Nuit Blanche 2011 Guide: Zone A
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Nuit Blanche 2011 Guide: Zone A

Your crack Torontoist all-night art lovers have studied the Nuit Blanche program with care. Here are our picks for the most promising installations of the night.

"A City Sleepover" by Jessica Rose will take over Lower Bay Station.

Tell YOUR Story – Rebecca Singh, Hendrik Scheel, David DeGrow, Caitlin Weld
Canada’s Smallest Theatre (601 Christie Street)

Theatre and creative artist Rebecca Singh, who’s been at Nuit Blanche every year so far (with popular past exhibits like Bouncing Brides and SMASH! Droppin’ Stuff), has teamed with Berlin designer Henrik Scheel for this new participatory event. At Wychwood Artscape Barns (where Singh is a resident artist), they’ll have a stage set up for participants to get up and tell a short story throughout the night. While the stage will be open to all, they’ve programmed a few “pros” throughout the night to keep things moving, including Singh’s previous Nuit Blanche collaborator Cathy Gordon, and a satellite hook-up with Toronto-based artists Colleen MacPherson and Nina Gilmour, who will tell their stories from the concurrent Nuit Blanche in Paris, France. (Steve Fisher)

Night Light Travels – Ben Chaisson, Beth Kates, Lynda Hill, Jody Kramer
Studio 174 (601 Christie Street)

Unless you’re an insomniac, a night watchman, or a freelance journalist, you’ll probably be up way past your bedtime during the evening of Nuit Blanche. But remember when it was a big deal to stay up past 8 o’clock, and suddenly what used to be so mundane became extraordinary and magical in the dark of night? Participants can relive that feeling as local theatre designers and husband-and-wife-team Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson transform the Wychwood Theatre into a cosmic dreamscape, with their signature lighting, sound, and projection installations that interact with the movements of the audience. (Carly Maga)

Compostela – Brett David Potter, Toronto Choral Artists
Church of the Redeemer (162 Bloor Street West)

A collaboration between video artist Brett David Potter and the Toronto Choral Artists, Compostela seeks to explore the sacred and the sublime, combining Potter’s interactive video installation with live choral performances. The exhibition is inspired by the centuries-long religious pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, where the bones of St. James are allegedly enshrined. While seasoned Nuit Blanchers may rightfully be conditioned to fear the words “interactive video installation” in the context of all-night contemporary art things, the multimedia incorporation of composer Jody Talbot’s tactile, a cappella composition “Path of Miracles” promises to elevate the experience beyond mere projections. (Kelli Korducki)

A City Sleepover – Jessica Rose
Lower Bay Station

The mystique of Lower Bay subway station always draws in crowds during Nuit, so expect a packed house for former Toronto Life art director Jessica Rose’s sleepover in the popular movie set. For full participatory effect, it is recommended that anyone planning to spend the night here bring their own pyjamas, sleeping bag, and toothbrush. If you’re dropping by for a quick visit (lines permitting), don’t step on anyone slumbering on the platform floor. We suspect the piece will prove tempting to weary souls as 4 a.m. rolls around. (Jamie Bradburn)

Medicine Walk – U of T Aboriginal Studies Program
Kahontake Kitikan Garden (east side of Hart House, U of T)

University of Toronto’s Aborginal Studies program will reclaim traditional Native land just east of Hart House for the night, with students using songs, recitations, and rituals to collectively bring the past into the present, and integrate Native culture into the present day. The night’s performances will culminate in a 6:30am sunrise ceremony, as Nuit Blanche concludes and the night’s participants and adventurers go in search of their neglected beds. (Steve Fisher)

Erratic – Germaine Koh
Yonge Street: starting at Bloor at 7 p.m., ending at the waterfront at 7 a.m.

Sure, you could transport a glacial boulder from northern Ontario down Yonge Street from Bloor Street to the shoreline in minutes with a dumptruck. But where’s the art in that? As a tribute to manual labour and slow, natural processes that shape our physical landscape, that boulder will be rolled by hand along the same route over a 12-hour period. Vancouver-based artist Germaine Koh’s piece will contrast the pace of nature and human work with mechanization of tasks. Alas, this exhibit is not sponsored by Rolling Rock beer. (Jamie Bradburn)

The Crown of the Bell – Rose Bolton, Marc de Guerre
Chalmers House (20 St. Joseph Street)

Another combined sound-video installation, The Crown of the Bell by artists Rose Bolton and Marc de Guerre aims to fill the Canadian Music Centre’s historic Chalmers House with the sound of ringing bells in a bid to return the clangers “to their historical role as a symbol of civilization by creating a peaceful refuge in the chaos of the city night.” Yes, this sounds flaky to us too; nevertheless, with proper utilization of the Victorian house at hand, this could very well wind up being one of the zone’s most haunting sensory experiences. (Kelli Korducki)

Limelight, Saturday Night – Sans façon
Grosvenor Street west of Yonge Street

Brought to you by the art collaborative known as Sans façon, Limelight: Saturday Night is a simple concept whose delightfulness or banality depends entirely on participation by you, dear nightwalkers. So embrace your exhibitionist tendencies and head over to Grosvenor Street, just west of Yonge, where you will find that theatre spotlights have replaced two boring old streetlights, turning the road into an open stage for impromptu musical numbers, makeout sessions, and breakdance battles. Alternatively, it could just serve as a spotlight for drunken swaggering or annoying soapboxing. But that’s part of the beauty of Nuit Blanche—you never know what you’ll find unless you show up, and no one can predict when the night’s showstopper might happen. (Laura Godfrey)

Will You Love Me Tomorrow? – Kevin Schmidt
Multiple locations along Yonge between Bloor and Gerrard

An interesting side effect of constricting the borders of the zones is an inevitable merging of installations, especially the mobile ones. So on Yonge Street, it will be boulder meets busker as Germaine Koh’s Erratic will take place alongside Kevin Schmidt’s Will You Love Me Tomorrow?, a performance installation which places hired local street musicians in various stations along the strip singing songs ab0ut the thrill of the party and the sorrow of the morning after, reflecting upon what Nuit Blanche has become—one big, long, unusually cold street party. (Carly Maga)

Map by Max Hartshorn/Torontoist.


Including: Yorkville, The Annex, Yonge and Bloor, and Wychwood.


Including: Yonge-Dundas Square, City Hall, and The Distillery District.


Including: Parkdale, Liberty Village, and West Queen West.