Peter Liversidge revisits his 2013 festival commission Flags for Edinburgh which invited buildings across the city to fly a white flag that reads HELLO. As we emerge from an extended period of isolation, and look to find new ways to be together, Liversidge invites organisations and communities across Edinburgh, alongside partner August Edinburgh festivals to send a collective greeting to each other and the wider world; with HELLOs flying from rooftops across the city, including libraries, hotels, galleries, museums, consulates, government buildings, schools and community parks.
Flags for Edinburgh coincides with the launch of Liversidge’s Sign Painting Studio at Jupiter Artland, where members of the public can order a placard to be painted and take away for free, created with Jupiter’s ORBIT Youth Council, a group of 16 to 18 year olds recruited from every corner of Scotland.
The HELLO flag was flown across Edinburgh during the 2013 Festival, bringing its buoyant welcome to the skies above the city. An intervention within, and for, the festival that was and is dependent on place, and the elements to be activated. The wind and air currents coursing through the city buoyed the flag to fly and send its message, welcoming those who saw it and equally, many others who did not.
The flag is very simple: black text on a white flag, the text presented in Frutiger font (designed for Charles de Gaulle Airport), to be clear and highly legible at a distance. A white flag is internationally recognised as one of truce and possible reconciliation.
The flag is reimagined: it no longer represents some thing - a nation, a place, an institution, heraldry or advertising; it is a distillation of what a flag is, a simple greeting.
The re-presentation of the flag, at a time when we are emerging from lockdown, re-contextualises the flag, not to just welcome people to the city but equally welcoming those who live there back too; onto the streets, into buildings, into shops. Being together again. A simple HELLO. Peter Liversidge
Image: Peter Liversidge, Flags for Edinburgh, 2013. Photo Credit: Stuart Armitt.
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