I found this year’s Nuit Blanche a little underwhelming, but that could be due to my plan of just winging it. I didn’t have a schedule or “must-see” installations, so I have only myself to blame for not seeking out more venues (or referring to the program that was handed out).
I started in Parkdale and wandered east into the core. Though not really an installation, the TTC brought out a PCC streetcar — vintage modernist design — which took riders on a loop of the west side. If anything it added a tad or surrealness to the evening.
I didn’t find any of the exhibits too compelling (though there was topless modern/Butoh dance at Queen and Cowan, Bridging the Gap by Matthew Romantini) until I got under the bridge at Queen and Dufferin. The program didn’t have a listing for this installation: the steps leading up to the old Parkdale train station — long closed off to public use — were lit up, which also seemed to nicely glamourize the wall’s graffiti. Music by a handful of noise artists added a weird soundtrack to the experience.
From any angle, the installation You Will Change Everything by David Rokeby looked amazing. The changing colours in thew window of the Drake Hotel really made this piece come to life.
Another unofficial installation was the resurrection of the Hug Me Tree at Queen and Peter. The graffiti artist Elicser spent the week paper-maché-ing a replica of the Hug Me Tree that fell over in early-August (check out Spacing’s blog posts here and here). He then spent the night painting it in his signature style. We’ll see how long the tree lasts in this location.
I ended my night at City Hall watching the Blinkenlights installation. It was a truly whimsical use of the building and I loved seeing GAME OVER spelled out periodically. One two occasions we witnessed one of the artists silhouetted in a window, possibly fixing an uncooperative panel sheet (read Shawn Micallef’s post on the prep work by Blinkenlights). And as Dylan Reid mentions in the previous Nuit Blanche post, it was great to personally experience the podium and elevated walk ways that surround Nathan Phillips Square.
photos by Matthew Blackett