There’s something happening this weekend at Jupiter Artland, the 120-acre sculpture park based in the grounds of Bonnington House, a few miles west of Edinburgh. Under the curatorship of Head of Exhibitions Claire Feeley, the centre run by Nicky and Robert Wilson has already opened its latest permanent commission, Gateway, a psychedelically inclined outdoor swimming pool by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. The Trisha Brown Dance Company, meanwhile, has performed outdoors as part of Edinburgh International Festival in tandem with Time, Space, Gravity, an exhibition of the radical American choreographer’s work captured on film.
Both works have already hailed on these pages, with the Trisha Brown Dance Company winning a Herald Little Devil Award for braving the elements. Now comes Jupiter Rising, this weekend’s festival of live music, performance and live art commissions. While the two-day event will be headlined by familiar but leftfield names such as the Mercury Music Prize nominated Cate Le Bon, indie stalwarts The Vaselines and Shabaka Hutchings’ space jazz psychedelicists The Comet is Coming, the festival looks set to showcase lesser known works in a speak-easy environment where anything might happen.
“It’s been a riot,” says Feeley, who has put together the programme alongside Matilda Strang of the Oxfordshire-based Supernormal festival and Sarra Wild of Glasgow-based club and radio outfit, OH141. “The way we’ve put together the programme is to get people curious. It isn’t about having big head-liners. It’s about coming to a beautiful space, and taking a chance on a lot of site-specific performances that will happen when they happen. We’re using every inch of space across five stages, and while there are some more familiar names, I’m hoping people will go away wondering what on earth they just saw at three O’clock in the morning.”
With a visual identity by artist Jim Lambie, Jupiter Rising’s name gives a nod to radical film-maker Kenneth Anger, and follows the Lunarnova Campout in 2017 and last year’s Romanticrash event. Both transformed Jupiter Artland’s environment into a freeform art village that mashed up form and content in a melting pot of sound and vision. With a capacity of 700, this year’s event looks set to do something similar across its five stages, capitalising on its bijou size to create something inspired by Brown’s own fusion of choreography, music and art in site-specific environments.
With this spirit in mind, Jupiter Rising will show works that similarly blur boundaries between artistic disciplines. This will include the Scottish premiere of HQ: (I feel so Mezzaniney) by Steve Warwick and Carlos Maria Romero alongside new commissions by DJ and sound artist Ain Bailey and multidisciplinary artist Mary Hurrell, both produced as part of Edinburgh Art Festival. There will also be a programme of film and moving image work from artists including Amir George, Aura Satz and Sam Austen, as well as films and discussions that present rarely seen footage from Trisha Brown’s archive. Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) will also present a programme.
Also in the line-up is electronic pop musician Karen Gwyer, with experimental sounds from Ben Vince and Eric Chenaux. A major coup is the Scottish premiere of contemporary music ensemble Apartment House, who will perform work by American composer Julius Eastman, whose only Scottish performance was in 1974 at Glasgow’s Third Eye Centre. Here, Apartment House will be joined by vocalist and artist Elaine Mitchener, who appears in The Otolith Group’s film on Eastman, The Third Part of the Third Measure, also screened at Jupiter Rising. With further performances by the likes of Edinburgh Leisure, Duncan Marquiss and Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business, Jupiter Rising is very much a Happening.
“Jupiter Artland don’t have events throughout the year,” says Feeley, “so the rationale of Jupiter Rising is to support live art, and to put it at the heart of our programme by giving people the opportunity to perform in an environment where more people might see them.”
Jupiter Rising, Jupiter Artland, Wilkieston, Edinburgh, August 23-25.
The Herald, August 21st 2019