The all-night art street party returns with 120 art projects aimed at inspiring curiosity, wonder, and some audience participation.
From Saturday, October 4 at 6:53 p.m. until sunrise on Sunday, October 5, Nuit Blanche, the annual all-night arts festival, will once again take over the city—and an announcement this morning makes it clear what we can expect from the ninth edition of the event.
This year, 120 art projects produced by nearly 400 Torontonian, Canadian, and international artists will hit the streets in a variety of neighbourhoods, some of which—Chinatown/Spadina Avenue, Fort York, and Roundhouse Park/Bremner Boulevard—will be hosting Nuit Blanche activities and installations for the very first time.
Of the 120 projects on offer, more than 70 will be community-produced, meaning they’ll stem from the artistic endeavours of institutions (the BATA Shoe Museum, the Gardiner Museum, the Spadina Museum, Mackenzie House, and the AGO along with OCAD University, and Canada’s National Ballet, to name just a few), neighbourhoods, and individual artists.
The City itself will be producing 48—more than ever before—all of which are part of four curated exhibitions:
Location: Chinatown/Queen West
Curated by Dominique Fontaine, “Between the earth and the sky, the possibility of everything” involves 12 projects that promote artistic experimentation in such as way as to change how people observe and understand the world, and to explore the potential of public space. Works will include Yvette Mattern’s Global Rainbow at 220 Spadina Avenue, which will create a laser-beam rainbow, and Alexandre Arrechea’s Black Sun, which will project a giant wrecking ball near Spadina and Grange Aves.
Location: Roundhouse Park/Bremner Boulevard
Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s novel of the same name, this exhibition—curated by Denise Markonish, curator at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts—will feature 10 works that investigate notions of magic and the darkness that can underpin it. “This is not your average circus with only clowns and lion tamers,” says Markonish. “Instead, it is an epic magical contest—turning an ordinary circus into a true spectacle of magic and wits.” At this true spectacle of magic and wits, you’ll find Dana Sherwood’s The Melodious Malfeasance Meat-Grinding Machine—one of the few works of art, we’re guessing, that actually produces sausages—and FASTWURMS’ The Fortune Teller Machine, which will involve visitors having their fortunes told by “cybernetic Witches” (and in a custom-designed caravan, no less).
Location: Fort York
Made up of 12 projects, “Before Day Break” seeks to question viewers’ assumptions about reality, perception, and history—and to gesture toward a shared human experience. “This vibrant environment will invite reflection on contemporary history,” says curator Magda Gonzalez-Mora, “while juxtaposing it to Canada’s quest for inclusion and plurality.” There, you’ll be treated to a labyrinth patterned on a drawing of the human brain—Yoan Capote’s Open Mind—and 100 trained Cuban dancers doing the conga in reverse, courtesy of Los Carpenteros.
Location: City Hall/Nathan Phillips Square
Dedicated exclusively to performance art, this exhibition will deal with how individual selves manifest themselves in and then respond to the outer world—and with the mess of positive and negative emotions that result from doing so. “By definition,” comments curator Heather Pesanti, “every project will flirt with the beautiful potential for unpredictability, failure, tragedy, success, and spectacle inherent in such real-time, live, and participatory actions and events.” Visitors should note the following: spectators will themselves often become part of the show. (Which might mean being “infected” by UV reactive ink as part of Shasti O’Leary Soudant’s HALFLIFE, or watching video montages while being stared at by “a legion of choral singers engaged in a marathon drone” in Kathryn Andrews and Scott Benzel’s Split Chorale for Viljo Revell).