by Aparajita Bhandari
Before midterm season hit all of us full force, there was a little event in Toronto called Nuit Blanche which took place on October 3. For those who don’t know, Nuit Blanche is an all-night contemporary art event that turns the streets of Toronto into an art gallery. Now before going into detail of the various exhibits of the night I’d like to make a disclaimer of sorts. I’m not really an “art person”, in the traditional sense of the phrase. I love many different art forms, from musicals and ballet to sculpture and architecture, but I don’t always understand it. However, this year I heard many of my more “artistically cultured” friends complain about how Nuit Blanche has turned into a huge mess, with too many crowds, too many inebriated teenagers, and not enough meaningful, thought provoking art to be worth it. But, I think even though many Nuit Blanche-goers might not be staunch art enthusiasts and might just be people looking to have a fun night out, at its core Nuit Blanche remains an important night for artists looking to get exposure.
Now that my little preamble is over let me take you readers on a tour through my Nuit Blanche experience this year. Due to the cold weather, slight drizzle and a late start, I didn’t go to as many installations as planned but I still managed to see more art than last year.
The first exhibit I saw was one I had actually already passed countless times during the past month. The mural along St. George Street done by U of T engineering students actually was an installation for Nuit Blanche 2015.
The ROM had a thought-provoking interactive installation on the meaning of culture and its often fragile nature. Call centre employees were slowly transformed into “Western” versions of themselves, the process photographed and recorded.
While not technically a Nuit Blanche exhibit, seeing the eerily backlit dinosaurs inside the ROM was definitely a highlight of the night.
My favourite installation of the night was a video projected onto the ceiling of a dome on the lawn of the Faculty of Music. The video piece, called Zero Hour, flipped north and south and showed catastrophic weather events, occurring due to climate change. Although the dome was packed, the atmosphere was unexpectedly sombre due to the disheartening tone of the piece.
One of the most anticipated installations was the Inside Out project. The photographs of this installation on top of the iconic Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square looked amazing. For me, the huge crowds around the whole of the square and the drizzle that began the moment I arrived made this installation a letdown.
Light installations are a classic part of every Nuit Blanche experience, so I think it’s fitting to end my post with these two light installations both at the University of Toronto campus. The first one was in front of the University College building:
Projected onto the OISE building on Bloor, the second installation was an exploration of creation and decay, cycling through images of buildings being created and destroyed:
You can see all my Nuit Blanche photos on Flickr.
My Nuit Blanche this year was overall a successful one, despite the cold. How was your Nuit Blanche 2015?