First look: Spectacular 'Festival of Light' transforms Aberdeen city centre

Interactive light sculptures, architectural projections'and films are deployed to 'create new ways of exploring the city.'
Interactive light sculptures, architectural projections'and films are deployed to 'create new ways of exploring the city.'
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Scotland’s “Festival of Light” has burst into life across Aberdeen city centre with a programme inspired inspired by the country's coastal area and waters.


The free SPECTRA event is transforming historic sites and well-known landmarks across the city every night from 6.30-10pm until Sunday.

3D laser scanning technology has been used to create at a ghost ship installation inspired by the Norse myth of a shape-shifting vessel.

3D laser scanning technology has been used to create at a ghost ship installation inspired by the Norse myth of a shape-shifting vessel.

Light sculptures, architectural projections and film screenings are illuminating Marischal College Quad, Broad Street, Upper Kirkgate, Schoolhill, St Nicholas Kirkyard, The Kirk of St Nicholas, John Lewis, Look Again Project Space, Marischal Square and Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Launched five years ago, the free event attracted 91,000 people when it was last staged in 2018, is said to "fuse sound, light, space and style" to cast the city centre in a new light.

Highlights of the festival, part of a year-long nationwide Year of Coasts and Waters, include a menagerie of sea creatures, a ghost ship, a kinetic sound and light sculpture inspired by the increasing pollution of the seas by plastic debris, and an industrial recreation of the Aberdeen coastal climate descending on the city as neon rain.

Andy Brydon, director of festival producers Curated Place, said: SPECTRA will take place across more city centre sites than ever before this year.

This year's SPECTRA programme is inspired by Scotland's coastal waters and shores.

This year's SPECTRA programme is inspired by Scotland's coastal waters and shores.

"With a new production team based in Aberdeen already developing a five-year plan for the its development, Scotland’s Festival of Light is looking at further increasing its reach throughout the city."

Marie Boulton, the city council's culture leader, said: "We are proud to invest in and deliver a year round events calendar, bringing high quality activities and culture to our public spaces.

"I can’t think of a better way to kick off our 2020 programme than with Scotland’s festival of light SPECTRA returning to the city.

"Aberdeen is a city inextricably linked to the sea through our heritage, industry and culture, so it’s exciting that this year’s theme celebrates Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters."

The SPECTRA festival is running at seven different locations across Aberdeen city centre between 6.30pm and 10pm every night until Sunday.

The SPECTRA festival is running at seven different locations across Aberdeen city centre between 6.30pm and 10pm every night until Sunday.

SPECTRA, Scotland's 'Festival of Light,' kicks off a year-round programme of festivals in Aberdeen.

SPECTRA, Scotland's 'Festival of Light,' kicks off a year-round programme of festivals in Aberdeen.