Turner prize-winning artist Susan Philipsz has taken to humming the National anthems of Russia, Grenada, Ethiopia, Bahrain, United States, Nigeria and Great Britain.
In a tuneless fashion the songs make you feel like you are eavesdropping in on a private moment of domestic tidying. Speaking of her Olympic artwork Phillips stated: ‘I picked out different countries at random and laid down their national anthems on eight tracks in the recording studio. I thought if all the countries can run alongside each other we can have all the anthems running alongside each other too’
Philipsz uses sound to draw upon the architectural settings of her interventions to sculpt intensely intimate moments. A multi-site sound installation, Timeline is the artist’s first ever exhibition in Scotland’s capital and is developed in response to one of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks: the One O’Clock Gun.
In April 1861, to ensure the timing of the One O’Clock Gun was accurate, a squad of sailors hung an electrical cable between the Time ball at the Nelson Monument and Edinburgh Castle three quarters of a mile away. Around the same time a map was produced to show the time taken for the sound of the gun to be heard at different points across the city. Philipsz’ Timeline traces this now invisible line in a succession of short sound recordings installed across the city. Referencing both the mythical sirens of Homer’s Odyssey, and the invention of the first siren by Edinburgh’s John Robison, Philipsz’ voice will call out each day in response to the firing of the gun, creating a domino effect as each speaker sounds in turn along the timeline from Calton Hill to Edinburgh Castle.
Timeline can be heard outside Nelson’s Monument on Calton Hill; at Old Calton Cemetery; on North Bridge; on Waverley Bridge; behind the National Gallery on The Mound; and in West Princes Street Gardens. 2 August -2 September