Thursday, 27 April 2017

Look Again Festival 2017 at RGU!

Another year has passed since Look Again graced us with their delightful programme of events and exhibitions and now its time to put on your creative goggles and get out to as they say "become a tourist in your own city!" Look Again 2017 brings an ever bigger selection of events and exhibitions, this time stretched across multiple venues and across 2 weekends. The first weekend saw RGU Campus at Garthdee play host to a plethora of events aimed at engaging the student populous and connecting the often remote campus with the wider creative community.

Over a 4 day period students were exposed to the incredible Inflato - Optical Image Intensifier at the Sir Ian Wood building, complete with giant inflatables and wearable sculptures created by Pester & Rossi. The Inflato designs are based on old engineering artefacts and diagrammatic prints discovered in the RGU archive. Along with a short film and exhibition students were invited to take part in a special work shop with the artists, allowing them to engage with the wearable sculptures and inform a special performance which took place later in the evening (see a short video recap below). Pester & Rossi also lead a special march from Grays School of Art all the way through the RGU campus to the SIW building where they treated everyone to a 20 minute performance with students from the art school.

Stephanie Smith and partner Edward Stewart have worked with the extensive Art & Heritage Collection at the uni and selected a group of paintings for a special 'Re-hang' exhibition. Finding a common thread in various nude portraits, the duo set about freeing them from the storage cupboards and set about showcasing these forgotten gems but with a slight twist, they hung them upside down. The reason for this? Smith & Stewart are interested in our perceptions of art and its context, by changing that context they hope to give the viewer a new perspective on the work, the subtle lilt in a hand, the appearance of someone falling from the heavens, a frown becoming an akward smile. The exhibition certainly got the attention of one disgruntled former student who took great offence to his work being removed from a cupboard to be hung up side down.

Photographer Jon Nicolson gave a great lecture about his work and experiences of travelling abroad. Jon also worked with some photography students looking over their portfolios and helping them pick out the best themes and photos but also to weed out work which didn't quite fit. Former Grays student Laura Reilly and Jason Nelson gave a presentation on 'What is Creative Practice?' sharing their own personal experiences building up a creative practice, the power this knowledge holds and how to take it forward after art school. I've always found the creative talks interesting and come away with a refreshed view.

The weekend brought The Doric Suite to RGU where they performed a blend of neo traditional Scottish music with a jazz edge. I assisted with some visuals which people seemed to enjoy, some new age psychedelic Scots jazz anyone? Stack Collective were busy all weekend helping students DIY screen print t shirts, a messy but fun business with many students getting their hands dirty. The inflatables were switched on over the weekend and left for people to engage, I had fun getting my head stuck in one while some small children encouraged me try and make my way through the small tunnel which I obligingly did. It was fun!

In all honesty there's been so much happening over the weekend its impossible to cover it all in one post and with the main festival kicking off today ill be on the ground floating about between the events trying to capture of flavour of whats on so please say hi if you see me.  You have workshops with award winning designer Wayne Hemingway and presentation at The Belmont, the Palm Exhibition opening at The Anatomy Rooms, the Thomson & Craighead launch at the new Peacock Visual Arts space on the Castlegate and then the official launch party with Wayne on the ones and twos at Underdog from 9pm. You can check out the full list of events and activities on the Look Again Festival website and be sure to pick up a catalogue, its jam packed and should make for a fun weekend! Enjoy.