[Video walk, 25 July – 25 August]
Canada-based artists Cardiff and Miller return to Edinburgh with a new video walk commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery, in partnership with, and premiering at, Edinburgh International Festival 2019, in association with Edinburgh Art Festival.
This work is the latest of the duo’s well-established one-on-one audio and video walks made for numerous international city locations. Cardiff’s voice gently guides the walk, filmed and edited by Miller using Steadicam and binaural sound recording. This use of multidirectional microphones creates an authentic aural sensory experience.
To participate in Night Walk for Edinburgh, you are guided by headphones whilst carrying a small digital handset. Pick up your equipment at The Milkman cafe bar on Cockburn Street. Make sure you press ‘play’ at the right spot at the bottom of Advocate’s Close steps. Some of us spent a disorienting first five minutes walking up the wrong close before starting over again.
“Walking is like the flow of history. One footstep after another, one event after another. Every time we choose an action or direction we change everything that might have been.” excerpt from Night Walk for Edinburgh
This is a real-time audio-visual experience that invokes all five senses. The walks are timed so that those participating before and after you trickle in and out of your experience without pulling you out of focus. If you are going in a group, try to stagger yourselves by at least a minute.
As you inch your way around the back streets and closes of the Royal Mile, you begin to question which experience is real, imagined, suggested or filmed. Some moments are poetic. Others trigger intense unease.
“Sometimes I don’t know if my imagination is leaking into my reality, or if I’m remembering something,” says Cardiff’s narrator, dreamily. Some things unquestionably come to mind in flashes that can only come from personal memories and experiences: David Lynch, Kafka, Blade Runner, film noir, Peter Handke, detective fiction, a game of consequences, survival video games, Eisenstein. We will each have our own set of fleeting references to frame what we are experiencing. This non-linear narrative is speckled with secreted poetic notes, unexplained markings and local archive photography.
You are continually shifting between real-time events on the screen and real-life events around you. Tourists, entertainers, drunken revellers, street beggars, locals and ghostly figures inhabit both realities until you are not quite sure what is real for you.
Strangely enough, on a night when heavy rain was forecast, only the filmed piece ended in heavy rain, cementing this exquisite confusion. Afterwards, you are destined to navigate the rest of your evening wrapped up in the choreography of everyday street life.
Hours later, this experience remains in the corners of your imagination, the way a dream from last night does – like some halfway house between the conscious and subconscious – and will likely lodge there for some time to come.
[Every 15 minutes, 8-10pm, excluding Mondays. 1 hour approx.]