Performance of H-E-L-L-O by Cauleen Smith with Brass Band Planned on Calton

Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. She believes in the transformative power of art, music and text, and employs radical thought as a tool in her work to envision a better world.

Cauleen currently has an exhibition of her 2014 film H-E-L-L-Oin the City Dome on Calton Hill that is part of Collective, who now present a new performance by Cauleen that has been commissioned as part of the ongoing exhibition. 

H-E-L-L-O (2014) is a mesmerising film that signals a search for connection in a time of uncertainty and unrest, bringing together themes of historic erasure, presence and loss. Performed in a series of significant cultural and public spaces in New Orleans during the regeneration of the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, H-E-L-L-O re-interprets the famous five-note musical motif from Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. With this five-note sequence, the artist signals a desire for connection across boundaries and borders, real and imagined.

Collective goes on to host Cauleen Smith in Edinburgh to produce a public performance of the five-note sequence composed by John Williams. Working with the unique landscape, architecture and backdrop that houses Collective, the performance will take place across Calton Hill and will feature five locally based musicians playing the score as a call and response on their bass clef instruments. 

The installation of Cauleen Smith’s film in Collective’s City Dome brings the themes of H-E-L-L-O into conversation with her long-term interest in astronomy and coastal cities. H-E-L-L-O bears witness to the devastating impact and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and homes in on the damage that has been done to the long established African American community through the city’s eagerness to embrace regeneration. 

With Calton Hill being a site with a long history of cultural and political gatherings, the performance will create an opportunity for art and music to be rooted in these discussions.

Thursday 28 April 2022, 7pm, outdoors

Collective, City Observatory, Calton Hill, Edinburgh, EH7 5AA

Irene Brown

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