Thursday, 1 June 2017

Look Again Festival Recap # 3!

As the weekend rolled on it brought the sun with it and a chance to laze in the graveyard where the the church bell chimes rang out a slightly different tune, one written by Janet McEwan. I finally got a chance to check out The Listener, up close and personal as people filled into the old gardens to see these strange gramophone structures, stopping to take a moment and perhaps see the Library from a new angle. Jason and Allan's pieces both utilised public park spaces and created a nice focal point for engagement with people stopping to chat with one another and interacting with these new art works.

Record Store continued at Seventeen with one of the volunteers, Vladas bringing down his decks for a real life record store feel with booming reggae tunes adding some much needed sounds to the former record shop space. Along with Vladas, Katie Guthrie hosted a special zine making workshop which gave locals the chance to find out about zine culture and to have a bash at making a few pages for a group 'D.Aye.Y' zine. 'Record Store' founder Janie Nichols also hosted an informal discussion with a few of the artists who created record covers at local vinyl haven and bar Spin.

Workshops and talks formed a large part of the weekends activities with the wonderful V.A.U. hosting a fantastic 'Pillow Talk' event where they invited some of the Look Again artists along with local artist Ade Adesina to talk about collaboration with in their own practices. The Anatomy Rooms played host to the SCAN Talk which focused on creative practioners with in the region, the challenges they face but also some of the positive work that's taken place to grow the creative community. These types of events are a great chance to meet some of the people behind organisations like Woodend Barn and Scottish Sculpture Workshop, places that are sometimes easy to over look or difficult to get to (especially on a skateboard).

Pester & Rossi brought their parade into town along with their wearable inflatables, forming a small procession which made its way from the hub on Belmont Street to each of the main sites, bringing a splash of colour wherever they went. City Moves really kicked off their new logo with a host of pop up dance events in the Bon Accord Centre and Belmont Street before the official re - launch event under new director Steve Slater at The Anatomy Rooms. The old dissection rooms played host to a rather special and somewhat mad dance piece called 'Cloud Mushroom' by Fritz Welch and Ultimate Dancer. The performance was the perfect release after a pretty hectic few weeks and capped off Saturday quite nicely!

Sunday provided a chance to catch up on myself a little and to also check out the newly launched 'Aberdeen Collection' at the Look Inside pop up. From the off Look Again has been as much about nurturing local talent as it has bringing fun and engaging work to the city and the 'Aberdeen Collection' is a real achievement. Created by local makers, Aubin Stewart, Mags Gray, Gabi Reith and Anne Marquiss, the collection explores the colours and architecture of Aberdeen (its quite beautiful when you actually take the time to look) and crafted a range of items from jewellery, ceramic wares, prints and clothing which celebrate the city in quite a fresh and positive way. With items to suit all price ranges the group gave everyone a chance to take a little piece home with them, I snagged some nice prints to add to the ever growing pile waiting to be framed.

You could say that in a very short space of time The Anatomy Rooms has become an essential part of many cultural events and has also fostered some great work from its resident studio artists. They are currently home to Stack Collective, a group made up from recent graduates and creatives who have thrown themselves into the numerous opportunities presented both by Spectra Festival and Look Again, adding a fresh voice to things. They handily capped off the festival with their fun 'Disco Graveyard' which featured life size anatomical skeletons, decorated and placed in different locations across the city centre, forming a slightly creepy trail which presented many an opportunity for a selfie, even I couldn't resist.

And as quickly as it came around it was done. Despite my best efforts there is loads I missed, the fashion student pop up shop in The Academy, some of the talks and workshop events, it was almost too much for two people to cover but hopefully it gave everyone a chance to try something new whether it was printing at peacocks or making a zine. All the different elements of the festival are important components and its great to see it growing year on year. As always a massive shout out to the team behind the festival, Sally, Claire, Hilary and Natalie along with all the volunteers, facilitators, participants and to Grant Anderson, photo and video wizard!