October 3, 2015 / sunset to sunrise
Various locations in Toronto
PHIL ANDERSON, publisher:
Toronto’s tenth annual Nuit Blanche had the weather co-operating and the crowds converging on this annual celebration of contemporary art. I started out from my neighbourhood catching Dyan Marie and the Toronto School of Arts (107 Bloordale Index) display at Dufferin and Bloor. It required some investigation as more intimate packaged displays clung to the surrounding fence of the old school yard. Earlier in the day I had been to Wycwood Barns, Artscape and seen an installation UP in The Sky.
Off then to St. George Station by subway to see displays at the Bata Shoe Museum and OISE. There was a large line up for the Bata so we passed and caught the video displays on the walls of OISE, Time of the Empress which were impressive as computer generated buildings imploded and then rebuilt themselves. Next it was off to the Gardiner Museum and the 50,000 piece lego installation. Again there was a large line up to pass by the lego work and I had wished it was hung high or suspended for better viewing. Checked out the video inside the ROM, The Virtual Immigrant briefly and then off to another video projected work Zero Hour inside a Dome tent near the ROM. This work was engaging and had viewers watching with craned necks.
Then we went to the Great Hall and a video projection of the Raptor Rapture. It was a chance to sit and get a little break. Chowed down on some Chinese food before taking in the City Hall installation. Video projections seemed to loose their impact and the best part was the Toronto signage covered in printed faces, called, Inside Out : Face to Face by JR.
There seemed to be major gaps in the installations and that made it more difficult to take in the Nuit evening. Crowds were out enthusiastically trying to take it all in. I missed the guide – program that had become a staple of Toronto Nuit Blanche. It gave a better description of the different displays and was more fun to go through in advance of Nuit Blanche. I did check out some of the works online and in Now Magazines Nuit Program but it wasn’t the same. I also missed the concentrations of works that had happened in previous years at Liberty Village and University Ave like The Parade. I admit I did not get down to the Lakeshore which I probably would have enjoyed. I just ran out of steam and enthusiasm. Too many gaps for me. I was disappointed in the work at City Hall which seemed to present more spectacle in previous years. The budget was apparently larger this year with more corporate sponsorship but it didn’t seem as evident.
I still will be back next year and perhaps better prepared to take in more displays of contemporary art.
Text and photo: Phil Anderson
JULIE MCNEILL, writer:
I started the long night at OISE where Time of the Empress, a projection of falling pixelated buildings by Azziz + Cucher were a little washed out as they competed with the bright lights of a practice at Varsity Stadium. And that’s how the evening felt to me: a little washed out and monochromatic.
The other major impression of the night was that most people were obsessed with selfies. Art was only a backdrop to that primary interest… which made JR’s projects in Nathan Phillips Square a big hit, with long lines to prove it. Even at 4 am it was busy. That said, some projects had more impact: Nurielle Stern’s The Bone Runners and Silent Knight by Ekow Nimako, both at the Gardiner Museum, were strong. I even got one of The Bone Runners‘ arrow points!
Mimir’s Well (which is an extended project) at the Queen Richmond Centre was among the most engaging, with the viewer’s movements and expressions transformed by technology. But by far my favourite item of the night was Gauge at TIFF where three pieces of footage running on a ten-minute loop captured morning, afternoon, and evening in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. It featured the temporary work of artists who painted on tidal cliffs as they rose out of the sea ice, only to watch their large scale paintings sink out of sight with the rhythm of the tides.
Text: Julie McNeill. Photo: Dylan MacHattie
ELLA GOREVALOV, writer:
The darkened purple skies set an eerie tone to the work of Tim Knowles, who displayed his piece Dispersal Zone on Queens Quay. At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on…It felt as though I had entered an apocalyptic zone on the Quay; the street lights seemed to be smoking. Was this a piece for Nuit Blanche? Looking East, the deserted car-less street was full of gloom as the modified street lamps released a smoky hazy onto the street. In fact, I had to ask a construction worker what was going on. He pointed out that Knowles’ work was part of the exhibition that night, and that “the ghostly scene” was meant to use theatrical staging to replicate a sense of civil unrest. Dispersal Zone had done just that. The location was perfect for this project; the hushed streets, construction zones, and lack of car traffic had set the tone for Knowles’ work to construct a scene of despair and unrest. His work transcended the lamps themselves and captured the whole street in it’s exhibition.
Text: Ella Gorevalov. Photo: Dylan MacHattie
SIMON TERMINE, writer/photographer:
I actually found this year’s Nuit Blanche a let down compared to the one last year. Last year, they closed off all of Spadina for art shows and parties, which led down to Fort York quite easily and that area also had fantastic shows. The shows were clustered closely together so that commute wasn’t a problem. This year, it was disappointing. The line ups were long, the locations were so spread out, and several of the shows seemed to be missing or were difficult to reach. Instead of Spadina, they closed Queen’s Park, but there were barely any shows around it; I think it was only closed off for a marathon the next day.
Text and photo: Simon Termine
EMILY NEWELL, intern:
October 3rd marked another evening of artistry known to Torontonian’s as Nuit Blanche. The windy evening did not seem to deter the on-lookers and partyers from being involved in the evening. The streets filled until the early morning with a multitude of people from art lovers to music enthusiasts. In walking around, at about midnight, I was able to experience a variety of instillations. The map of the event was extensive this year expanding from Bloor Street down to Front Street as far east as Jarvis Street and going west to Dufferin Street with a small cluster north of Bloor at St. Clair. Basically, something everywhere for all to enjoy and get involved in. Included, in all the action were 117 participates. Walking through the streets was exciting as I have only recently moved to Toronto and now have been able to be part of the late night enthusiasm an evening like this has to offer. From what I got to see, there is everything from big to small in the many facets of art involved.
I was able to walk down and discover a street that had its direction changed at Mutual St & Carlton St.
All in all, Nuit Blanche offers a great idea for artists; however, it does also seem like an excuse for some to party all night long due to street closures and public transportation being offered till dawn. It was a big crowd walking down Queen St. Nuit Blanche had a vast variety of places to go even where you could avoid crowds and stick to the smaller, off the beaten trail exhibits – if it is an art experience is what you are after.
Text and photo: Emily Newell