Sunday, October 3, 2010


Toronto's Dundas Square alive
during Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Toronto was transformed tonight into a mecca of Contemporary Art for the annual Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival.  With 130 exhibits divided into three zones, Torontonians came out in full force, making this year's edition the most popular yet with visibly a significant increase in attendance over last year.

Although I felt that fewer creative risks were taken overall this year from the contributing Artists, there were a number of exhibits which stood out in my mind.  One thing I will note is that with an increasing number of Artists utilizing Video as a medium to showcase their work, it is a bit challenging to recall which ones actually stood out best in that format.  Nonetheless, this year's Nuit Blanche succeeded with flying colours in achieving its main objective - creating a sense of comraderie among Torontonians, as clearly the word is spreading about what a great experience the festival is.  And moreso, it is penetrating an even younger crowd.  

Kim Adams' Auto Lamp
Improvements though could be made in terms of efficiency, as I noted a number of the marquee exhibits, such as the popular Interactive Landscape Dunes at lower Bay Station by Dan Roosegarde, which required Nuit Blanche-goers to wait a minimum one hour. And of course, cries of "I'm still waiting to see real Art!" could be heard occasionally among some of those with discerning tastes.  The greatest disappointment I would say, was mega-producer Daniel Lanois' multi-media installation Later That Night At The Drive-In which had the prestige of being showcased at Nathan Phillips Square.   Although much hyped, it was perhaps too dimly-lit and subdued in terms of mood (i.e. a drawn-out love letter to Neil Young) for what should have been a festive experience at one of this city's greatest landmarks.

What did impress me though was Kim Adams' Auto Lamp which to me most clearly depicted the spirit of Nuit Blanche.  Adams took a Van, carved out stenciled patterns on its exterior and installed lights from within, essentially turning the Van into a Lamp, illuminating the corner of Queen x Yonge beautifully.  Also, timed relevantly with the release of Darren Aronofsky's big Oscar contender Black Swan, The Ryerson School of Interior Design presented The Swans' Lake - a brilliant show of motorized swans dressed as Ballerinas dancing to Tchaikovsky.  Unforgettable also was a Performance Art exhibit called Reunion at Ryerson Theatre, which re-created a 1968 Electronic Chess Board Concert of the same title, where Chess Players' moves on an Electronic Chess Board would dictate the sounds the audience heard.

Below are some photos I got from this evening's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festivities around the city:
Monument to Smile at Holt Renfrew
Reunion at Ryerson
The Swans' Lake at Ryerson
Pine Cone Colony at Cameron House Museum

Later That Night At The Drive-In
at Nathan Phillips Square
Iskootão at The Village of Yorkville Park

To watch a full demonstration of the amazing Auto Lamp, look below:

Don't forget to visit Scotiabank Nuit Blanche's official website to vote for your favourite exhibit of the night. You could win 1 of 6 Apple iPads or 1 of 50 Pre-paid VISA Cards!

(Photo credit/Video credit: Mr. Will-W.)

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