—It’s bewildering that there’s only one collector on duty at Osgoode Station. Huge lineups form every five minutes. Then it’s quiet, then a zoo again.
Queen and Crawford
—Artist Togomi Nagamato was inspired by the recovery efforts following the Japanese tsunami of March 11, 2011 to document his community’s favourite inspirational words to live by. A selection of high profile people with Toronto connections adorn the walls. The rest of the 311 profiles are displayed, five seconds at a time, on LED screens.
Zone C, Life Lessons
In Metro Hall, Second City performers take crowd and Twitter suggestions for a series of short skits. There is live music accompaniment, terrible Michael Jackson moonwalk-offs, and impromptu songs about skinny jeans. If you can’t make it, you can tweet absurd improv suggestions with the hashtag #snbTO.
Zone A, +city
—This is Dean. He and his bike are covered in 300 lights. He grins when people call his name. When asked why he chose to wear lights, he responds “Because I can.”
— Jake Tobin Garrett (@jaketobin) September 30, 2012
Zone A, Lifecyles
— Hulk Ghomeshi (@hulkghomeshi) September 30, 2012
At the National Ballet School, a dozen dancers rotate through a continuous trio performance from Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Weaving around tall light stand trees, there seems to be some element of adaptive improv. The program says it’s a repeating 20-minute cycle, but as dancers change and the night wears on, it will morph continuously. Meanwhile, an artist stands off to the side, doing his best to sketch the bodies in motion onto his easel.
Zone B, Night Garden
—As art-thing watchers stroll along King street between University and York, invaders fly overhead. Space Invaders. French artist Yves Caizergues blends high and low technology through the 80s video game, but mostly people just find them cute. Looking at the green reflection in the Sun Life Financial building, a father asks his son if he knows the game. He doesn’t, but likes it anyway.
Zone A, Green Invaders
—Thrones have never looked so royal.
Distillery District, Dada Reboot!
Is a day pass even worth it tonight? Walk everywhere. Surface routes will be unbelievably slow. #snbTO
— Robert Ruggiero (@robert_ruggiero) September 30, 2012
At Clarkson, there are loads of people heading to Union. Someone yells on the platform “Shout out to people who like art. Hahaha.” Meanwhile others here are discussing where to go, and one guy’s going on about how cool certain things are.
Staying out all night for art involves snacking too, and that’s covered. From Adelaide to King there are a series of Toronto’s omnipresent food trucks: Seafood truck Buster’s Sea Cove, Curbside Bliss Cupcakes, Gourmet Gringos, Texas Tornado and Tiny Tom donuts.
This has been your food truck update for the hour.
—Council chambers tonight is more interesting than it’s been for quite some time. All the screens are cycling through a bunch of anti-oil propaganda. Not a politician in sight.
On Bay between Adelaide and Queen, a carnival-style fun house fills the street. There are fun house mirrors, dancers, stiltwalkers and Gothic-inspired costumes that could be in a Tim Burton movie. So it’s a bit odd that a car company is sponsoring this area—there are Chevy sparks everywhere—but hey, there’s free cotton candy in the centre.
Zone A, Fun House
At Todmorden Mills artist Viktor Mitic is on hand (for now) to answer questions about his building-wide installation, Wounded Icons. Mitic recreated famous paintings, like Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe and Hokusai’s Great Wave, and then riddled them with bulletholes, using a “variety of calibres, at different ranges.” The exhibit also includes a bus near demolished by gunfire, and a short film in the Papermill theatre, of violent imagery. Running approximately minutes, it was edited for Nuit Blanche for length and content. “Some things, like Serbian warfare footage, and beheadings, would make people sick,” says Mitic.
Zone C, Wounded Icons
Traffic is already brutal at Bay and Adelaide, both for cars and pedestrians. The slow parade of taxis show their anger at pedestrians who have overtaken the intersection with a chorus of honks that equals the music at the nearby Fun House. One pedestrian: “I feel like a salmon.”
— Reggie Ramone (@reggieramone) September 30, 2012
— Shelley Carroll (@shelleycarroll) September 30, 2012
Inside City Hall, Marco Brambilia’s video installation Civilization (Multiplex) is projected onto the spire that extends from the atrium to council chambers. With epic music that would fit in a propaganda film, images of hellfire and civilization fall downwards and observers gawk upwards to see it all happen. There’s a metaphor in here somewhere…
Outside of City Hall the Nathaniel Dett Chorale sings ’I’m going to set the world on fire one of these days’ and it couldn’t be at a more appropriate location. Performed with spellbinding spirit, it’s a blend of Afrocentric spirituals, latin, and jazz. If only all the apocalyptic orchestrations from City Hall were this awesome.
They perform 30 minute sets at 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 2:00 and 3:30.
Nathan Phillips Square
—The large wooden wind-up toys in Tethered Motion require much more strength than those of our chidlhood. Use two hands, or two people.
Zone C, Tethered Motion
— Kelsey McColgan (@kelseymccolgan) September 30, 2012
Norwegian artist Leif Inge uses the acoustics of Old City Hall for a sound installation called 9 Beet Stretch that elongates Beethoven’s 9th symphony to last the night. Crowds quickly walk through the lobby and its red and blue guess lighting just long enough to hear an abstracted bar of music and slip away for someone to hear the next.
Zone B, 9 Beet Stretch
Zone B, 9 Beet Stretch
— Bethany Sharpe (@Bether4) September 29, 2012
If you want some mussels or chili with your contemporary art, Pure Spirits Oyster House has an outdoor bar and hot carafes beside two Dada installations. In fact, the whole place is mixed with late diners and early artgoers.
Zone C, Distillery District
Zone B, Talk to Strangers
—Street closures are already in effect south of Dundas Avenue. Staff are unloading, opening, and displaying boxes of free Nuit Blanche programs. There are free maps for the taking, too, and a huge “map cube” displaying the three Zones.
Zone B, Yonge Dundas Square
—Setting up in the Distillery District
Zone C, Viva La Dada, Baby
—A group of recent Ryerson architectural science graduates install their project Aura, an interactive tunnel of light-up buttons, in the alleyway off Gould Street.
Zone B, Aura
7:45 PM, Friday
—Yonge Dundas Square preps to host both art installations and info hubs.
Zone B, REFLEXION
6:25 PM, Friday
—An early look at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday night.
City Hall, World Without Sun
7:30 PM, Friday
This year’s City Hall exhibitions for Nuit Blanche are apocalyptic in nature, but An Te Liu’s White Dwarf takes the dead and gives it new life.
It took the Toronto artist and University of Toronto professor four months to collect hundreds (he’s lost count) of outdated pieces of technology from second-hand stores around the GTA, gut out their insides, and carefully form them into a sphere-shaped puzzle. But as he hung the white orb of defunct techie toys and household appliances in an underground parking garage at City Hall, White Dwarf seemed decades in the making. Relics like Polaroid cameras, clock radios, ancient Playstations, a 1987 Macintosh Classic computer, even a Slap Chop can be spotted in the rotating star. “All these memories rush back to you,” Liu said. “I wanted to bring all these pieces together in a final resting place.”
Photos by Lodoe-Laura Haines-Wangda, words by Carly Maga
City Hall (Parking garage at Chestnut and Armoury), White Dwarf
7 PM, Friday