With Scotland’s Year of Young People as its inspiration, the fourth edition of Aberdeen’s annual Look Again Visual Art and Design Festival took place across the city over the weekend of 14-17 June.

Commissioned artists including Emily Speed, James Rigler, Supermundane and David Sherry were asked to respond to the theme of ‘Serious Play’, while projects such as Flag Up and Playable Pavilions saw practitioners and students who live and work in the city collaborate with community and schools groups to explore Aberdeen’s potential as a creative city.

a-n member FK McLoone reported from the festival on the a-n Instagram.

Located in Marischal College Quad at University of Aberdeen, James Rigler’s A House In The Woods looked to explore the complex meanings and messages hidden within architectural styles, in this case the college’s Gothic Revival style and different aspects of Aberdeen’s identity.

“James Rigler’s House in the Woods is a candy-coloured construction that plays off the architecture of its surroundings,” noted McLoone and, with reference to the city’s history as a holiday resort, further explained: “The cherry on top is the ice cream served within, a new gingerbread flavour developed by confectioners Mackie’s of Scotland especially for the festival. Delicious!”

For the Playable Pavilions project, students of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment at Robert Gordon University were asked to design and build interactive playable structures, working with children from two local schools who advised on the design process.

With its tower and brightly coloured pipes Wee Rig referenced the city’s connection to the oil industry, while Big Box offered visitors the chance to interact through sight and touch.

Wee Rig and Big Box provide a range of interactive activities for kids and grown-ups alike to play with to their hearts’ content,” said McLoone.

A collaboration between artist, illustrator and maker Gabrielle Reith and artist and designer Philip Thompson, Oor Monsters (top image) brought fun fake news to the streets of Aberdeen via the Oor News newspaper.

Said McLoone: “I-spy, with my one, massive eye… Oor News! Collaborators Gabrielle Reith and Philip Thompson have taken to the streets of Aberdeen to peddle their ‘real fun fake news’, encouraging the public to look at the city and its goings-on from a playful perspective.

Oor News is part of the duo’s ongoing project, Oor Monsters, which uses humour and a unique visual style to poke fun at aspects of everyday life.”

Reith is also part of the collective Look Inside which exhibited its Aberdeen Collection at Aberdeen Maritime Museum as part of the festival

“Look Inside is a collective of local artists and designers creating contemporary souvenirs,” explained McLoone. “For the Look Again Festival, the Aberdeen Maritime Museum has made a selection of its items – including jewellery, ceramics, textiles, collages and cards – available within its shop, tying in a fresh take on the city to the greater history and culture of Aberdeen.”

For her commission Façades/Fronts, Emily Speed worked in partnership with the Citymoves Dance Agency, choreographer Jack Webb and a group of 13 young female dancers to produce a live performance taking Aberdeen’s architecture as a metaphor for exploring the forming of one’s own identity, particularly as a woman.

Facades/Fronts is a triumph of collaboration and connection,” said McLoone. “Moving with softness and determination through the harsh granite architecture of the city, the performance reflects on identity, particularly as a woman among sites of patriarchal civic activity. The result is captivating, powerful and strikingly beautiful.”

Look Again Visual Art and Design Festival took place across Aberdeen city centre,  14-17 June 2018.

Catch up with all of FK Mcloone’s posts from the festival on a-n’s Instagram

1. Gabrielle Reith and Philip Thompson, Oor News, Oor Monsters. Photo: FK McLoone
2. James Rigler, A House In The Woods. Photo: FK McLoone
3. Playable Pavilions. Photo: FK McLoone
4. Look Inside, Aberdeen Collection at Aberdeen Maritime Museum. Photo: FK McLoone
4. Emily Speed, Façades/Fronts. Photo: FK McLoone

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