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Susan Philipsz – Timeline

Until September 2nd 2012
5 stars
It only takes a few seconds, and the lunchtime Calton Hill day-trippers
may not even register the three-note female vocal harmony emanating
from Nelson's monument, and which segues into the faint sound of a
cannon being fired for the One O'Clock Gun. In its clarity, however, as
Susan Philipsz's major city-wide intervention ricochets into the ether
at exactly the same time in five other sites on Waverley Bridge, North
Bridge, Old Calton Cemetery, the National Gallery and West Princes
Street Gardens, it becomes an ancient siren's call that transverses
history as well as geography.

Inspired by the electrical cable hung between the monument and
Edinburgh Castle in 1861 to mark out the speed the sound of a gun
travels at by way of Homer's Odyssey, Timeline is part classicist
gift-wrapping, part Enoesque jingle that permeates the air with a
purity that transcends the cannon-fire, and arguably makes the daily
ritual even more iconic. Of course, the cable Timeline travels along is
long gone now, as invisible as much as the half-built tramlines and
drill-battered roadworks clogging up the city's physical presence are
visible.

Timeline, then, is an intangible reimagining, a call to arms that both
acknowledges and cries out for a better place as Philipsz' own voice
maps out possibilities that are about infinitely more than simply
getting from A to B. It's barely there, but if Philipsz' other-worldly 
chorale were made a permanent fixture, the city would be singing every
day.
The List, August 2012

ends

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