You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Nuit Blanche’ tag.

October 8, 2010

It’s been running for half a decade and getting bigger every year. Once again, Nuit Blanche was an exasperating twelve hour journey into a heart of contemporary art in all its shades. In keeping with the festive banner year for the event, Vesna Jocic and Jennifer Davis hosted Happy Birthday to _______! Those lucky enough to have a birthday on October 2nd or 3rd were treated to a round of birthday cheer and cake. Fifteen minutes later, someone else born on the same day as you took a seat at the birthday table. “You say it’s your birthday, it’s my birthday too, yeah!”–I’ve never heard the Beatles song so freely invoked.

Some other highlights of the night included Zilvinas Kempinas’s Big O. This is a minimalist piece with only two material elements: magnetic tape and electric fans. The fans keep the looped tape in play as a big, amorphous circle. What else? Gerald Ferguson’s One Million Pennies is a real icon of Canadian conceptualism. I enjoyed seeing the massive heap of one cent pieces at U of T—although I wouldn’t count on the fact that there was exactly $10,000 worth of pennies in the pile. Many were making wishes and flipping their own change into the mound.

Happy Birthday to Nuit Blanche

The record-breaking mosaic of Rubik’s Cube was really cool. Over 12,000 cubes were carefully assembled to recreate the Sistine Chapel moment of God and Adam touching index fingers. Atom Egoyan’s piece at the new TIFF Bell Lightbox was perplexing to watch. The famed Canadian filmmaker tipped his hat to Federico Fellini’s Otto e mezzo by featuring eight and a half projections. The baffling thing was that these loops were emanating from one 35mm projector. I don’t know how he did it. Did anyone have the stamina to make it out to the fifth annual all-nighter? What were some favorite pieces from the event? 

October 9, 2009

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe, City

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe, City

Four years ago Nuit Blanche was launched. Very few people had seen anything like it in Toronto. In that inaugural year, the “all-night contemporary art thing” was just that—an indefinable, nocturnal foray into cultural expression. It was experimental, elastic, vivid, and replete with verve. The Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) opened its doors and neighbouring Grange Park was teeming with people. The European Union hosted a rave-like party on the lawn of the Italian consulate. Trinity Bellwoods Park was a “zoo.” The impressions were strong and long-lasting. There was a lot to live up to post-2005.

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe

Last week’s annual all-nighter was a poorer, slimmer version of its past incarnations. It seemed there were fewer bright lights in the autumn night. OCAD was closed. Grange Park was dark and empty. La dolce vita was only a memory for the Italian consulate lawn. For most of the evening, I felt like I was missing something. This was definitely not the case with a hand full of sites, however.

The night was off to a perfect start with a screening of The Trip to the Moon (1902), a very early piece of movie magic at Cinematheque Ontario. The silent film was accompanied by a live piano performance. This was a special journey for everyone in the theatre. Later that night was a visit to the Gladstone Hotel where several artists were invited to paint murals on the hotel room walls. It was getting late and I got a much-needed boost of energy from a sincere, thoughtfully composed and soulful wall work painted by Sara Hartland-Rowe. Her subdued palette complimented the sophisticated composition, overlaid with canvas cut-outs of figures. Thanks for the buzz, Sara! Next it was off to the financial district. It was worth the agoraphobia of wadding through crowds at King and Bay to see Rebecca Belmore’s  “rezzed-up” pickup truck. Unfortunately, my arrival was poorly timed having just missed the performance. There was that feeling again—missing something. On the way back home a song on the radio seemed to epitomize my mixed feelings: “it’s never as good as the first time.”   

Nuit Blanche installation by artist Sara Hartland-Rowe.

Nuit Blanche installation by artist Sara Hartland-Rowe.