett’s sculptural fountain seeks to amend that by drawing attention to society’s obsession with youth but also to the lack of agency given to younger generations.

Monument Walks:  Re-imagining Edinburgh’s Past

Jim Slaven is an activist and researcher who focuses on immigrant and working class histories. He will lead a guided tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town, where he will explore the relationship between our venerated monuments and hidden histories. The walk will reveal how remembering and forgetting forges popular perspectives of the city.

Travelling Gallery at Ocean Terminal: Alt-w: Blush Response

New Media Scotland and the Travelling Gallery have teamed up to present a touring exhibition of visual artists using new media. Part of this collection is Alan Brown‘s Remote Control, which uses “device art” to explore issues of privacy, social control, and compliance in our growing relationship with digital screens. Remote Control features three pieces aptly named ‘If You Have Nothing to Hide, You Have Nothing to Fear’‘Do Not Press’ & ‘Emotional Contagion’.

Walking Institute/Deveron Arts: Walking Women

The Walking Institute and Deveron Arts will celebrate women’s writing through the art of walking. Many women have used walking to inspire and inform their art, and this programme of events will highlight physical exercise’s place inside the creative process. It will include artist’s walks and talks, a Wikipedia edit-a-thon of women walking artists, an open mic pecha-kucha, a ‘walkie-talkie’ mobile workshop, and a library of walking women books.

Photo by byronv2, 2016 on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0 Generic)


TAGS: Edinburgh Art Festival freedom of expression