Nuit Blanche

Guy playing with fire
Toronto Public Library

Circus of Dreams exhibit - just vintage posters on display here

Hundreds of people wondered what the presenters were talking about in this boring skit

A flute player & 10 people too tired to walk around anymore
St. Thomas Anglican Church

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
In the background is the original stone facade

Light show on the towering, stark white walls of the new wing

Just missed this music group - they actually sounded pretty good when I wandered in

DJ blasting out club music was the highlight of my evening

Painting, artist unknown - part of the Sobey Art Award Exhibit

Painting, same artist - kinda neat how it's split in two

Installation as part of the Sobey Art Award Exhibit - vast white space occupied by 2 objects, this one...

... & this one

Installation at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) - as one guy quipped behind me: Looks like __'s backyard (guffaws all around)


Installation - steam came out of holes in the bust's head

Installation - mushroom cap part of thing went up & down, up & down

I call this installation Cuddle Puddle - actually, it was just a bunch of kids hanging out on the cushions

Installation above an exhibit's doorway that was too crowded to get in to - word on the street was that I didn't miss much

OCAD mural - part of the building, not the event

Outside OCAD - people milling about a tent covered in sheets of paper - no clue what the deal was here

OCAD installation - this was the only thing worth photographing

Outside OCAD - the faster the person pedalled the bike, the more clearly their image on the wall appeared to be riding a horse

Outside OCAD - the projector for the horse shadow thing

The new AMC centre at Yonge & Dundas Sts.

Eaton Centre on the right, at Yonge & Dundas Sts.

Into the Blue exhibit - walked several blocks in the cold to see a very large blue balloon (oh goody)
Eaton Centre

Into the Blue - it's alive!
Eaton Centre

15 Seconds by Daniel Olson
Dundas Square (cp24.com)

15 Seconds - artist shines a spotlight on random passersby (cp24.com)

Purified by Fire by Mathew Suib - projectors simulate the flames

Overflow by Michael de Broin - don't know how he did this & I wasn't going all the way to Liberty Village Park to see it

Into the Blue by Fujiwara Takahiro - yes, all you could do was stare at it

Waaay back in October, I ventured out into the chilly night air - felt like 4 degrees Celsius - to experience what I thought would be an interesting, stimulating evening of original art events & installations. I was wrong. Nearly 3 hours later, I was tired, achy & bored. My curiosity, this being my first Nuit Blanche, was quickly replaced by disappointment & resolve to not do this again until it undergoes some major changes.

Translated, Nuit Blanche means White Night or All-Nighter. Begun in Paris in 2002, this event has spread to other major cities like Montreal, Madrid & Copenhagen. Maybe New York hasn't followed suit because of the magnitude of the undertaking? It does appear to acquire major funding & effort on the part of organizers to host it. And yet when I attended, my only impression was: what a waste. A waste of money, time & energy. Worst of all, it was a waste of an opportunity to communicate something meaningful to (potentially) thousands of people.

Perusing the pics taken by journalists & event photogs, it appears there were some things worth seeing, but unless these guys communicated with each other throughout the night to keep up with what was going on where & when, I don't know how it was possible to catch it all. I surmise therefore, that they managed to photograph the entire event by employing several photogs set up in different locations around town taking hundreds, if not thousands of pics in order to whittle it all down to a handful of good ones for their official take on the event. Isn't this how photographic journalism works? Strung together, the most attractive pics imply that Nuit Blanche 2008 was a hit. Throw in a few quotes of praise and you've got a resounding success.

But it wasn't a success. The shows & installations were spread out too far apart across the city. The few I saw were mostly uninspiring & forgetable. I absolutely refuse to believe art sucks this hard in Toronto.
What's billed as an all-night event (officially ending around 5 am) was clearly not. The city was deserted long before that & if there was something going on in the wee small hours of the morning, how was anyone to know about it?

To the organizers, I say next year, please confine Nuit Blanche to a 2-block radius - no more following aimlessly crowds to the point of no return. Also, invite only the best & brightest of the local art scene. Consider it this way - it'll be much cheaper & who doesn't love a bargain, right?

The consensus seems to be that if you attended Nuit Blanche this year & had a great time witnessing wonderful art, then you were among the few & very far between. If that was the case, can I tag along with you next year?


Wikipedia's Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche official site

NOW Magazine slide show

Project Blinkenlights

How to Improve Nuit Blanche

Comments on Nuit Blanche 2008

Nuit Blanche 2006 - It Actually Worked!
Most Adorable Thing Ever - The dancing police officers outside OCAD. What was amazing about them was that they weren't showing off, they were just gently tangoing with skill and ease. If this is what all the police officers were like, it is seriously doubtful that crime would even exist.