American artist to anchor bus tour of alternative Aberdeen at city arts festival
Stand-up conceptual artist Doug Fishbone is coming to the Granite City to front an alternative guided tour during the Look Again visual art and design festival taking place later this month.
Fresh from success at the Venice Biennale, the American artist who performs regularly at international and UK venues, will offer an unconventional viewpoint of the city and its heritage in his twice daily performance – Doug Fishbone’s Boomin’ Bus Tour – at the five-day festival.
Now in its second year, Look Again is spearheaded by Robert Gordon University (RGU) and Aberdeen-based art agency SMART. Running from Thursday 28 April to Monday 2 May, it is part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 – an initiative delivered by VisitScotland – and includes a programme of exhibitions and events that rivals the most established UK arts festivals. Look Again aims to encourage locals to become tourists in their own city and showcases the very best artists and designers locally, nationally and internationally.
London-based Doug – whose film and performance work is heavily influenced by the rhythms of stand-up comedy – is expected to talk about a number of historical city sites and iconic buildings during his performance. Departing daily from Belmont Street, he promises to take Look Again passengers on an un-orthodox journey of some of Aberdeen’s architectural treasures including the city’s Golden Square.
Look Again commissioned Doug to create the new project for the festival in response to Aberdeen’s rich history and the extensive collection in the Aberdeen City Archives. Sally Reaper, Look Again Visual Art & Design festival director, said: “We’re very excited to announce Doug Fishbone’s unique bus tour as a keystone performance at this year’s Aberdeen Look Again festival. Having held solo exhibitions at numerous galleries, including Tate Britain and Rokeby in London, we expect Doug’s alternative interpretation of the city’s built heritage to be a big hit with our adult festival audience.”
With a colourful career in arts and culture spanning more than two decades, Doug is known to examine some of the more problematic aspects of contemporary life in an amusing and disarming way. In September 2013, the artist was commissioned to create a series of riverboat performances on the Thames as part of the Mayor of London’s “Thames Festival”.
More recently, he was commissioned by the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London to create “Made in China”, a radical intervention into the Gallery’s permanent collection using an inexpensive Chinese replica.
And his project “Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf”, an artist-designed crazy golf course where nine artists designed a hole, was commissioned for the Venice Biennale in 2015 by the consortium EM15.
Sally continues, “Our diverse line-up of exhibitions and events confirmed for 2016 show the depth of talent we have right here in the north east of Scotland, as well as the growing appeal of the Look Again festival to internationally renowned artists.”
“There’s a real buzz about the city in the lead up to Look Again with the complex build of our giant mirrored pavilion underway. Designed by a group of talented RGU students, the pavilion will be an inspiring centrepiece for the festival at the city’s Castlegate.”
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, said: “Doug Fishbone is a fantastic addition to the Look Again programme and his unique take on Aberdeen will no doubt prove popular with festival goers. RGU is very excited to be working in partnership with SMART to deliver such an exciting and innovative visual arts programme for the city.”
Other highlights of the Look Again visual art and design festival include:
• Turner Prize award winners, Assemble, will launch the UK tour of their Brutalist Playground installation at Peacock Visual Arts. Produced in collaboration with visual artist Simon Terrill and commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects, it is the first time the interactive playground has been showcased outside London
• The Unreal Estate – a conceptual artist run estate agent – will showcase ten creative practitioners who have each created a piece of work in response to buildings and areas of significance on Union Street, which have been selected by ACC City Archive
• A pop up art trail run by Aberdeen Art Gallery will highlight a selection of their best loved pieces hidden in unusual locations across the city
• An exhibition from Gray’s School of Art lecturer and award-winning artist Andy Cranston – Cranston is a storyteller of sorts, and collects stories through word of mouth. This exhibition will present a body of work that tells some stories and mythologies of Gray’s – the exhibition will be held at RGU’s Garthdee Campus
• A showcase of models, created by RGU architecture students past and present, will give an insight into how students visualise the future of Aberdeen and the surrounding areas – topics include The City Bypass and The City Centre Master Plan – this showcase can be seen at RGU’s Garthdee Campus
• An outreach and education project delivered in partnership with ACC Creative Learning team will ask school pupils to look at Union Street through view finders and create an imaginary new street which will be exhibited at the Unreal Estate Pop-Up Shop. Members of the public will also be encouraged to collect viewfinders from the mirrored pavilion and explore the city in a new way during the Look Again festival
• A bespoke design shop Look Inside will offer unique handcrafted jewellery, ceramics, textiles, illustration and design from a collection of 4 local makers – as well as the opportunity to see pieces being created on site at meet the maker sessions they will also be showcasing an exclusive collection inspired by Aberdeen.
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