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Nuit Blanche...BEAUTIFUL LIGHT: FOUR LETTER WORD MACHINE - City Hall project by D.A. Therrien
Nuit Blanche...BEAUTIFUL LIGHT: FOUR LETTER WORD MACHINE - City Hall project by D.A. Therrien

Public art

New installations to highlight Nuit Blanche Add to ...

You're invited to Toronto's downtown bus terminal to watch a late-night series of blindfolded, Mexican-style wrestling matches, played out by a dozen athletes over a dozen hours in a 5- x 5-metre cage. Or just check out the vodka reflecting pool.

Yes, the weird and wild Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is returning Oct. 3. And organizational tweaks include road closures and extended TTC service to make the fourth annual "all-night contemporary-art thing" (which drew an estimated one million people last year) easier to navigate.

Mayor David Miller was at the Art Gallery of Ontario Tuesday to announce the format for this year's three zones, and to introduce some of the 550 artists and curators. He also revealed that city hall will again play host to a marquee installation.

Responding to the popularity of an exhibit last year by German collective Project Blinkenlights, which lit up city hall with giant patterns and messages, the city has commissioned Arizona-based artist D. A. Therrien to mount Beautiful Light: Four Letter Word Machine . Therrien will hang four giant light sculptures 65-metres above the council chambers, between the two towers. The sculptures can display nearly five billion different graphic combinations.

"I think Nuit Blanche demonstrates that ... Toronto is a modern, vibrant, diverse city that can embrace somewhat unusual ideas, and loves modern art," Miller said.

The Ontario government chipped in $300,000 to pay for Beautiful Light , bringing this year's total budget for 46 projects to $1.9-million. There are also 86 independent projects.

Zone A is split between two curators. Gregory Elgstrand will fill the area around city hall with "a circus of ideas," including Geoffrey Farmer's The Blinking Eyes of Everything , a series of stroboscopic dream machines that work their magic on the occupants of a church, backed by a soundtrack played on a church organ.

Thom Sokoloski will handle the other half of Zone A, near Yonge-Dundas Square. In addition to presenting Battle Royal , the Mexican wrestling piece by New York's Shaun El C. Leonardo, Sokoloski has enlisted German-based Canadian Gordon Monahan to turn Massey Hall into a giant instrument by stringing extra-long piano strings inside the hall.

Curators Jennifer Fisher and Jim Drobnick will steer Zone B, the financial district, with a theme of financial instability. Potential highlights include Monopoly with Real Money , an actual Monopoly game played by financiers and developers for real cash; and Wild Ride , where carnival rides would be installed on Bay Street and operated by recently "downsized" business people.

The Liberty Village-based Zone C will be shepherded by Japanese-Canadian Makiko Hara, with catastrophe and the survival instinct as its theme. Exhibits include The Apology Project by Toronto's Maria Legault, in which 55 people wearing large brown paper bags over their heads and bodies will "congest" a public walkway, apologizing constantly as they jostle passersby.

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