Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Talks, workshops and other conversational cues in converted townhouse
As excruciating as an artistic event tied to the brand image of a consumer product can be, Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge (brought to us by the gin, of course) proved at last year’s festival that there’s a time and a place for such things. Brand ambassador Duncan McRae, a native of Edinburgh, takes up the story. ‘It’s a decadent travelling parlour of enlightenment that travels the nation, and soon the world, celebrating unusual knowledge in a fun but quite grown-up environment,’ he says. ‘It’s a collection of lectures, performances, talks and workshops – and also a top-notch cocktail bar – designed to encourage people to rediscover their sense of wonder and curiosity.’
Delivering what McRae says is ‘mind-altering content’ in a highly tailored site-specific environment, in this case a converted townhouse on Royal Circus, the carnival involves talks, workshops and other assorted conversational cues, all within reach of a well-stocked bar, of course. Events include a spoken-word cabaret of five speakers in an hour and a quarter entitled 5x15, a poetry slam between Mark Grist and Tim Clare, and a look at the love life of Ernest Hemingway – carrying on the gin theme, no doubt.
‘We’ve really tailored the programme to the city itself,’ says McRae. ‘A whole day of events has been themed around the notorious Scottish serial killers Burke and Hare, with everything from a mouse taxidermy workshop to a look at death art, and another day of content has been curated by Edinburgh-based publishers Canongate, including a workshop on creating your own comic. Aside from the Edinburgh-specific events, I’m also really looking forward to the work by Guerrilla Science. Their day will look at the brain and all the marvellous things it can do, including a talk on how we perceive scent, which I think is fascinating.’ No doubt it comes in handy with all that gin tasting.
Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge, 226 000, 7–10 Aug, times and prices vary.