Look out for something new at the Mela this year…okay, look out for lots of new somethings at the Mela this year, but in particular, take some time out of the hustle and bustle to check out our new sound installation Sonic Walk.
trans:migration is an audio/visual installation inspired by the writings of the Scottish-born naturalist, authorand pioneer of wilderness preservation, John Muir, engaging with themes of interconnectedness, creation and belonging within humanity and the rest of the natural world.
In 1869, John Muir, a Scottish immigrant to America, experienced a profound spiritual awakening to the interconnectedness of all life through his immersive experience of wild nature during a summer spent in Yosemite Valley. In 2012, a mother, a first-generation immigrant to Britain, speaks the words of John Muir written in the summer of1869 as her second-generation daughter walks the landscape of his birth.
Composer/Lead Artist: Niroshini Thambar, Film: Sana Bilgrami, Photography: Anne Binckebanck, Design and Build: Simon Harlow for Silo Design & BuildSound Technician: Nik Paget-Tomlinson
What is the Sonic Walk project?
The Sonic Walk project will be unique in the way it creatively engages hard-to-reach groups in rural locations with the aim of collaboratively creating a sound installation which will be showcased at the Mela and as part of the Luminate Festival of Creative Ageing 2012. Participants will work with the artists to record the ambient sounds at different sites along the John Muir Trail in East Lothian, including the sounds of seal colonies & wild birds . Participants will work the lead artist to compile the recordings in order to create a ‘sound-sculpture’ which will include the group’s stories about their connections with rural locations in their country of origin. Participants will be asked to consider the ambient sounds and the sounds of local wildlife along the route & they will spend time with the composer identifying and recording key sounds of interest. The group will also be accompanied by a filmmaker & photographer who will be recording footage of the outings and key sights of interest to the group. Participants will also be asked to reflect upon their experiences of green spaces and rural locations in their country of origin. These stories and reflections will be recorded and included in the final installation .
Who are the artists?
The artists who will be facilitating the Sonic Walk project are of a very high calibre with extensive experience of delivering high-quality artwork as part of outdoor theatre productions . Composer Niroshini Thambar has just completed her artist-residency with The Edinburgh Mela and has also worked as a composer on a large-scale outdoor production called CARGO which was a key part of the Mela 2010. Nik Paget-Tomlinson will be the Technical Advisor – he has also many years experience delivering high profile events , including working on CARGO at the Edinburgh Mela 2010. The proposed filmmaker for this project is Pakistani born & Edinburgh-based Sana Bilgrami. She is an award-winning filmmaker with experience of creating documentaries exploring Scotland’s diverse communities.
What will the outcomes be?
The Sonic Walk project will deliver quality arts activities to minority ethnic communities in a range of natural environments using the arts as a lens to explore Scotland’s outdoor landscapes. Participants will explore a variety of coastal sites in East Lothian, working with artists and fimmakers to create a unique sound installation which incorporates storytelling and reflections about their countries of origin. Through introducing some members of Scotland’s diverse communities to open green spaces through a creative and stimulating programme, it is hoped to encourage and support a continued pattern of awareness, appreciation and use. The Sonic Walk project will positively reinforce the benefits of both participation in the arts and the use of green spaces in terms of health and well-being and emotional and social intelligence development, leaving a lasting legacy with all those involved in the project. The final Sonic Walk installation will be showcased at the Edinburgh Mela 2012 and at the Luminate Festival of Creative Ageing 2012 in October , where it will be accessible by members of the public.
This project was made possible with generous funding from Creative Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.