THEY’RE often associated with 90s raves but a striking new artwork is using lasers to illuminate the “amazing” writing of Nan Shepherd.

It will be part of this year’s Aberdeen festival of light, Spectra, which will also see the premiere of an artwork about the city’s maritime industries at a time of energy transition.

Called Winds Of Change, this draws on local folklore of a three-knotted rope sold by “witches” to sailors to control the wind. The untying of one knot would release a breeze, the second a strong wind and the third a tempest.

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The large-scale installation is set against a backdrop of Scottish wind farms and the oil rigs at Cromarty Firth, featuring aspects of Aberdeen’s unique maritime and industrial story, from tall ships and granite to oil and the transition towards renewable energy and wind power.

The film blends video footage from the wider North East – from Balmedie Beach to Moy Wind Farm – with animation and stop-motion imagery drawn from artefacts found in the city’s extensive heritage collection, including objects from the Aberdeen Treasure Hub.

Created by leading visual artists Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer, Winds Of Change will premiere in Aberdeen Art Gallery’s Sculpture Court for the duration of the Spectra festival and will then become part of the gallery’s permanent collection.

Lightstream, which highlights the work of Shepherd, has been created by Edinburgh-based Flora Litchfield (below). A qualified sound therapist, Litchfield aims to create mesmeric light installations.

The National: Image: Nico Turner

Her show at the imposing Marischal College in Aberdeen will comprise eight high-powered lasers, as well as a soundscape featuring local storyteller Jackie Ross who will read extracts of Shepherd’s work.

Litchfield said she had been inspired by Shepherd ever since reading her most famous book, The Living Mountain.

“I think she has an amazing take on walking in the Cairngorms and being in nature and her relationship with the landscape is fascinating,” said Litchfield.

“She is really someone that I am inspired by. I have used her previously in my work and as she is from Aberdeenshire, it is nice to be able to use her this time.”

Some of the music of Tam Reid – who was dubbed the King of the Bothy Ballad – is also part of the installation’s soundscape.

“His music is really unusual and very captivating so I have short segments of it coming in and out,” said Litchfield. “As the sound and song comes in, the lights follow and mirror the voice. It’s a slow-moving work and as the light will be above people’s heads, it will be almost like being under a liquid sky at times. It’s very relaxing.”

Between working with lasers, Litchfield holds sound therapy classes in Edinburgh to help people deal with anxiety, stress and depression.

“I’m interested in how art can be something that is a therapy where people come out feeling a bit calmer,” she said.

“The work is quite a therapeutic piece and I am excited to be showing it in Aberdeen.”

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Spectra will return to light up Aberdeen with a striking programme of free artworks and events from February 8-11.

Audiences can look forward to seeing some of the city’s best-known buildings and locations transformed as part of the spectacular festival programme, from a colossal network of light globes inspired by the human brain in Union Terrace Gardens to a flock of luminous butterflies in Aberdeen Art Gallery, dazzling dance-led projection across HMT and an enormous glitterball love heart at Marischal Square.

More information on the full festival programme can be found HERE.