The organizers of Nuit Blanche held a launch event at OCAD this morning to announce this year’s curators—Wayne Baerwaldt, Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery at the Alberta College of Art and Design; Dave Dyment, Director of Programming at Mercer Union, Toronto; Gordon Hatt, a writer and curator who lives in Kitchener; and Haema Sivanesan, Executive Director of Toronto’s South Asian Visual Arts Centre—and allow them to outline their individual visions for the event.
In 2007, some 800,000 people took to the streets to participate in this extravaganza of culture and light, the work of 500 artists. Torontoist was among those bleary-eyed thousands and had a slightly mixed time of things. Some of us marvelled at the sheer scale of the event, at the feeling of being witness to a truly historic happening in the city’s cultural history; others expressed disappointment at events that didn’t quite live up to expectations. Mayor Miller’s 12 year-old daughter, who accompanied him last year, summarized it most succinctly: “Everything at Nuit Blanche is weird.”
Wayne Baerwaldt (who was unable to make it, but was skillfully channelled through OCAD President Sara Diamond) hinted at special plans for the “concrete jungle” of Toronto’s business district. His ideas include “elastic, inclusive art installations.” “All art,” he said, “is practical. Like sex.” Dave Dyment promised soundworks that connect with large audiences. He described Nuit Blanche as “a rare opportunity to harness the resources of the city…the entire city is a potential playground for artists.” Gordon Hatt’s previous curatorial work includes “18 Installations and Interventions,” which was displayed throughout Hart House in 2006. His contribution will be to “reflect the emotions and associations we have of the city at night,” and to facilitate a bridge between popular culture and art. Haema Sivanesan spoke to the city’s diversity, promising to draw on her connection with the South Asian art and performance scene in Toronto to explore “how people from culturally diverse backgrounds find common ground.”
We can’t wait to see how these plans manifest themselves in the “extravagant, amazing, incredibly powerful Nuit Blanche ahead of us” promised by Diamond. The full programme of artists and installations will be announced in June.
Photo by Miles Storey.