Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tuesday 25 August: Power Plant (Royal Botanic Gardens)

I have a stonking big backlog of things to review, including pretty much everything I saw in this year's Ednburgh festivals (though I posted notes on most of them to Facebook). So to avoid another day passing by with my doing nothing about it, here is the solitary Fringe event I saw (unless you count the International Exhibition of Photography which I have now visited, I think, for 28 consecutive years: always an inspiration, but nothing really to blog about, with its being wholly visual).

Tuesday 25 August: Power Plant (Royal Botanic Gardens)

Power Plant is a touring installation by a number of artists, mostly in the plant houses but partly in the open and visited at night. You are given a map of what is where and it's then up to you how you visit the pieces, though in some parts there is little choice of route. The pieces themselves vary a lot, and initially I was underwhelmed by for example a sort of wigwam of fluorescent tubes accompanied by loud electrical noises. Though the trees projected onto the outside of one of the glasshouses were quite pretty. I think the point at which I decided I liked this idea (and I had been waiting to get in for over an hour) was when I wandered through a misty pathway and discovered that I was being projected upon, and that the path looked completely different depending on the direction I faced because of the projections (which were of oval shapes rather like the ones atop fly agaric toadstools). And at the end of this path of projections was a small box labelled "Tsunami" which went off every ten minutes or so, shaking the rubber sheet affair inside with low-frequency tremors which forced the sand on the sheet into gradually shifting patterns. After that came easily my favourite part, "Pyrophones". These were vertically-mounted tuned flamethrowers, played by a guy at a keyboard (though at the time I imagined they were automatic). As each emitted a gout of flame it also generated a musical note, a sound best described as a cross between a rutting stag and an Andean flute. The effect was both musically and visually striking, and wholly lovely. Then there were the wind-up gramophones playing sheets of sandpaper, or the vividly fluorescent little electric fans.

In the middle of it all was a little yurt where they were selling herb tea. I gather it was very good though as my ticket was for the last slot of the night, and as I tend to linger over gallery-type things anyway, i thought it wiser to press on rather than indulge.

The whole thing was quite charming, and vey different from anything else I'd ever seen. Everyone I knew who#d seen it, and everyone on the night, seemed hugely impresessed as well.


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