Edinburgh Annuale 2012
Essential showcase of city's independent artistic infrastructure
In terms of how art happens at a grassroots level, both Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government are as clueless as each other. The importance of Edinburgh Annuale to the city’s independent artistic infrastructure, on the other hand, cannot be overstated.
This year’s edition features some 30-odd events in co-operatively run spaces such as Embassy, Rhubaba, the Old Ambulance Depot, Superclub and Whitespace, as well as an ever-burgeoning network of flats, shops, tunnels and lecture theatres, plus online exhibitions and publications, one of which glories in the name, ‘Jelly and ice cream when Thatcher dies?’ All of which, under the Scottish Government’s idiotic changes to Public Entertainment Licence laws, are technically illegal.
But no matter, at least there’s still music. Or is there? Because, while the 24 12” square LP record covers lined up in long-standing indie emporium Avalanche Records blend in perfectly with the racks around them, look closer and each is actually a meticulously observed depiction of crucial albums that lay unreleased by bands that never were.
While one can easily imagine the stack-heeled glam racket of Douglas Morland’s glitter-spattered Three Day Week, Ian Smith’s ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ casts Situationist stooge Monty Cantsin as a spoon-playing showman covering ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘I Kissed A Girl’. Elsewhere, Optimo’s Jonnie Wilkes pastiches the über-exclusivity of micro-label limited edition presses by way of a make-believe compilation of east European electronica.
With an accompanying biography for each bespoke artiste, all this resembles Bill Drummond and Mark Manning’s release of a set of 7” singles by non-existent Scandinavian acts, all recorded by themselves. Wannabe soulster Mingering Mike, meanwhile, mapped out a whole make-believe career for himself via a series of hand-drawn album covers with accompanying cardboard discs that were discovered en masse in a car-boot sale. As a soundtrack to imaginary times, it’s silent but deadly.
Various venues, Edinburgh, until Sun 24 Jun