Traverse 3 online – until 25 October 2020
Guest reviewer: Hugh Simpson
Someone Else’s Shoes, the Traverse’s immersive online presentation conceived and directed by Hannah Price, is a thought-provoking and wistful evocation of Edinburgh without its festivals.
A trip from Leith to the Traverse via Princes Street, the West End and the Grassmarket is accompanied by a cross-section of Edinburgh residents and a 360 degree camera. This means that the viewer can move around the scene as the journey unfolds.
Although some of the participants can be counted as Edinburgh celebrities, like comedian Susan Morrison, it is often the less well-known participants whose stories are the most involving.
There is a clarity to the opening sequence featuring delivery driver Raphael Nade that is extremely affecting, while dancer Sienna Thomson gives the closing minutes a drive and energy.
Photographer Jamal Yussuf-Adelakun’s description of creating an image for the Black Lives Matter street posters chimes with the overall feeling of the piece – of how the personal impacts on the political, and vice versa.
Throughout, the slightly eerie feeling of an Edinburgh that is much quieter than usual, and without the usual Festival buzz, is as simultaneously apparently real and unreal as everything else just now. Morrison’s exploration of how the pandemic prevented a Fringe appearance when cancer failed to stop her adds a poignant element.
Rector of St John’s Church, Markus Dünzkofer, is the most explicit in his considerations of what Edinburgh has lost in its relationship to the wider world, and his segment is accompanied by the most impressive aerial visuals inside the church.
Trishna Singh’s considered opinions on 2020 crystallise what is going on here – that we are in danger of assuming a sense of community where none exists, and that self-congratulation on how far we have come regarding racism can mask genuine dangers.
There is odd technical drawback – the 360 degree camera does not always add much beyond providing an Edinburgh travelogue; rather than truly putting the viewer in someone else’s shoes, the end result is oddly distancing. The digital removal of most of the camera from the finished shots does lead to some peculiar moments, but there is much to enjoy and explore.
As unexpected images occasionally flit across the sides of the screen, there is unexpected depth here, and – despite the obstacles life throws up – a wistful optimism.
Running time: 20 minutes
Traverse 3 online platform
Available: Tuesday 29 September – Sunday 25 October 2020
Details at Traverse 3.