Online Fringe 2020
This the first film in a series, which is a 6 minute reflection with images and voiceover that juxtaposes two Arthur’s Seats – the iconic Edinburgh landscape and the one in Jamaica that should have more significance than its namesake. It blends the visuals with artistic flair to give us a thought process that challenges in subtlety without shouting the obvious.
The films may be short but the history is long and with this blend of approach it leads you to contemplate some of the most obvious omissions in our history in a highly creative manner. I struggled a little to hear at first but once I found the rhythm of the piece it was an excellent watch. Throughout however I did find the soundscape a challenge and would have wanted one that settled into the rhythm of the visuals and added more to the experience.
As a white man in his fifties, I enjoy the challenge and being made to sit up and learn what my class and my gender and my race has been responsible for. It has been a slow awakening for many that can take the angry polemic as much as the whispered challenge. Here I got a great piece of reflection turned into a simple, yet complex idea that we should not sit back and accept the orthodoxy of our past nor the accepted norm of our present.
It challenged me in new and surprising ways. The name places of cities like Glasgow have taken on a new significance as we see how the plantations and the slave ownership of our pasts has infected the psyche of us by making names of slave owners or plantations part of our everyday street geography. Here it is presented in reverse and the influence the conquerors and oppressors have had in infecting the places they took over in reverse.
There was not a shouting polemic with which to tackle but a gentle reminder of what people of colour may think and what people like me ought to realise. I really liked it and am looking forward to what comes next in the sequence because the blend of visuals and the sound, when clear, made this interesting, though a more communicative soundscape would help make it a better experience.