Funding boost secures the future of Speed of Light
As part of our cross-festival ambitions to celebrate and maximise the opportunities around the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I’m delighted to let you know that the Edinburgh International Festival has just announced that Speed of Light, being created by public art organisation NVA, is confirmed as being funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to create a cultural legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK.
The large scale work’s premiere will be a major feature of Edinburgh International Festival 2012 running for the full three weeks of the Festival on Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s iconic city mountain, and is a unique melding of innovative mass participation art and sport.
Speed of Light will explore people’s sense of self and of place in the world, their aspirations and key areas of common concern; health and environmental sustainability. The project will be accompanied by a programme of associated activity over a period of three years from 2012-14.
Large numbers of amateur sports and arts enthusiasts of all levels of ability will be invited to help create the event, bringing together people from all over Scotland to celebrate sport and culture and connecting them directly to the aspirations of the Festival, the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.
Using light sources powered by physical and kinetic movements, the mountainside presentation will promote the latest energy conservation technologies developed in partnership with the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Edinburgh’s other major festivals are also exploring ways in which they will be involved in the project.
Part of the Cultural Olympiad celebrations, Speed of Light will run throughout the three weeks of the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival, the dates of which bridge the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
Angus Farquhar, Creative Director NVA said, ‘The Legacy Trust UK funding has created the chance to bring together a passion for mountains and distance running in one of the world’s great cultural festivals, it is a moment that only happens once’.
Dugald Mackie, Chair of Legacy Trust UK said: ‘Speed of Light will help spread the magic and excitement of the 2012 Games outside London and leave a lasting legacy across Scotland. The Games aren’t just for two weeks, and they’re not just for sports fans. Through projects such as this, they will have an enduring impact on many people’s lives.’
Jonathan Mills, Edinburgh International Festival Director said: ‘Speed of Light is a vast and exciting project with important and timely ambitions and values. We are very proud to be presenting its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2012.
‘This project also represents the first major artist-led collaboration involving the gamut of Edinburgh’s festivals. Its breadth is challenging us to look at new ways of working and the many ways in which it might be possible for us each to engage with the scope and ideas of this visionary work.
‘We very much hope to make the most of the many opportunities it presents to grow relationships with sporting and community organisations and to develop environmental work.’
Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland said: ‘Speed of Light will be a remarkable Community Celebration for Scotland in 2012. Working in partnership with Edinburgh International Festival and artistic direction and production from NVA, Speed of Light project promises a magical animation of Arthur’s seat. Edinburgh in August throngs with creative talent and this project will add to the buzz that the festival season creates. As well as the unique experience for audiences, Scotland’s creative practitioners will develop their skills through a programme of mentoring, internships and master classes. The blend of groundbreaking energy conservation technologies and the artistic, sporting and wider community participation makes this a celebration for 2012 that will leave an inspiring legacy for Scotland.’
Donald Smith, Chair of the Edinburgh Festivals Programming Group, and Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, said: 'Edinburgh’s Festival Directors have long been committed to collaborations of all kinds, and especially so in the context of the manifold opportunities presented in the Olympic year. We’re delighted to see this exciting project develop, and look forward, individually and collectively, to contributing to its success.'