A giant robotic musical bird will be visiting a number of sites across Shetland in August this year, culminating in a huge celebration event in Lerwick.

Shetland is one of five areas of the country selected to take part in Roofless, Scotland’s biggest, most ambitious outdoor arts programme, run by Scottish events company UZ Arts and co-produced by Shetland Arts, which launches today. In its first year, Roofless aims to involve tens of thousands of Scots in free public arts events, setting up collaborations between professional artists and local communities to create a series of large-scale, spectacular experiences in places where you might not expect them...

In Shetland, Roofless is working with Shetland Arts on a project called Engine Tuning. Artist Sumit Sarkar in collaboration with Duncan Turner of Carbon Lighting Ltd, will create a giant robotic ‘condor’ constructed from the parts of one LandRover.

The huge interactive musical bird (called Buzzbeak and inspired in part by the film and toy series Transformers!) will travel to three country venues in Shetland during August 2012 where it will receive gifts of music from the communities it visits. The people of Shetland will be encouraged to bring favourite pieces of music on vinyl, CD or mp3, or even to perform live to the condor, and the bird will remix the gift back to the giver. All of the condor’s recordings will be turned into a specially created piece of music by a local musician, which will be performed at the final event in Lerwick, and the sounds of Shetland will then be played to the rest of Scotland as the condor visits Roofless events across the country.

Clair Aldington, Visual Arts Development Officer for Shetland Arts, said: "Shetland Arts is very excited to be involved as a partner and co-producer in Roofless and we’re looking forward to appointing two Shetland based artists and a local technician to work with us in producing a unique and spectacular arts event in the summer of 2012."

Sumit Sarkar said: “The idea for Buzzbeak was inspired by Transformers lore, most notably the characters Soundwave and Buzzsaw, who transformed from a tape player and cassette to a robot and condor, and incidentally my first ever Transformer toys way back in 1984.  For Engine Tuning I have reinvented the Transformers mythology to a positive, musical and cosmic rhetoric, and am very excited about premiering the robot in Shetland. Buzzing!”

The idea behind Roofless is to create unique, large-scale arts events in unusual outdoor venues across Scotland; specifically in rural areas and places where you might not expect to see a piece of theatre, sculpture, art or music. All of these events will be brought about by the community working with Roofless artists in some way, andShetland artists will benefit from the interconnected artist network Roofless will establish across the country. The other participating areas are Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and Falkirk.

Andrew Dixon, Head of Creative Scotland, said: “The Year of Creative Scotland will raise the roof with this visionary programme of outdoor events across Scotland. UZ Events has an international reputation for iconic street arts projects that engage with local participants and reach new audiences.”

Anyone can participate in the Roofless project in Shetland by bringing along their favourite pieces of music to the venues – keep an eye on the local media and Shetland Arts’ website (www.shetlandarts.org) for details of venues during August 2012.