A co-commission with Talbot Rice Gallery, as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2021 Commissions Programme.
Emeka Ogboh’s (b. 1975, Nigeria) newly commissioned sound installation sited in Edinburgh’s Burns Monument is a response to the ongoing theatre surrounding the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.
The sound installation features the recorded voices of citizens from each nation state of the European Union, singing Auld Lang Syne – a song which has come to represent solidarity, friendship and open doors – in their mother tongue. The resulting polyphonic choir affects a complex interweaving of language, syntax, cadence and rhythm.
Auld Lang Syne was chosen by what German MEP Terry Reintke calls a “EU-UK friendship group” to be sung in the European Parliament on the 29th January 2020, after members voted on the final withdrawal agreement and bid farewell to the U.K. Moved by this experience, Ogboh has created the work at a time when the post-Brexit reality is still far from resolved – the contradictions, hopes and harmonies that underscore the political concerns of the process are played out by Ogboh in the work. The participating singers are EU citizens living in the UK who, unable to vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum, were effectively silenced on the day that the UK chose to leave the EU.
Co-commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and Talbot Rice Gallery, as part of Edinburgh College of Art. Supported by the PLACE Programme, a partnership between Edinburgh Festivals, Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland. With additional support from Goethe-Institut Glasgow, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Edinburgh College of Art and Museums and Galleries Edinburgh.
A limited edition vinyl was released by Talbot Rice Gallery on the occasion of the exhibition Song of the Union. Available to buy here.