"Children learn through play; adults play through art" Brian Eno
This is a wonderful piece of performance art which provides beauty and hope in the shape and sound of Aletia Upstairs’ towering performance. All this, plus the anarchic Richard Demarco.
This is a wonderful piece of performance art which provides beauty and hope in the shape and sound of Aletia Upstairs’ towering performance. Standing, some feet aloft, on an unseen plinth, covered by her monochrome art-in-itself gown, unraveling an endless parchment scroll, she speaks and sings her requiem to the artists who have come before her at the Edinburgh Festival: Joseph Beuys, Marina Abramovic, Robert Filliou, Anthony Howell, and more.
Meanwhile, below, the veteran artist and life-long promoter of the form, Richard Demarco, prowls among us, espousing his loathing of all that the Festival has become, “it isn’t a Festival!” he exclaims. At least, not in the spirit from which it began, seventy years ago. The birth of the Festival was a uniting of all the arts, to enlighten, and bring cultural solace, following World War II.
Surrounded by pieces from the Demarco archive, even a running video of the man himself, we enter a world of anger, disappointment, but ultimately, hope. The words, and songs, with Aletia’s ukulele accompaniment (an instrument raising a smile in us all) are spoken and sung with such thought-provoking purity and love, that we, as an audience, can’t fail to mourn what was, and slowly begin to raise hope for what might re-emerge if, as Demarco observes and applauds, we celebrate and nurture the agricultures of our land.
The lasting message I came away with? Art is in the very nature which surrounds us, there to be explored, and once found, art is within us all. I do hope this piece might become a stalwart reminder in, and for, festivals to come. Or, perhaps, a continuing sound and visual installation in Edinburgh? It deserves further viewings and exploration.
Thank you to Aletia Upstairs and Richard Demarco, and their co-performers and contributors, for this important and inspirational work.