Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
October 5, 2013 from sunset to sunrise
As usual, Nuit Blanche provided for chaotic foot traffic, and beautiful, even occasionally thought-provoking, works of art. As the event it naturally transforms Toronto into an open-air gallery. It gives a chance to the public to see artworks and objects that are usually found in galleries or exhibition halls. There were artists here with their projects from all over the world giving a change to the public to see them.
Some of these objects included chairs, bikes, living rooms. However, this is not to imply that they were presented passively. These mundane and sometimes overlooked objects presented their audience with an opportunity to actively approach the artists’ ideas. Moreover, the event provided a (free!) sensory feast which made for a playful and lighthearted evening for adults and children alike. As a result, the Torontonian community was out to enthusiastically explore, instagram, and tweet the night away.
Text and photo: Leanne Simaan
Downtown in the wee hours
Aptly titled “Music Box” this kinetic installation upon first viewing is just that. A large wooden crate, standing tall on an empty parade float, containing an indecipherable muffled noise from within. Before long its doors burst open and a small stage attached to a pulley system is slowly brought out before us. One-upping the “one man band”, the stage plays host to a range of instruments operated by no one. The instruments are moved randomly by an intricate maze of gears and springs, and amplified through a sound system. Just as I thought Sonic Youth would show up claiming copyright, the stage was drawn back into the box, possibly in eager wait of an encore chant (something I half expected as onlookers were unanimously pleased.) I found this piece to be very engaging, inexplicably eerie, and one of the highlights of the evening. Through the rationality of mechanical operation, the artist has rejected musical logic in favour of an outburst of feeling.
At 3.30 a.m., the Bata Shoe Museum on Bloor street provided excellent shelter from the rain, along with hosting some of the most interactive and enjoyable installations of the evening. Bleary eyed and lead footed, I dragged myself into a dark room that was entirely made up of mirrors and dotted with small spherical lights hanging from the ceiling. Already disorientated and exhausted, this was amplified considerably by an infinite projection of white lights and self-reflections. Once inside the dreamlike (or was I just dreaming?) space, there was a sense of peacefulness amongst those enjoying the aesthetically pleasing, almost otherworldly void we found ourselves a part of.
Text and photo: Rhys Male
Nuit Blanche at Wychwood Barns
I liked the Arduino Disco exhibition the best, probably because I love little LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights and seeing how artists use the technology to make something new. The interactive exhibit was titled after the Arduino digital programmable hardware. Motion and light sensors activated words which lit up in the darkened gallery, such as “nuit” and “art” which could then be added to text in progress shown on a laptop projection. White balloons glowed softly in the corner. The project was put together by six OCAD U first year digital Futures graduate students: Klaudia Han, Katie Meyer, Melissa Phachanhla, Anna Sun, Laura Wright and Brandy Yang. I spoke with Katie Meyer who said she is a writer and media student finding new ways to tell a story.
Barn 2 hosted the Pottery and Glass show with many beautiful objects for sale and the giant chess set installation. The 3-4 feet high pieces were created by Blandford Gates from found objects. Some pieces looked truly warlike like such as axes and machine guns made from formerly innocuous items like golf clubs and coin sorters.
Outside in Barn 4 Voices of Fire by artist Michael Jursic entertained with a dynamic horizontal V shape of fire which moved to the sound of the singers voices.
Text and photo: Margaret Irving