The commissioning of new work at Edinburgh Art Festival has become a notable part of the wider programme, with works that alter the city’s appearance – such as Martin Creed’s Work No 1059 in 2011 which has permanently transformed Scotsman Steps leading from Market Street to North Bridge – leaving a positive legacy.

This year Scotsman Steps will carry visitors from The Fruitmarket Gallery, with its exhibition of diary and video works by Dieter Roth, to Susan Philipsz’ 2012 commission Timeline. Philipsz presents a multi-sound installation that draws an invisible line between Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill, tracing the line of a nineteenth century cable that connected the two points. A series of speakers installed at different points carry Philipsz’ voice and mirror the domino effect of sound created by Edinburgh’s famous One O’Clock Gun, fired from the barracks of the castle every day.

There’ll be other castle antics in West Princes Street Gardens (2 August at 3pm), at the foot of the Castle’s foundations. Emily Speed will work with performers to create Human Castle where costumed participants form the bricks and mortar. Inspired by the motto for Edinburgh’s Royal Military Tattoo – Castellum est urbs (the fortress is the city) – the work forwards a further motto: the city is its people.

Edinburgh-based artistic partnership ~ in the fields present Yen to See Different Places, a ‘tourist telescope’ that engenders Scotland’s tourism expectation with romanticised trimmings, co-commissioned by New Media Scotland. It will be sited in St Andrews Square alongside Andrew Miller’s The Waiting Place, the festival’s designated pavilion described as: “a flexible space, hosting multiple uses – discussions, talks and guided tours, and of course, offering a space in which you’re welcome to simply enjoy the act of waiting for something to happen”.

Other highlights include: Callum Innes’s first light intervention which transforms Regent Bridge, a major thoroughfare between the city’s Old and New towns; Rose Street film programme, screenings of young artists’ work in shop windows along the city’s old red light district, including Edinburgh-based Anthony Schrag and Calvin Laing; and Kevin Harman’s 24/7, a stealthy interactive piece, the content of which is embargoed until the festival begins.

Sorcha Carey, the festival Director said: “This year’s commissions bring the city to life and transform it into a magical playground which invites visitors to look anew at one of the worlds most iconic cityscapes.”

Edinburgh Art Festival runs 2 August – 2 September. For more on the programme, which includes artist talks, one-off events and exhibitions across the city see

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