So according to Toronto Special Events almost a million folks apparently took in Nuit Blanche last night.
At first to me that seemed a little hard to believe as crowds seemed quite sparse in Zone B… though I guess Yonge-Dundas Square made up for it.
I myself did a rather quick tour of some of what promised to be the big sights of Nuit Blanche—knowing full well, of course, that many of the best Nuit Blanche experiences happen when you have time to take in stuff on the fly. In any case, here’s my starter yeahs & nahs. I look forward to hearing what other people thought and experienced.
Yeah: Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace installation, especially the wish trees. As artist Sholem Kristalka pointed out in his preview in Xtra this week, the concept here could be called a bit glib and ineffectual. But in person, it was really delightful. I think people were really inspired by the image—trees bearing wishes—as well as the wishes some people wrote. (The best one I saw was “Beatles Reunion”.)
Nah: Michel de Broin’s Waterfall. I love a lot of what pedal-car maker Michel de Broin does, but this came off as a little less spectacular than I had hoped. Maybe that was the point, and all, but adding water to a building like this made me think “garden accessory.”
Yeah: Attendees really engaging and looking for meaning in the art. Being someone who works in the industry as an art writer, I tend to get cynical or glib in my own interpretations of work from time to time. But I was really impressed to overhear conversations of people really trying to explore the artwork with their friends. For example at Barr Gilmore’s shrunken Honest Ed’s sign in Court House Square, the young folks were talking psychogeography “You think, shouldn’t I be at Bathurst and Bloor?” to more morbid realms: “Ed Mirvish is dead… is honesty too?” Not everyone agrees with these approaches to art, but it was so great to hear people dig into things that way—er, that way being with enthusiasm and lack of guile.
Nah: The lack of signage from the Exhibition Place streetcar stop to the Zone C info booth. We got off the streetcar with a horde of folks eager to do “Zone C, yo”. But as soon as they emerged from the streetcar doors they promptly walked south into the exhibition grounds rather than continuing west to the railroad underpass and up into Liberty Village. I’m sure they figured it out eventually, but some signage might have helped.
Yeah: 15 Seconds of Fame at Yonge-Dundas Square by Daniel Olson. Definitely got the crowd looking at each other, even if it produced many cheesy responses in the spotlight.
Nah: Seeing a homeless man stuck trying to get some sleep as crowds trooped by his alleyway alcove-cum-installation-art zone near Victoria and Shuter. Again, love Quebec trio BGL’s work in drop-ceiling installations; didn’t love the disregard the event showed here to the homeless.
Yeah: Guns n’ Roses soundtrack tunes for Jon Sasaki’s I Promise It Will Always Be This Way at Lamport Stadium
Nah: The Earth and Sky banner hung indoors near York and Station streets–I got the idea from its past installation shots that it was to be strung between buildings, and higher up. Bummer, especially because the related show at Feheley Fine Arts in Yorkville is interesting.
Yeah: Rita McKeough’s mini-oil pumps near Esplanade and Yonge; reminded me so much of Alberta, of the landscape that makes cities across the country hum. Overlapping these landscapes really worked for me in an interesting way.
Nah: The amount of walking in uninteresting areas you had to do to get between venues at times. It seems that because of that my experience lacked the intensity of my initial Nuit Blanche (though, I must admit, it lacked a bit of the claustrophobic crowding as well.)
Photo by ltdan