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Ruth Ewan, 'The Beast' (film still), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Collective.

Ruth Ewan, 'The Beast' (film still), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Collective.

Ruth Ewan
The Beast


25 Jun 2022 — 18 Sep 2022  


City Dome

In summer 2022, Collective presented three new, distinct artist commissions across the City Observatory site and online.

Using the City Observatory site as a springboard, Collective’s programme considered the hidden histories and untold stories relating to our site and wider cultural history. Bringing together new work by Annette Krauss, Ruth Ewan, and Satellites participant Camara Taylor, our summer programme of solo exhibitions and related events reframed and questioned complex figures, movements and systems whose legacies are woven into our collective cultural memory. All three projects were developed with the artists, in some cases over a number of years, to explore how the legacies of the past can be reconsidered and re-presented to help us re-imagine the present and future.

The Beast

The Beast is a surreal animated morality tale conceived by Scottish artist Ruth Ewan, who has long-term interests in creativity and social justice, alternative systems and radical histories.

Co-written with Marxist magician Ian Saville, the dialogue playfully challenges the dominant narrative associated with the Scottish/American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie through a surreal conversation with his namesake, the dinosaur Diplodocus carnegii.

Presented alongside archival material the installation explored intersecting ideas around power, exploitation, culture and the history of capitalism. The project critically reflected on an era where both labour and the earth itself were ruthlessly used for individual gain, inviting us to consider who the real beast actually is.

This commission forms part of a body of work developed by the Desire Lines Steering Group, Edinburgh, exploring the value of art and culture to Edinburgh citizens and communities.

The geological items in the exhibition are from University of Edinburgh’s, Cockburn Geological Museum.

Find out more in our interpretation here.

Silent Agitator is a companion to the artist's new commission The Beast, presented in the City Dome, which retells the history of famous Scottish/American steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The Beast by Ruth Ewan was commissioned and produced by Collective, with funding and support from the University of Edinburgh Art Collection.