Get ready for the light fantastic to return

SPECTRA, Scotland’s festival of light, returns to Aberdeen with a star-studded line-up in Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.

Featuring a brand-new commission, multidisciplinary collaborations, and multiple premieres, this year’s SPECTRA will not only light up the dark winter nights, it will bring Scotland and it’s stories to life.

Taking place from February 10-13 across Aberdeen city centre, this year’s programme of award-winning installations from UK based and international artists will appear at Marischal College, Union Street, Broad Street, Upperkirkgate, Schoolhill, Marischal Square, Aberdeen Music Hall, and for the very first time, inside Aberdeen Art Gallery.

A key highlight is the world premiere of Writ Large which was commissioned as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories. Created in conjunction with prize-winning literary collective and arts production house Neu Reekie, Writ Large combines creative light installations with words to bring Scottish prose and poetry to life.

Comprising a series of five new commissions which explode the colourful and couthie words of contemporary Scottish poets, writers, musicians and artists onto buildings across the city centre including Aberdeen Art Gallery, Marischal College, Castlegate, Upper Kirkgate and Schoolhill, Writ Large is supported by Event Scotland.

In addition to the world premiere of Writ Large, TOGETHER makes its Scottish debut at SPECTRA in 2022. This spectacular public-art installation offers audiences a unique and immersive experience generated by the written and spoken stories of local communities, artists and collaborators, and it will take over Castlegate in Aberdeen city centre.

From design and fabrication studio Lucid Creates, TOGETHER was created as a reaction to the isolation of lockdown, and this huge pavilion-like open space is designed as a place in which communities can come together to celebrate their unity and uniqueness, and this is the first time ever that it has come north of the border.

And in another first, Aberdeen will welcome Gaia and Museum of the Moon by artist Luke Jerram, as these awe-inspiring pieces take over two icon Aberdeen locations, accompanied by a specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer Dan Jones.

Located in the Sculpture Court of Aberdeen Art Gallery, Gaia provides the opportunity to see our planet, floating in three dimensions, and this 7-metre diameter installation creates a sense of awe and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment. Where Gaia gives viewers a perspective on earth, suspended in Aberdeen Music Hall, Museum of the Moon gives us a similarly breath-taking depiction of the Moon.

Inspired by the fact that different cultures around the world have their own historical, cultural, scientific and religious relationships to the Moon, and yet despite these differences, the Moon connects them all, Museum of the Moon is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound.

Located on Broad Street, the incredible Pendulum Wave Machine sees shimmering silver balls hanging in the air like floating mercury, dancing their way through patterns of order and patterns of chaos and alongside it, Hypercube resembles an infinity mirror in 3 dimensions. Featuring over 2,500 high density, high intensity LEDs between 6 perfectly engineered faces of a giant cube, it is believed to be the biggest hypercube in the world. Both installations are the work of Travelling Light Circus.

Trumpet Flowers by amigo and amigo is also located on Broad Street and is one of this year’s only interactive installations and it is the first time it has ever been seen in Scotland. These super-sized structures immerse audiences in a jungle of light, colour and sound and individuals can make their own spectacular floral symphony of sound and light or catch one of the scheduled animated musicals scores throughout the evening.

And, last but by no means least, at Marischal College another world premiere will unfold as Six Frames from Illuminos takes centre stage. A playful interpretation of six stanzas from Sheena Blackhall’s poem On the Bus: nummer 1 route Six Frames uses six repeating sections of the Marischal College façade alongside principles found in flick books and early animation, to take us on a journey through Aberdeen from the bus route of the poem.

Andy Brydon, director at Curated Place, said: ‘We are over the moon (pun intended) to be welcoming so many amazing artists, collectives and creators to Aberdeen as part of SPECTRA, Scotland’s festival of light, this year. Thanks to the recent lifting of Covid-19 restrictions we can continue to deliver, alongside and on behalf of Aberdeen City Council, a safe, fun and illuminating festival suitable for all the family.’

Comissioned by Aberdeen City Council and delivered by the award-winning Curated Place, Spectra is just one of a year-round programme of cultural events that takes place in Scotland’s North East, and this year it is accompanied once again by the Catalyst Conference, which this year takes place entirely online and explores the concept #CultureisNotaLuxury. More information and sign up HERE.

As ever, Spectra is a beautiful, everyone-friendly event bringing stunning, accessible and high-quality works of art by Scottish and international artists to buildings and public spaces in the centre of Aberdeen and bathing them in light and joy. As we continue to manage the ongoing pandemic and ensure a safe environment for visitors and artists, this edition of Spectra may feel different to previous years while still delivering a spectacular experience.

The Spectra website will share more information on the installations and how to enjoy them, whether travelling into the city centre with family or travelling from Dundee, Perth or Edinburgh with friends