Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nuit Blanche!

For those that don't know, Nuit Blanche was basically an all-night (7pm to sunrise) art show that was held all over downtown Toronto. This meant that I ran around for the 12 hours I could have spent sleeping. Best 12 hours spent not sleeping ever.

7pm: I arrive at Union station. While on the phone, The installation in Union starts. It sounds like the roaring of a train that is only meters from your face, with no train. Fog comes out the walls, and then it sounds like the train leaves. This was Imminent Departure by Heather Nicol.
Dislocated from her home in New York after the events of September 11th, Heather Nicol’s work reflects on the vicissitudes of memory, loss and desire. Union Station is the arena for countless stories of last-minute escapes, missed connections, lovers' reunions, hitting the road, and being run out of town. This space will be transformed to evoke the romance and heartbreak of travel stories brought about by unforeseen crises.
This was definitely my favourite exhibit of the night. The voices with snippets of stories and the goodbyes, and then the train roaring with no train there at all.

Other interesting things we saw were The Blinking Eyes of Everything by Geoffry Farmer, Definitely one of the more popular projects. It was a stroboscopic machine (that cylinder, that spun around a bright light) which was supposed to induce hallucinations when people sat near it with their eyes closed. The most skeptical man we met in the line ended up seeing the most realistic hallucinations of dogs and animals. As for me, it was mostly lines, and coloured spirals, and other geometric shapes. But definitely a very relaxing experience.

The more hyped exhibitions were less spectacular than expected. Monopoly with Real Money by Iain Baxter& (Yes, that & is legally part of his name) was less than exciting. It was basically watching people play Monopoly, but without the fake money. Beautiful Light: Four Letter Word by D. A. Therrian (picture at the top) was interesting for a while, though not exactly exciting. As one man put it while he walked by "This is art?" Though, while we were watching it, I had accidentally stabbed myself in the face with a pen. So now, I have a .7 mm hole in my chin. It looks like a pimple.

Respire by Anna Fritz was also really cool. She captured all the filtered out sounds from Radio and broadcasted it in the room. It was a dark room with radios and LEDs hanging from the ceiling. Most of it was static, but then there would be some breathing, or some scraping noises and sounds like that. It was interesting, and creepy at the same time.
Far beneath the radio transmission hubs atop the CN Tower and other skyscrapers, Respire employs a matrix of radio receivers to add visceral intimacy to the experience of radio. Sounds of breathing and bodily exclamation, typically absent from radio programming, arise through the invisible and normally inaudible contours of the surrounding radio landscape.
Vodka Pool by Dan Mihaltianu had more potential I thought. It was cordoned off, so that people wouldn't get close to it, but people threw pennies and coins, and on one occasion, a paper plane into it. It looked more like a sad fountain than a giant shallow pool of vodka.

Otherwise, the night was still really fun. We spent a lot of time running around, trying to find where we were going. Grabbing food as cheaply as we could. And we ended the night (day?) by taking a short nap at the Public Library before it was time to go catch our trains.


  1. Who did you go with again?

    ooo hallucinations...

  2. Kelvin, Jess and Serge.

    haha, the entire line for the exhibit was basically "oooooo free hallucinations!"