Capture from The Fourth Wall by John Walter 2019, work in progress (360° immersive video) / Images courtesy of the artist
Annual art weekender returns to the Granite City showcasing both local and internationally acclaimed talent
Exploring the theme of 'New Narratives', the 5th edition of Aberdeen's Look Again Festival will see the transformation of vacant and underused areas of the city centre through visual art and design installations, alongside a range of events and exhibitions, encouraging both visitors and residents to look at the city anew.
Look Again is driven by the desire to support creative talent coming out of Aberdeen and the North-East region, making it one of Scotland's most innovative platforms for emerging visual arts and design. The central ethos of Look Again is 'to embolden and nurture the next generation of creative talent in the North East'; and since 2015 they have provided a space for up-and-coming artists to put on exhibitions, access support and develop their skills.
The festival also provides the opportunity for established contemporary artists from across the globe to explore their personal connections to the North-East, and showcases creative talent in the region year-round thanks to its partnership with Gray's School of Art at Robert Gordon University.
Look Again works with its partners to cultivate the creative industries in Aberdeen, which have flourished in recent years, and the festival has certainly proven the value of creativity and culture for the city.
2019 Look Again highlights
John Walter – 'The Fourth Wall' British multimedia artist John Walter has been commissioned to engage with one of Aberdeen's most impressive yet underused public spaces: Marischal College Quad. For the commission, he will offer a new Virtual Reality experience where participants become performers, to challenge traditional ideas of immersive space. The work combines techniques from collage and painting with gaming and animation, taking his maximalist aesthetic to the next level. Marischal College Quad.
Morag Myerscough – 'Love at First Sight' The area around the city's historic Mercat Cross will house UK designer Morag Myerscough's project 'Love at First Sight'. The work bridges the gap between design and art, with Myerscough using her signature graphic style to create a free-standing structure which references how the space has functioned as a meeting place historically, drawing on her family's own links to Aberdeen, and how her parents fell in love at first sight in the city. She will be working alongside poet Jo Gilbert, who is running a series of workshops with local groups to produce accompanying text for the project. Castlegate.
Shane Strachan – 'The Bill Gibb Line' A major new commission for the festival comes in the form of Aberdeen-based writer Shane Strachan's spoken-word film and exhibition of 'new narratives' across poetry and fashion, inspired by the life and work of the internationally-acclaimed fashion designer, Bill Gibb. Born in Fraserburgh in the North East of Scotland, Gibb's career from the late 1960s to mid-1980s and six of his fashion shows have inspired six new poems by Strachan. The poems will be digitally printed on textiles as part of the exhibition, along with a new dress inspired by his 1985 'Bronze Age' collection, designed by Gray's students Beth Coventry and Catherine Macdonald from Gibb's sketches and pattern cuttings belonging to RGU's Arts & Heritage Collections. Look Again Project Space, 32 St Andrew Street.
Studio N_Name, 'The Rebel Caterpillars'
Look Again Festival's Seed Fund Each year, Look Again awards funding to a selection of emerging creatives who have strong connections to Aberdeen. This year's Seed Fund artists include Zloto (pseudonym of visual artist Karolina Bachanek), who presents 'Caro&Karo Taxi', a socially engaged multimedia project which acts as a means discuss new perspectives on Scotland's shifting relationship with Europe.
Elsewhere, collective duo Studio N_Name's project 'The Rebel Caterpillars' imagines a world taken over by children, with propaganda and participatory workshops providing a playful take on politics, and The Artists' Tuck Shop by Gray's School of Art alumni (David McDiarmid, Jon Nicolson, Stuart Noble, Emma Rogers and Rachel Rogers) is a mobile tuck shop selling snacks and artworks, intended to open up discussions about the sustainability of artistic careers and the financial vulnerability of artists, and aiming to provide a solution to these problems. Various locations, Aberdeen City Centre.
Kirsty Russell, 'Threshold(s)'
Kirsty Russell – 'Threshold(s)' 'Threshold(s)' is a response to the built environment of Aberdeen and the implied gender specificity of its hard, grey walls. To challenge these notions, Russell will produce a rug to be installed in the city centre, acting as a threshold over which visitors are welcomed into the public space. Aberdeen City Centre.
The festival will also see one of Scotland's most prominent artists Jacqueline Donachie bring her work 'Temple of Jackie' to Aberdeen, which serves as a DJ booth / soup kitchen / social space, and Aberdeen based art collective Tendency Towards will present a new exhibition for the festival.
Look Again Festival takes place across Aberdeen from Fri 7–Sun 16 June 2019. Find out more at lookagainaberdeen.co.uk.