Walking Nuit Blanche 2022

After a hiatus of attending events, especially large ones like Nuit Blanche, I made the plunge to go out and see what this year brought on. It was certainly the most ambitious with expansion to North York and Etobicoke. The theme the SPACE BETWEEN US (as a potential site for sharing knowledge and exploring collective experiences through the power of art) could apply to the distance between all these different venues. It is a difficult task to try and see all you could in one night even when it was limited to Toronto.

Nuit Blanche 2022 at Nathan Phillips Square, October 1, 2022

Some of the projects have an extended life so you can see them after October 2 and there is also other programming and virtual projects. I decided to limit myself to the downtown Toronto art projects and started at the Cecil Street Community Centre for Memory In Suspension by Jenna Buchwitz, an installation exploring the layers of Chinese culture. Linda Zhang also had her Video and VR re-imagining Chinatown. This was a very gentile beginning to Nuit Blanche.

Memory In Suspension by Jenna Buchwitz at Cecil Street Community Centre, 58 Cecil St.

It was not till I reached City Hall that I met with the crowds that Nuit Blanche typically generates. It was there I found a Nuit Blanche Map. Though helpful it would be great if it offered a little more description of the projects or a small photo of what it was. I know that was all available online but occasionally I like to break free from my phone. At City Hall was iskocēs: okihcitāw-iskwēw-kamik ohci a iteration of Light of Tipi to honour okâwîmâw and other female giants who lead the way and care for us. It can be seen illuminated at the site and by AR. The artist is Cheryl L’ Hirondelle. Mona Moana, a video installation by Michael Bridgman and Rachael Rakena, a collaboration between Māori and Pacifica artists, is also a treat.

Mona Moana by Michael Bridgman and Rachael Rakena at 25 Queens Quay W

Avataq by Couzyn van Heuvelan featured a huge floating sculpture made of seal skin floating above Yonge St. An Occupation by Amrita Hepi had an inflatable sculpture that expanded during karaoke with back up singers and all the songs were work related (i.e. Rhianna‘s WORK and 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton).

Avataq by Couzyn van Heuvelan

An Occupation by Amrita Hepi, 8 Queen St. W

The Dinner Table: City Wide Collective Celebration by Nike Onile was interactive and crowds dipped their hands into chalk powder.

The Dinner Table: City Wide Collective Celebration by Nike Onile, 100 Yonge St.

There were displays of indigenous fashion as well as RATs, a commissioned sculpture by American artist Salome Asega, an installation that speaks to algorithmic risk assessment as an emerging space of inequity. Lots of Nuit Blanchers were taking selfies with that work. Blankets (Under) Cover by Shelley Niro was impressive as were the many other works along the waterfront.

RATs by Salome Asega, 16 Yonge St.

I only managed to put about three hours into Nuit Blanche this year but it was all fun, an enjoyable walk around, and as a collective experience in sharing knowledge through the power of art: it worked. I encourage others to seek out the ongoing installations and programming.

Text and photo: Phil Anderson

This year’s Nuit Blanche theme focuses on our connections to Urban, Polar and Pacific places and peoples, and how the space between us can be used to share knowledge.

My experience at Nuit Blanche was at the downtown core, starting with Yonge-Dundas Square, which was transformed into a pop-up skate park, in a project entitled Saputiit – Fish Weir Skate Plaza by Mark Igloliorte. This was an inclusive space for local Indigenous and BIPOC people to practice their tricks, mimicking the flow and landscape of bodies of water, paired with virtual reality arctic char.

Saputiit – Fish Weir Skate Plaza by Mark Igloliorte

Cheryl L’HirondelleNuit Blanche project: iskocēs: okihcitāw-iskwēw-kamik ohci (sparks/embers for the leading-woman-lodge) is a special iteration of Light Tipi for Nathan Phillips Square. The tipi is in honour of mother earth, an ode to the female giants and the frontrunners: the women, who lead the way, care for us and for those who keep the home fire burning.

Cheryl L’HirondelleNuit Blanche project: iskocēs: okihcitāw-iskwēw-kamik ohci (sparks/embers for the leading-woman-lodge)

Entropy in Protopia Portals by Will Selviz, Rendrd is built by A, 3D animation and Web 3. This work explores themes of belonging, globalization, and generational folklore. It reflects underrepresented communities and the immigrant experience, with a unique surrealist lens that portrays a state better than today and yesterday.

Entropy in Protopia Portals by Will Selviz, Rendrd at 130 Queens Quay E.

Indigenous Fashion Arts – Ho’reh Tih Yeh Kuh, a fashion show like installation by Sage Paul, was also very entertaining, especially in its unusual surrounding, under the Yonge Street Viaduct at 1 The Esplanade.

Indigenous Fashion Art by Sage Paul

Text and photo: Georgia Gardner

Spirits were high at Nuit Blanche 2022. For the first time since 2019, Toronto was out in full force to view art and celebrate community from sunset to sunrise. It was an energetic crowd of adults, children, and even a great number of dogs.

Yonge and Adelaide was a popular spot. To the south was a large dinner table, set in autumnal decor, at which viewers were invited to throw coloured dust on the white table cloth in a ritual of community. People could be found swirling patterns in the dust or giggling as the wind caught clouds of pink and orange dust.

The Dinner Table: City Wide Collective Celebration by Nike Onile, 100 Yonge St.

North of Adelaide was Avataq – representing a the traditional Inuit float made from the skin of a seal. Here, viewers gazed up at this celebration of Inuit culture and traditions as the wind blew it back and forth along the narrow corridor of tall office buildings that line Yonge.

View with Avataq by Couzyn van Heuvelen, Yonge St. at Temperance St.

401 Richmond was a hub of activity from Built for Art, an exhibition of various artists in the corridors, to a general buzz around the stores, galleries, and coffee shops that had extended their hours into the night.

Vladimir Kanic, The Book of Waves, 2021, Bioplastics and Living Algae at 401 Richmond St W

Installation views of Built for Art at 401 Richmond St W

Near Queen and Bay, large screens became the backdrops against which passersby could gather and pose for pictures.

Installation views of Good Tonight, Good Tomorrow by Chuck Anderson at 50 Queen Street West

Torontonians were out in large numbers, despite the compact and concentrated layout. I look forward to next year’s Nuit Blanche, which I hope will sprawl across more of our city’s streets.

Text and photo: Olivia Mariko Hsuen-Ferris

*Nuit Blanche 2022, October 1, 7pm – October 2, 7am. 2022. A city wide event

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *