Edinburgh Art Festival: Online programme for 2020

The EAF present work from ten artists, online and across Edinburgh

Feature by Peter Simpson | 15 Jul 2020
  • Peter Liversidge

When the Edinburgh Festivals (Fringe, International, Art and Book) announced the cancellation of their 2020 editions on 1 April, it was a pretty rubbish day all round. But now, four and a half months on, the Art Festival have announced details of some activity to coincide with the 2020 programme that never was.

Ten artists, from the past ten EAF programmes, will present a mixture of new and revisited work that's both online and on the streets of the city.

The selection of work, say the Art Festival, "is informed by and seeks to reflect on the profound personal and societal impacts of this global pandemic – as we look to find new ways of communicating and being together; to confront the urgent inequalities in our society; and to imagine new futures."

Art around Edinburgh

Peter Liversidge's Flags for Edinburgh (originally commissioned for the 2013 Festival) will see buildings across the city wave white flags marked HELLO. Expect to see the flags dotted around the city, flying from galleries, museums, libraries and schools.

Artist and activist Ellie Harrison presents an up-to-date version of her graph showing the Tonnes of carbon produced by the personal transportation of a ‘professional artist’ over the past 17 years on a poster site in the city centre. Tam Joseph's The hand made map of the world looks at geopolitics and the way maps shape our understanding of the world – it's located on the Meadows.

Rae-Yen Song expands on a project for the 2018 festival, to add to ongoing familial collaboration Song Dynasty. Presented both online and as a poster at a site in the city chosen for its special connection to the artist’s family, the work draws on autobiography and fantasy to speak broadly and politically about 'the Other'.

EAF are also throwing their support behind the Black Lives Matter Mural Trail, led by creative producer Wezi Mhura. The BLM trail brings art created by BME artists to the streets of Scotland's major cities; full details of the Art Festival's involvement will be revealed shortly.

Platform exhibition to return in Autumn

And here's some more good news. The EAF's annual emerging artists' showcase Platform will return with an exhibition (yes, an actual exhibition in a physical location!) this Autumn. 

Rabindranath Bhose, Mark Bleakley, Rhona Jack and Susannah Stark have been selected for this year's programme; more details will be released shortly.

Edinburgh Art Festival's online programme

Ruth Ewan, who selected the artists for this year's Platform exhibition, revisits her Sympathetic Magick project from the 2018 festival with an online screening of her short film Worker's Song Story Deck. Ewan has also collaborated with magician Ian Saville on a special poster series on the transformative power of magic.

Calvin Laing revisits the neighbourhood of his childhood to present a new online performance Calvin and Jogging, which reflects on the fact that lockdown led to many people returning to their family homes. Tamara MacArthur's new online performance For It's All Over But the Dreaming investigates our desire for closeness, and contemporary methods devised to simulate human contact in a time of social distancing.

Rosalind Nashashibi shares an online presentation of her two-part film commissioned for the 2019 edition of the festival, following a group of individuals coming together in preparation for an experimental journey into space. Shannon Te Ao’s two screen video installation With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods, commissioned for the 2017 festival, is a poetic meditation on themes of love, grief, sickness and healing.

Hanna Tuulikki presents a special live performance of an extract from her Sing Sign work on-line, with her collaborator Daniel Padden – looking to the performative possibilities of the digital technology which has become such a critical tool for us all in recent months.

Edinburgh Art Festival's 2020 programming runs from 30 Jul