For centuries, poets have been jailed or killed for speaking out against injustice – but they speak again an eerie sound installation at Edinburgh art festival

In a disused fire station in Tollcross, Edinburgh, Shilpa Gupta stands, head cocked, beneath a row of speakers strung from the ceiling. There is a crackle, and a burst of noise reverberates through the space: a man’s voice, intoning the words “without revolution, there can be no proper peace”. As the voice dies away, a gentle susurration begins, like the distant clattering of bird’s wings. It resolves into a chorus of whispering voices. They seem to be coming from everywhere.

Suddenly, there is a loud mechanical squeal: across the room, a technician is attaching something to the wall with an electric screwdriver. Gupta wrinkles her nose. “Yes, that one is not planned.”

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