Exclusive:Suella Braverman immigration speech to be manipulated for Edinburgh Art Festival show in car park

Performance event to be staged below Edinburgh Castle

Excerpts of an anti-immigration speech by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman are to be turned into a live performance event beneath Edinburgh Castle during this year's summer festivals in the city.

The Conservative MP's voice will be manipulated for the sound sculpture project which will be staged at the multi-storey car park on Castle Terrace as part of the 20th anniversary programme of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

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London-based artist Prem Sahib's work Alleus – which will feature a mix of live and pre-recorded voices - will "re-order, re-direct and dirsupt" a House of Commons speech by Ms Braverman.

The event is expected to explore how language that is legitimised by politicians can be “echoed through society in hate speech.”

Alleus has been co-commissioned by the Edinburgh Art Festival in partnership with the Roberts Institute of Art and the Somerset House arts centre in London.

Discussing his manipulation of Ms Braverman’s speech in an interview, Sahib said: “I was doing things like stretching and reversing the audio, as a means of transforming it in various ways. I wanted this treatment to disrupt the direction of the words. I was thinking about reversal in particular, as a way of refusing this dehumanising rhetoric, often spoken on behalf of ‘the British people’.

"But I also liked how it mirrored her sentiment of ‘sending back the boats’. It reminded me of the types of conspiratorial thinking that seeks to find hidden messages in the reverse, despite the reality of the words themselves being disturbing.”

The programme for Edinburgh’s annual celebration of visual art is expected to explore themes of activism, protest and persecution, and how the political and social landscape has shifted in the UK across the last two decades.

Twenty years of feminist art will be showcased in the Women in Revolt exhibition at the Modern Two gallery in a show which will feature the Greenham Common peace protests, the Section 28 Campaign, the punk era and the Women’s Liberation movement.

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African artists in the festival line-up include Ibrahim Mahama, whose show at the Fruitmarket will reflect on the cultural and social effects of post-colonialism and global migration, while El Anatsui’s exhibition at the Talbot Rice Gallery will explore “cultural, national and ethnic ideas of belonging in the aftermath of colonialism in Africa.”

Polish artist Karol Radziszewski will be transforming part of the City Art Centre for a show featuring work inspired by historically significant queer people from across Europe whose sexuality was suppressed.

Art festival director Kim McAleese said: “This year is obviously a very big one for us given that it’s going to be our 20th birthday.

"We really wanted to look at how all of us have been affected over the last 20 years.

“We've had difficult times of austerity and recession, we’ve seen legislation that has been quite damaging, and there have been different political movements.

“We wanted to think about those pivotal moments, but also those moments of hope within the past 20 years.

“A lot of that will be reflected in our programme. We’ll be working with artists who are under-represented but have been really fighting, protesting and making incredible work.”



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