Capital’s closes to be re-imagined in arts project

Re-imagining the historic closes of Edinburghs Royal Mile
Re-imagining the historic closes of Edinburghs Royal Mile
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THEY’RE the narrow, often neglected, shadowy thoroughfares that for centuries have been used to flit between the Royal Mile and side streets of the Old Town.

Later this week, however, a temporary experimental arts installation will reimagine these historic closes.

Open Close, a project led by a team of award-winning artists and architects using sound, light, sculpture, design and visual arts, will reveal the potential of three closes during a four-week exhibition.

Taking contemporary art out of the traditional gallery setting and into the heart of the Capital, Open Close promises to show Carrubers Close, Chalmers Close and Trunks Close in a unique light, transforming them into sensory open-air galleries.

The hope is to alter the public perception of the overlooked alleyways.

Supported by Edinburgh World Heritage initiative Twelve Closes (a major grassroots urban renewal initiative focussed on long term transformation of 12 of the city’s historic pedestrian streets), the installation is part of the Architecture Fringe Festival.

As well as aiming to reach large numbers of visitors and locals, the project also hopes to engage urban policymakers in a debate about urban renewal through creative practice.

Eileen Hall and Tamsin Cunningham, founders of Open Close, explain, “The project was conceived as a way of demonstrating how our smaller urban spaces can become containers for more joy, wellbeing, stimulation and play and the role that temporary art and architecture can play in this transformation.

“We believe that these types of intimate pedestrian space can perform an important role in providing a more imaginative experience of the city.”