Cauleen Smith, 'H-E-L-L-O', 2014, HD film still, Courtesy of the Artist and Corbett vs. Dempsey.

Cauleen Smith, 'H-E-L-L-O', 2014, HD film still, Courtesy of the Artist and Corbett vs. Dempsey.

H-E-L-L-O, a performance by Cauleen Smith


28 Apr 2022  


Collective was pleased to present a new performance by Cauleen Smith at 7pm on Thursday 28 April 2022, commissioned as part of the current exhibition of her 2014 film H-E-L-L-O in our City Dome.

Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. She believes in the transformative power of art, music and text, and employs radical thought as a tool in her work to envision a better world.

H-E-L-L-O (2014) signals a search for connection in a time of uncertainty and unrest, bringing together themes of historic erasure, presence and loss. Performed in a series of significant cultural and public spaces in New Orleans during the regeneration of the city post Hurricane Katrina, H-E-L-L-O re-interprets the famous five-note musical motif from Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. With this five-note sequence, the artist signals a desire for connection across boundaries and borders, real and imagined.

Collective was delighted to host Cauleen Smith in Edinburgh to produce a public performance of the five-note sequence composed by John Williams. Working with Collective’s unique landscape, architecture and backdrop, the performance took place across Calton Hill and featured six locally based musicians playing the score as a call and response on their bass clef instruments:

Zain Cruickshank – Bass Guitar
Jonathan Gawn – Tuba
Victoria Lopez – Bassoon
Atzi Muramatsu – Cello
Eilis O’Keefe – Euphonium
Anthony Santiago – Bass Trombone

The installation of Cauleen Smith’s film in Collective’s City Dome space brought the themes of H-E-L-L-O into conversation with her long-term interest in astronomy and coastal cities. H-E-L-L-O bears witness to the devastating impact and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and hones in on the damage that has been done to the long established African American community through the city’s eagerness to embrace regeneration.

The performance created an opportunity for art and music to be rooted in these discussions and in Calton Hill as a site with a long history of cultural and political gatherings.