SPECTRA: Winter nights transformed in Aberdeen with Scotland's festival of light

The winter nights in Aberdeen will be set alight with the return of SPECTRA festival.

SPECTRA, Scotland’s festival of light, is illuminating city landmarks and spaces from Thursday until Sunday.

A number of leading light artists from both the UK and across the world have returned to the city for the festival, now a key date in Aberdeen’s growing cultural calendar.

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Installations will be found at Marischal College, Union Street, Castlegate, Broad Street, Schoolhill, Marischal Square, Aberdeen Music Hal, and, for the very first time, inside Aberdeen Art Gallery.

‘Gaia’ by Luke Jerram will be one of the highlights of SPECTRA, Scotland's festival of light, which opens on Thursday in Aberdeen. It is pictured here at an earlier showing at Liverpool Cathedral and will take over the new look Aberdeen Art Gallery when it goes on show in the North East. PIC: Gareth Jones

In the gallery’s sculpture hall, a seven-metre wide moon, which features detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, will float in three dimensions.

Artist Luke Jerram said his piece, called Gaia, sought to replicate the “overview effect” experienced by astronauts, who often report a feeling of awe for the planet and a deep understanding of the interconnection of all life while viewing Earth from space.

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Jerram will also take over the Music Hall with a second piece, Museum of the Moon, where lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones will meet.

Another highlight of SPECTRA 2022 is set to be a large-scale piece TOGETHER.

Artists Chris Carr and Helen Swan have set up a pavillion-style space in Castlegate, where people come together to share an immersive experience of sound and light. The artists have worked with Aberdeen people to collect memories and stories, which will be shared on an impressive scale in the heart of the city centre.

The festival will also host Writ Larg, which has been commissioned for Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. It combines light installations and words to bring Scottish prose and poetry to life, while exploring the “colourful and couthie” words of contemporary Scottish, poets, writers and musician on key buildings across the city centre.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, described this year’s SPECTRA programme as “truly world class” and said there was “true excitement” about welcoming people back to the city centre after a “very difficult couple of years” due to the pandemic.

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