Nuit Blanche 2008….Toronto celebrates the Arts/Artists.
Posted on 23:47, October 5th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou
Once again Toronto celebrated Nuit Blanche this past weekend (October 04-05). I did not go to last years event, but had attended the very first one (best one thus far IMHO) in 2006. Although the event this year went without a hitch, there were a lot of intoxicated people on the streets and the whole atmosphere was different than first year. From what I understand, news sources are reporting 1,000,000 people. I don’t know about you, but that was seriously pushing the capacities of some of the events/venues.
I went downtown around 8:00 PM with Camera and tripod in tow and after seeing the see of people at dundas square decided to get a coffee from the nearby Tim Hortons and chill in my office at Ryerson — just next door. Well timmies was packed, one untrained cashier trying to please 15-20 people in line, I gave up. Next I dropped my gear off in the office and decided to head over to the New/Old Metro (Dominion) on gould street. Nuked some pasta and wolfed down some chocolate — figuring the sugar should help keep me awake. I went outside again around 9:30 PM and noticed that Ryerson exhibits were still drowning in people…..back to the office to watch the latest Indiana Jones.
Back out around midnight, well the scene had changed. Less people/kids, more intoxicated teens/tweens, but now it was easier to navigate the streets and exhibits. I decided to start with Katherine Lannin’s “House of Leaves” installation since it was close. Due to the line up I decided to go to where people were exiting and took a couple of snaps. Pretty neat installation, but very busy even at midnight.
Next came the Devonian Square and Annick Mitchell and Sholem Dolgoy’s Sitting Ducks installation, except that (again) people totally ignored the fact that this was a ART INSTALLATION and (some) started “duck hunting”. Now maybe the artist didn’t care, or even encouraged it, don’t know. What I do know is that a lot of those ducks got taken pre-maturely.
I then made my way through the crowd and ended up watching the end of Jonathan Aitkens “Dislocation” show. Very impressive, but sadly my images came out blurry. I skipped the installations inside Heaslip House — it was a zoo in there — and took some pictures from Arpad Szoke’s Sculptural Installation, “Polly”, in front. The Strobe light was acting like a big magnet for the crowds, and it took a while to find a spot to plunck down my tripod.
I then walked over to Dundas Square to see if I could grab a image that screamed “Fifteen Seconds” and I think I got it.
Next on the agenda was Sam the Record Man’s Sign. You see I’d always wanted to photograph it, but for some reason or other didn’t. Then Sam went under and the sign was turned off for what seemed like forever. Well, although it wasn’t in the official program, Ryerson (the new owners of the buildings) decided to turn the signs on one more time before they get taken down and stored starting tomorrow (October 06). THANKS!!!! :-).
Zombies were next on the list with Jillian McDonald’s “Zombies in Condoland”. Although I missed the initial “ceremonies”, just as I was about to leave, I caught the tail end of the Zombies march. Man these people were scaaarryyy :-). I specially love the look of the dude with glasses….priceless.
The best shot of the night — atleast as far as framing/timing goes — was the following. Too bad I did not have my 1DMKII camera body with me. The 5D’s focusing was just not fast enough to keep up.
I then decided to leave the undead alone and walked up Elizabeth Street to check out Adam Brown’s Video Installation — “Time Piece”.
Right next door was Roy Kohn’s multimedia installation — Meeky. I figured the line up was just too long to waste time at 2:30 AM. Took a couple of pic’s of the crowd and left.
I then got on the subway at Queen’s Park station and headed south to Queen station to check out Fujiwara Takahiro’s beautiful “Into the Blue” Sculpture. For a change I was able to get close and also noticed that the crowds were dying down slowly. I was finally starting to enjoy the events.
Next on the list was Domaine de l’angle #2, 2008 over at Massey Hall, a short hop away from Eaton Centre. I personally thought that this was the coolest installation of all. You know you’ve done something right when almost every single teenager — and some adults as well — are wondering “Where is the Art?”. Man some people are just too dense. Thanks BGL ;-).
Next up, Distillery District. I got on Kings street’s Blue line and started exploring the galleries. Lots of neat stuff here, too bad it was getting a bit late (4:00 AM).
I met a group of artists there for whom I have no information, but all I can say is….FILM Heaven…..Ahhhh, nothing like a EIKI mono speaker “chirping” through the otherwise silent night.
That was magic. I took a bunch of pics here, which was located right beside the Balzac Coffee place. At this point the Neurons were having problem firing, so I decided to get a coffee. But my luck, Balzac’s had just closed….Hmmmm, okay more sugar…..couple of Twix bars.
I left Gooderham and Worts totally satisfied and high on sugar at around 5:00 AM grabbed the first street car at 5:30 AM and came back downtown. Got off at Yonge and King and walked up to City Hall to check out the Stereoscope, a Project Blinkedlights installation from Berlin, Germany. But before that I just had to have a Hotdog as I was getting pretty hungry. Let me tell you there is nothing like an old, leathery hotdog first thing in the morning (6:00 AM I think).
I spent a bit of time wondering the square until I found the ramp to the (supposedly) restricted terrace. The crowds were down to a handfull of people and it was great to just sit on the floor and absorb the blinkie lights in (almost) silence.
It was 6:30’ish AM and the sun was coming out soon so I decided to go to the other side of the square and take a picture of the fountains.
By the time I walked over to University and Queen it was about 7:30 AM and I was in no mood to ride the subway — which turned out to be closed until 9:00 AM — so I grabbed a cab and came home to my wonderful BED :-).
Hopefully next year there will be more people going around with questions like “Where is the art? Can you see the Art?” and such. That to me means….mission accomplished….Art is working. People start to THINK…..what a novel idea :-). At this point please remember — specially now with elections coming up — without art, we might as well start peeling bananas and banging coconuts on rocks. Thanks for hanging in there and see you all next year.
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