TORONTO'S SWEET 16: WHAT TO SEE AT NUIT BLANCHE THIS YEAR
It's impossible, of course. Impossible for one person to take in the 110-plus projects that make up Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2015, the 10th iteration of Toronto's fabled all-night freebie "contemporary art thing." Sure, you have a little over 12 hours to trip the dark fantastic, from 6:55 p.m. Saturday to 7:18 a.m. Sunday. Sure, Lines 1 and 2 of the subway are operating all through the night. Sure, organizers are extending the runs of 14 projects through Oct. 12. And, yes, some interactions, installations and exhibitions are helpfully positioned in clusters in and around downtown.
But, finally, no matter how fleet the transit (or your feet), how co-operative the weather and effective the particular elixirs at your disposal (as of this writing, five watering holes have had their last calls extended to 4 a.m. Sunday), Nuit Blanche's too-much-of-a-muchness – the crowds! the stuff! the artists! – will defeat you. Which, of course, is entirely the point and all of the fun.
The happening's very ephemerality – here tonight, gone tomorrow – makes it next-to-impossible to determine what project will deliver the biggest punch, the most nuanced moment, the greatest puzzlement or the most charm. Still, let's make the effort, shall we? Herewith a largely random selection of art that has the potential to brighten the night of Nuit Blanche 2015. (Details as ever at scotiabanknuitblanche.ca)
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
- If you like outdoor installations
- If you like performance
- If you like sound and/or video
- If you like to light up your life
- If you like weird stuff
Inside Out, by JR
- The New York-based artist has been given several sites to program/curate under the rubric Black and White Night. One is Nathan Phillips Square, always a popular Nuit destination, where visitors are invited into a photo-booth to take their portraits, then paste the results at locations on the square. ( Queen Street West at Bay )
The Work of Wind, curated by Christine Shaw
- For the first time in Nuit history, the lakefront expanse between Parliament Street and Harbourfront Centre is being taken over by a 13-part thematic exhibition/installation, inspired by the wind scale devised in 1807 by Sir Francis Beaufort. A mix of mostly outdoor multidisciplinary works at the Soya Mills Silos, The Power Plant, the Westin Harbour Castle etc.
COURTESY OF JANICK LAURENT
Silent Knight by Ekow Nimako
- Ever wondered what 50,000 Lego pieces assembled in the shape of an Ontario barn owl might look like? The answer can be found outside the Gardiner Music of Ceramic Art. ( 111 Queen’s Park, directly east of the Royal Ontario Museum.)
noissecorp, by Amalia Pica
- What’s a Nuit without audience participation? Here, as part of the multi-part conceptual project HTUOS/HTRON curated by Argentina’s Agustin Perez Rubio, Ms. Pica invites visitors to create a “geographical inversion”/”social sculpture” by walking or marching backward counter-clockwise around Queen’s Park Circle between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m.
an occasion hosted by isabel lewis
- Dominican-born, Berlin-based Ms. Lewis hosts what she calls “occasions” – mixtures of dance, music, talk and refreshments, plants, performances and scents, “a space of relaxation where the entire human sensorium can be engaged.” Part of the 10 for 10th project, curated by Che Kotari, to mark Nuit’s first decade. (Walker Court, Art Gallery of Ontario. )
FluxDelux, developed by Peggy Baker with Jacob Niedzwiecki and others
- The all-abilities audience are the performers here in this marriage of contemporary dance with new media technology, conceived by the famous Canadian dancer/choreographer. Participants create and perform an instantaneous, ever-changing mass choreography. (Trinity Community Recreation Centre, 155 Crawford St. )
SOUND AND/OR VIDEO
Music (Everything I know I learned the day my son was born), by Alfredo Jaar
- Working in association with the Toronto Birth Centre, Riverdale Community Midwives and others, the Chilean-born, New York-based Mr. Jaar will play recordings of the first cries, gurgles or coos of babies born in Toronto between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. in the first months of 2015. So if a babe was born at, say, 9:05 p.m., that’s when his or her voice will be heard in Allan Gardens. ( 19 Horticultural Ave. )
Night Flight by Michael Snow and Claudio Caldini
- No stranger to durational cinema, Mr. Snow goes for broke here with a single, uninterrupted, 12-hour video of the face of Mr. Caldini, one of the giants of South American avant-garde filmmaking, enroute by jet to Toronto from Buenos Aires. Part of the HTUOS/HTRON project. (MaRS Discovery District, 101 College St. )
Walking Together, produced by Serene Porter and Lorrie Gallant
- Definitely off the beaten Nuit path, this artist-led project features images shot during a tour of the former Mohawk Institute residential school in Brantford by school survivors and projected here on the windows of the historic 19th-century home of Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie. ( 82 Bond St. )
TO LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE
Light Upon Light! by Abdullah M.I. Syed
- The noted Pakistani-Australian artist suspends a large, glowing moon, its surface covered with Muslim prayer caps, above a stage with a floor containing a pool of ocean-blue glass. (TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 5, 350 King St. W. )
Light Cave, by FriendsWithYou, and Domestic Motion, by Olafur Eliasson
- An abstract semi-translucent cathedral-like space flooded with colour, installed by a two-member Los Angeles-based art collective on the Drake One Fifty’s groovy patio. ( 150 York St. ) Later, you can walk south on York to Union Station to catch Domestic motion, a prismatic light installation by famous Dutch artist Olafur Eliasson. ( 65 Front St. W. )
I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day, by Catherine Chan
- Described as a “literal and figurative representation of sunshine,” this outdoor text-art installation by Vancouver’s Catherine Chan takes its title, of course, from a line in the Temptation’s uplifting 1964 hit, My Girl. Part of the 10 for 10th project, produced in association with University of Toronto Art Centre/Justina Barnicke Gallery. ( 15 King’s College Circle, U of T)
COURTESY OF JENNY WYSOCKI
Lava Field No. 2, by Robert Wysocki
- Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Nuit Blanche finally gets its first mobile volcano, the lava spewing forth from a “customized coke-fired cupola capable of generating temperatures upwards of 1,800 C.” See it happen in the parking lot of George Brown College’s lake-shore campus, near Sugar Beach. Part of the The Work of Wind project. ( 51 Dockside Dr. )
COURTESY OF BRANDY LEARY
Glaciology, by Anandam Dancetheatre
- Members of the Toronto dance troupe will form a human glacier that will slide and shift, writhe and slip ever so slowly westward from Queen’s Quay to Lower Simcoe Street. The journey, another Work of Wind project, will take 12 hours. Is this what is meant by slow art?
Cambio de Sentida (Change of Direction), by Tercerunquinto
- Torontonians know the stretch of Mutual Street between Carlton and Maitland streets as a one-way route going south. But for Nuit Blanche, the three-member Mexican art collective is reversing that flow, sending traffic north as part of the HTUOS/HTRON inversion project.