Musical see-saws take centre stage at SPECTRA

Children, young and old, are being invited to “Play the Night” at this year’s SPECTRA as Union Terrace Gardens is transformed into an illuminated playground.

Lightbattle bicycles, extra-terrestrial type installations, nonsensical storytelling, lightning bolts and a giant interactive globe are just some of the attractions for visitors to SPECTRA when it opens in Aberdeen next month (February) and now musical light see-saws have been added to the programme.

Wave Field by Canadian art collective, Lateral Office is an interactive experience that encourages visitors to play on giant see-saws that respond and transform when in motion. The see-saws form units of light and sound that can be activated and played by the public to create an ever-changing installation.

When activated by users and inclined, the see-saws, wired to LED lights and a speaker, will augment in light intensification and emit a sound sequence making them an ever-changing urban instrument. When not in use, the see-saws stabilise to the horizontal and remain at a lower glowing level.

Aberdeen City Council Culture Spokesperson Marie Boulton said: “Wave Field by Lateral Office is an exciting addition to the SPECTRA line-up. Visitors will love becoming part of the installation and seeing how it reacts to their movement.

“Lateral Office are an incredible addition to the already stellar programme for SPECTRA. Each year SPECTRA continues to push the boundaries and bring the most exciting artists from across the globe to Aberdeen, and place us on the cultural map as a city that is committed to not only showing world-renowned artists but also fostering new talent”.

The installation is the creation of Lateral Office; founded in 2003 by Mason White and Lola Sheppard, they are an experimental design practice that operate at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism.

The award-winning team at Lateral Office have exhibited the work in numerous venues across the United States and Canada, as well as Germany, Iceland, England, and the Faroe Islands. They have lectured extensively across the USA and Canada, as well as Norway, Germany, England, Belgium, and Colombia. And have been invited as external guest critics at several institutions including: Harvard GSD, Yale University, Columbia University, UCLA, UBC, McGill University, among many others.

And now they are setting their sights on Aberdeen.

Union Terrace Gardens will host 15 installations including the eagerly anticipated “Wave Field” from Lateral Office and “Lightbattle” from Venividmultiplex, who exhibited this piece at the Amsterdam Light Festival in 2013. Parabolas2, our schools outreach programme, will also feature in Union Terrace Gardens alongside commissions from local artists.

His Majesty’s Theatre will also be made over into a giant projection telling the story of Orpheus and Euridyce while Mitchell Hall will become a large-scale laser installation, conducting lightning bolts over and over again.

SPECTRA, Aberdeen’s Festival of Light, runs from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 February across the city centre.