The all-night art festival called Nuit Blanche was this weekend. To quote the booklet it is ‘Toronto’s nocturnal celebrations of contemporary visual art’. There were a total of 130 projects to be seen between 7 Saturday evening and 7 Sunday morning, throughout the downtown core. Some installations are created by local artists and some are things that have traveled around the world.
I’ve read some complaints about it being too crowded, with a problem of drunken mob behaviour, but we’ve never seen that at all. That’s because we go really late, which is actually really early the next day, and by then, the crowds have thinned, leaving enough night-owls out to make it feel fun and like you’re not alone out there, but there’s a lot of space and it’s quite easy to see what you want to see.
Since the festival is in the dark, most of the pieces have something to do with light of some kind.
I love Nuit Blanche and look forward to it every year. The ‘getting up and going out in the middle of the night’ part of this annual event is as fun for me as seeing the art. I love the cool darkness and the nearly traffic free streets, many of which are closed to cars for the night. The experience feels quite surreal.
On Saturday we went to sleep around 10:30 and set the alarm for 3. We had a coffee and got dressed in warm clothes that included hats and gloves, because the temperature had dramatically dropped over the past few days. Then out into the night we went.
This year we rode our bikes, mostly because my foot is still healing, but also because we remembered how tired our legs were from walking last year. And now we know that bikes will be the way to go from now on. We got to see so much more, starting by riding along Queen Street West, where we saw …
↑ Gap Ecology (Still Lives with Cherry Pickers and Palms) by David Brooks – New York City ↑
↑ Left – Amaze by Marcos Zotes from Reykjavik, Iceland (we didn’t go in but it looked really cool, and there was a drone flying around over top). Right – Global Rainbow by Yvette Mattern – New York and Berlin. By the time we got out (and as seen in this photo taken at 3:30 am) this was pointing south from what looked like was about College and Bathurst Streets, but originally it had been pointing towards Chinatown, coming from the top of the CN Tower. So sometime during the night it was moved (?). ↑
Queen West brought us to City Hall Nathan Phillip’s Square …
↑ City Hall – I’m not sure if the way it was lit up was part of the show or a regular thing. ↑
↑ Monument to North American Energy Security ↑
↑ Left – The Signing Shadow Opera. Right – Ground zero for Half Life. ↑
↑ Dress Rehearsal by Tor Lukasik-Foss from Hamilton, Canada. This was a performance piece and the shadows were created by people moving around inside the boxes. ↑
↑ The Garden of Renova by Luigi Ferrara from Toronto (Yes, it’s all toilet paper.) ↑
Then we decided we had enough energy to head down to Fork York.
↑ On the way we checked out Shy Lights by Nathan Whitford of Toronto. This was an interactive piece where the light beams moved to avoid illuminating the people walking among them. The right-hand shot of the CN Tower in the dark was not part of the show, but I think it was dark for the show because it’s usually lit up quite brightly at night. ↑
↑ Then we stopped by a gallery that was participating, called ‘White Out’ ↑
Fort York is where the city of Toronto all began, so it was neat to see modern art among the old buildings.
↑ Between Doors created by Labspace Studio Toronto. This was an interactive piece that I wish I’d tried, but I couldn’t walk it. ↑
↑ Nick especially liked this video called Conga Irreversible, created in Havana, Cuba. We’ve been there and recognized the streets. ↑
↑ This very last piece we saw ended up being my favourite of the night. It was a light installation called Melting Point, created by 3 Toronto artists. The ever-changing lights looked like a river of light flowing down the hill, all coordinated to a musical soundtrack. It looked great, and I didn’t even get the whole thing, because in the dark and from my vantage point at the bottom of the hill, I couldn’t see that the lights were ‘flowing’ from two real cannons that are part of the fort. The display will continue until the 13th, so I might go back down to check it out again and get the full effect. ↑
There was so much more to see, but we found ourselves peddling home instead. We got in at 5:30 and Nick heated up some homemade veggie and potato soup (that he had made earlier with a jar of these Roasted Vegetable Puree) and made some toast. Then we hit the sack for the second half of our good night’s rest.
Thanks a lot for checking out my post, and happy Monday to you.