If there’s one thing you can count on when it comes to Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, it’s that there will be a debate over whether the works on display are fine art or a pile of hooey. At least one of the installations planned for the eighth edition of the overnight, citywide festival will tackle the argument head-on: a phone hotline that will tell you if what you’re viewing is art or not. A call might only fuel the fire.
During today’s official launch at the Daniels Spectrum, in Regent Park, city councillor and part-time artist Gary Crawford (Ward 36, Scarborough Southwest) looked at one of the pieces of artwork brought for display: a pair of conjoined bicycles. “I’m thinking we should get these bikes over to City Hall and get Rob Ford and Adam Vaughan on them and see what happens,” Crawford observed. “I don’t know if they’d work together or be pulling back and forth.”
The bicycles, part of Kim Adams’s piece Toaster Work Wagon, are designed to test how people negotiate with each other. We suspect there will be tweets galore about people falling off and other mishaps. This is an interactive piece best sampled while sober.
The highest-profile artist this year is Ai Weiwei, whose work will continue to grace Nathan Phillips Square even after the removal of his series of animal heads in September. His installation Forever Bicycles will anchor this year’s Nuit Blanche installations in front of City Hall. Over 3,000 bikes will be used for the sculpture. Inside City Hall, the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry will run all night in council chambers.
Fortunately for time-constrained festivalgoers, Forever Bicycles is one of six installations that will remain on view through October 14. There’s no need to rush to see it on the night.
As usual, the works at Nuit Blanche will be divided between curated exhibitions produced by the City and independent projects—this year, 67 independent projects will be in place between Wychwood Barns and the Distillery District. The main themes this year involve notions of ready-made art, parades, and the post-Industrial Revolution “age of man.” Visitors may sample freeform performances by shopping bags, all-night dance pieces based on a ballet once performed by Louis XIV, silent protests to protect darkness, tournaments of invented sports, the production of knock-off products, the annual film collage at the TIFF Lightbox (which this year salutes VHS), and the “clownification” of University Avenue.
More details are available on the official Nuit Blanche website.