Our Middle of the Night Adventure : Nuit Blanche 2016


So, one of my favourite nights of the year came and went on Saturday — Nuit Blanche, when artworks from around the world are installed all over downtown from sundown until sunup Sunday morning.

Toronto Nuit Blanche is very popular and therefore gets very crowded from about 10pm until about 2am, so to avoid that, for the past few years, we’ve gone to bed and woken to our alarm at 3 in the morning and set out then. Another change we made over recent years is that we’ve begun to take our bikes, and this way can see much more of the art.

I love it for the art, of course, but also for the novelty of being up and about in the darkened city at that time of the night.

With about 100 installation located all over the place downtown, it’s impossible to see everything, so you either plan your route, or look at the pieces that you happen upon just travelling around. I tend to be a route planner, and this year chose the area roughly bounded by King West and Queen West, between Spadina and Bay.

Here’s what we saw this year …

Meet Me at the Glass House by Tim White-Sobieski – New York , USA, – located near King Street West and John.

A video installation watched on four screens that surrounded the viewer.




Scenes of Failure by Enrique Marty – Madrid, Spain – located on Adelaide Street West just east of John.

A short animated film was displayed on the side of a building, with over 1000 watercolour paintings that made up the individual cells of the film hung on an adjacent wall.





White Line – located on the patio of The Drake Restaurant at Adelaide West and York Street

A snake-like sculpture made from hundreds of 2-gallon plastic buckets.



The Guardians by Vladimir Antaki – Montreal, Canada – located at Bay and Temperance.

A exhibition of life-size photographs of shopkeepers from around the world, shown amoungst their wares.






Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi – Los Angeles, USA – located in the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall.

This was a video installation that was meant to show up in the fountain, however by the time we got there (around 4:30 am) it was unfortunately no longer working. I was disappointed about that, as it was something I was particularly looking forward to. Thankfully, a good Youtube of it was posted here. It must have been stunning to watch in person.

(This is one of three projects that have extended showings though, so I’m going to try to get over to see it before it wraps on the 10th.)


↑ The piece was supposed to be showing in the fountain to the left ↑


↑ No art in this one … a shot of Old City Hall and the buildings near it. ↑

Death of the Sun by Director X – Toronto, Canada – located at Nathan Phillips Square.

A huge model of the dying sun, lit from within. Spectacular!




Ocean by Philip Beesley – Toronto, Canada – located inside City Hall.

An immersive environment where you walked under suspended lights that were gently swaying. There were many people laying on the ground in this, so you had to be careful not to step on anyone!


↑ Apologies for the bad photo quality, but it was really dark in there. ↑

The Rainbow Serpent by Zzilla – Byron Bay, Australia – located in the path between Nathan Phillips Square and University Avenue.

While the coloured platform with film shining on the ceiling was interesting to look at, we hadn’t done our homework for this piece. You were supposed to have downloaded an app for your phone that when viewed together with this part, would have revealed a snake writhing up from the centre of the platform.




We considered joining the line up to see the exhibit inside Campbell House located on Queen Street West near University, but in the end, decided to keep moving because it appeared to be moving slowly. The historic house (which I previously posted about here) looked beautiful, lit as it was, though.



↑ Queen Street West was closed to traffic for the night ↑

A Public Memorial by José Lerma – Chicago, USA – located in the store window at John and Richmond.

An opportunity to take neat photos — when taken with a flash, the background revealed details unseen by the naked eye, and the subjects were photographed as silhouettes.


↑ Without flash ↑



As I always say about this event, I wish I’d seen more and I’m sad that Nuit Blanche is over for another year. It was a lot of fun and I’m grateful to live in a city that hosts such an ambitious art experience.

Thanks for checking out my post,
xo loulou

[Follow-up : We did get back to to see Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi – Los Angeles, USA – located in the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall, later in the week. A post about it is here.]