'Follow / Unfollow - An Instagram Show' for Nuart Aberdeen!

With the years end fast approaching I thought I'd better pull the finger out and highlight one of the funnest but also most stressful projects I've worked on. With Nuart bringing such a stellar roster of artists and media personnel to the city we wanted to showcase as much Aberdeen based talent as possible. With Painted Doors giving so many a platform we hoped Nuart would be another level up for the bustling artists who call Aberdeen home. The problem is we didn't quite know what to do ( or what we were allowed to do) or where to do it. As the weeks flew by the chances of organising a fully hung gallery show diminished and with the Nuart team focusing on the logistics of the festival it was up to us to try and pull something together.

I came up with a simple solution, to create a set of video loops which mimic my instagram feed but with hand picked posts from my favourite Aberdeen artists. After all, I can't even count how many great artists I've discovered through instagram and it gave me access to a ton of material from finished works to behind the scenes snaps. The next problem was how to make it work? I saved a few hundred screen grabs of the various instagram feeds and set about trimming the edges and arranging them in premiere. Each image would appear on screen then scroll, as if a magic finger had pulled the screen to show the next image, much as we all do when checking instagram in real life. I even toyed with the idea of animating a giant finger but alas time was against me. The final challenge was where to show the videos? With the Anatomy Rooms already hosting a talk by Julien de Casabianca it seemed fitting to show the video loops in the old library, just next door. This would allow people ample time to view the feeds before taking in Juliens hearty tales and 'Follow/Unfollow' was added to the events programme. 

Of course with the show due to kick off at 6pm and not finishing burning the last DVD til 5.30pm on the day I found myself trying to cart 5 projectors and cables down to set up with no time to spare. The show didn't kick off exactly on time and the huge numbers whom showed up for the talk didn't take the edge off but eventually it all came together, the lights were dimmed and I pressed play on all the screens. All together we showed work from 30 Aberdeen artists along with work by artists I follow from further afield but whom predominantly work in the realm of street art or graffiti. It was a tough call trying to pick who's work to include and I tried my best to show a variety from well established artists like Willy and Ade, right through to current Grays students like Alexander and Kirsty. It wasn't til a little later on in the evening, when I'd finally stopped sweating that I found myself sitting in the library room, the faded light of each screen throwing out these wonderful images, I managed to breathe deep and find a bit of peace just taking it in. Then I looked to my left and realised the editor for Juxtapoz magazine was sitting next to me doing the same thing and we had a nice chat.

And that was that. The show was only on for the one night and it was probably the most draining part of the whole festival for me but at least we tried to showcase a bit of what we have, and perhaps take for granted in Aberdeen. With that in mind we'll be making a start on the programme of events for Nuart Aberdeen 2018 in the coming weeks and there will be more talks, more academic discourse and more exhibitions! Hopefully there will also be less sweating on my part but I somehow doubt it. Check out a few of the artists and images shown below, each artist had roughly 5 images scattered across the video loops along with a few greatest hits from my own instagram feed so if you spot someone you're not following you know what to do!

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