Islands 2014

A collaboration with musician and composer Craig Armstrong.

Three temporary works created for Edinburgh Castle, to celebrate the cultural programme that accompanied Scotland’s Great Summer of Sport in 2014. Beginning at the portcullis with Sentinels, an audio work that introduces the sound of the UK’s largest seabird colony on the archipelago of St Kilda, 40 miles north west of the Hebrides. Further into the interior of Edinburgh Castle a projected animation work on the walls of Crown Square expresses the flight of a seabird colony as it moves through space, first as individuals, then building to a mass of hundreds of birds hypnotically wheeling and gliding across the walls. The animation maps the movement of a variety of specific species including Northern Gannets, Fulmars, Guillimots and Atlantic Puffins. The lifestyles of these seabird colonies are so finely balanced, they are a paean to the place they inhabit. Like most of nature, they have adapted to both the wealth and frugality of their environment.

In the Queen Anne Room a series of films of the coastal horizon at Hushinish have been inserted into the 16th century window frames, this contemporary but timeless scene presents a poignant setting for a performance of the composer Craig Armstrong’s work Martyrdom Variations with the Scottish Ensemble and the Lewis Psalm Singers, a Gaelic Choir from Stornoway. The choir’s remarkable singing technique is rarely heard outside of Gaelic church services in the Outer Hebrides, its sound is quite alien from conventional Western music, yet audibly akin to oral traditions elsewhere in the world.

A collaborative work with Craig Armstrong, the Scottish Ensemble and the Lewis Psalm Singers. Commissioned by Diageo, produced by Red Sky At Night Events.