Zoë Walker and Neil Bromwich are known internationally for their large-scale sculptural works, participatory events and public performances that invite audiences to imagine better worlds. Their expansive art works use protest, pageant, celebration and contemplation to re-ignite Utopian ideologies; and have, at their core, a collective desire for an alternative way of living.
The artists discuss their work for The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership (Trinity Apse, Chalmers Close, Edinburgh) which is one of four new public artworks commissioned for Edinburgh Art Festival 2017, that takes its influence from the theme. For The Making of the Future, the artists reflect on Patrick Geddes in the context of radical thought and social activism at the end of the nineteenth century, considering alongside Geddes, a range of visionary thinkers from the turn of the century who strove to create the conditions for a fairer society, including Walter Crane and William Morris. At the heart of the project will be a giant inflatable sculpture of a dragon, the contemporary descendant of the mythical fire-breathing creatures of the kind slain by St. George. Streamers flowing from its mouth, inscribed with inspirational slogans such ‘a plea for common ownership’, ‘production for use not profit’ and ‘leisure for all’, evidence the many ideals (and idealists) it has consumed.
Sited in Trinity Apse, an architectural reminder of Edinburgh’s mediaeval history, the sculpture sits at the centre of a series of playful attempts to slay the dragon, through performative ritual, public pageant, and intellectual debate. The artists are working with the children and families of Canal View Primary School, Wester Hailes, exploring alternative models to capitalism, inspired by Geddes' expression 'By Leaves we Live ... not by Coins.'