Is there anything more majestic than seeing Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens in the evening, with very few people, dusk arriving and the transition of noises, as day turns? Particularly not when we are stimulated with the additional visual and sonic installations from the innovative folks at Cryptic Theatre.
As part of The Peatland Partnership’s Flows to the Future Project led by RSPB Scotland, Cryptic Theatre have culminated an immersive experience within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Incorporating works from artists, ranging from Kathy Hinde, Luci Holland, Pippa Murphy and Karine Polwart, Cryptic have created a sensory delight, particularly under the creative direction of Cryptic’s Founder and Artistic Director, Cathie Boyd.
These works were inspired in the wilds of Scotland’s vast Flow Country, the world’s largest single expanse of blanket bog, crucial to the fight against climate change. The tour began with a short video introduction about the blanket bog before we were recommended to follow the neon orange arrows, leading the way.
During their residencies in the flow country, the artists collaborated with local scientists and community groups, learning about the complex biodiversity of the Flow Country. Using this knowledge and learning the sound designers and composers have gathered, they have culminated intriguing and beguiling soundscapes using hydrophonic microphones, creating deep bass tones, to sonifying the Flow Country’s prominent winds.
Below The Blanket also featured a highlight, the premiere of a choral work composed by Malcolm Lindsay, installed as a recording throughout the project and sung by Scotland’s leading Baroque Ensemble, the Dunedin Consort. Feeling the sonic vibrations and frequencies through the trees, this was an extra special moment. Luci Holland also created a rhythmic ambient soundscape built up of remixed and layered natural audio, under an archway, which sadly lost its thunder to actual, well…thunder.
As the clouds released the lashing rain, the flow experience was certainly in full swing and the only thing to brighten the moment was a primary coloured umbrella, geared up with sonic mics to add ambience to the remainder of the tour.
You can see Below the Blanket at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, East Gate, until 25th August at various times. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/