Edinburgh Annuale 2012 (4 stars)

Edinburgh Annuale

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


Annuale is a festival celebrating independent grass roots creative projects in Edinburgh, curated by the Embassy gallery.

Record Store

To mark Record Store Day, 20 artists have created 20 vinyl record sleeves for fictional records by fictional artists, the idea being that the viewer can enjoy the artwork without ever having to be disappointed by the content of the recording. All the 'records' are on the collaborative fictional label Obstacle Soup.

It's Hard To Find A Good Lamp

Group show by Embassy Gallery artists investigating the boundaries between art, furniture and interior design. Part of Annuale.

Unimaginable Wealth Part 2

A feature-length film and accompanying novella by the Creative Services of Hugo De Verteuil and Ian Rothwell, created by ripping videos from YouTube, using free downloaded text-to-speech software, basic MIDI components and downloadable sound effects, with a narrative put together from email scams. Part of Annuale.

Social Growth

Work by David Steans, Dean Kenning, Francis Thorburn, Jason Penney and Julike Gittner, concerned with public and social spaces and the relationships between humans, non-humans and objects within these spaces. Part of Annuale.

Blue Box Room

A series of exhibitions and drawing events. Space is limited. Booking is essential.

Ding Dong, the Queen is Dead!

Video, installation and poem by Inbal Drue examining subjects such as society, rules, battles and strategies. Part of Annuale.

Fluid Potion

A project of 'regurgitation versus representation', realised through drawing, sculpture, painting and video, by Diane Edwards, Sheena Leach, Callum Monteith, Liam Richardson and Alex Allan. Part of Annuale.

Here Comes Everyone

Video work by Jacob Ciocci, Jon Refman, Lachlann Rattray, Diane Edwards, Simon Redekop and Croy Arcangel. Part of Annuale.


Inaugural group exhibition of Postal, a publication celebrating new and emerging artists and designers working in the Edinburgh area. Part of Annuale.

Ortonandon: 24 Hours

Art group Ortonandon (composed of three sisters, Kate, Sophie and Anna Orton) invite you to spend 24 hours in their mother's home, from 11pm on Sat 23 Jun to 11pm on Sun 24 Jun. Part of Annuale.

The Making of It

Artists from Scotland, Turkey, Switzerland, Malta and Greece show work with process and playfulness at its heart.


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