Nuit Blanche 2011: Zone B


Nuit Blanche 2011: Zone B

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.

Face Music, 2011, by Ken Rinaldo. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Ride the Rocket – Kurt Firla, Elliott Mealia, Po-Mo Inc
Bay Street north of Dundas (at 600 Bay Street)

We’ve seen creative alternate uses for TTC streetcars over the years, including serving burgers inside an old PCC near Shelburne. During Nuit, an everyday, stationary transit vehicle will be transformed into a thrilling simulation experience that will take riders under Lake Ontario, up to the moon, and into the belly of local wildlife. Guided by a TTC driver played by comedian Pat Thornton, the “virtual rocket” will utilize film, cartoons, and computer graphics to thrill its riders. We received the following disclaimer: “Not appropriate for: People who easily get motion-sick, or are afraid of giant raccoons.” (Jamie Bradburn)

Face Music – Ken Rinaldo
Yonge-Dundas Square

We learned a long time ago that you don’t necessarily need talent to make a career in the music industry. But now, all you need is a face! As a companion project to Paparazzi Bots, these robots capture snapshots of audience members facial features which are then digitized, pixelated, and merged with other images to form a soundscape. Don’t ask us how in the heck this happens, but we’re excited about finally getting a crack at a record deal. (Carly Maga)

Drawing with Frames – Drawing with Frames
Parking Lot at northeast corner of Dundas and Victoria

Not only can your eyes tell a story, they can draw one too. Booths employing eye-tracking software will allow users to create art that will be projected onto a wall canvas in the parking lot. The project is inspired by the EyeWriter initiative, which was developed for graffiti artist Tony Quan, aka Tempt One, to allow him to continue creating art after the onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis denied him the use of his hands. The piece celebrates how technology has allowed those who may have been considered in the past to have been completely incapacitated to continue to express their ideas. (Jamie Bradburn)

Paparazzi Bots – Ken Rinaldo
Eaton Centre at Trinity Way and Albert Way

If you missed the Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions exhibit at the Bell Lightbox this summer, this is your chance to finally claim your completely meaningless, but possibly still gratifying feeling of superstardom. Paparazzi Bots can be found at either end of the Eaton Centre, and was conceived of by multimedia artist Ken Rinaldo. As people walk through the exhibit, human-height robots attached to motion-sensor cameras will spring into action, moving towards individuals and snapping pictures like mad, desperate for a shot of your grinning face. These robo-cams will even be selective about who they shoot, making choices based on whether people are smiling, and the shape of said smile. Robots! (Laura Godfrey)

Honey, I’m Home! – James Warrack, Cheryl Hsu, Nicole Bazuin, Sarah Allen Eagen, Wendy Cukier
310 Church Street

Beloved sitcoms from the 1990s like Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, and The Cosby Show! may be off the airwaves, but they definitely haven’t left our cultural conscience. We still remember the goofy uncle/best friend, the nerdy neighbour, the troublemaking son, and most importantly, the wise father. Definitive of that time period in television, envisioning them in today’s multicultural society is nearly impossible. So a team from Ryerson University is giving Nuit Blanche-goers the opportunity to act out a scene as that quintessential father figure, letting the mix of ethnicities, ages, and genders dictate how the script is interpreted. (Carly Maga)

Public Display of Democracy – Diaspora Dialogues
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (209 Victoria Street)

If interactive exhibitions are what Nuit Blanche shines at, then Diaspora Dialogues’ Public Display of Democracy might prove to be a must-see. Designed by artist Mitchell Chan, this performance piece seeks to make public art of University of Toronto research that visualizes the geographical correlation between Toronto’s growing income gap, featuring a public dialogue facilitated by local engagement firm MASS LPB as its apex. Behold: the aesthetics of civic engagement. (Kelli Korducki)

Futuristic Institute of Collective Happenings – Thom Sokoloski
Distillery District (55 Mill Street)

The brainchild of artist Thom Sokoloski, The Futuristic Institute of Collective Happenings reinterprets the future—which is to say, now—through the lens of Futurism, a forward-looking movement in art and design popular in the early 1900s. The large, site-specific animation will feature modern Futurism-inspired pieces by a number of artists, integrated into a massive, museum-y unit. Bonus points for visitors who arrive by penny farthing. (Kelli Korducki)

The St. James Circus – Anthony Swan, Hillary Predko, Maihyet Burton, Denis Taman Bradette
Distillery District (55 Mill Street), Building 74

The Distillery District, well-defined in its borders by its cobblestone pavement and restored buildings, is perhaps one of the best areas in the city for a festival experience, with all sorts of nooks and crannies to cram in performers and artwork. Two such sprawling performance-based exhibitions will be taking place simultaneously over the course of Nuit Blanche this year. The St. James Circus will feature costumed carnival barkers, performers, and circus-based acts (and sequel to last year’s Way-Station (North Migration) that also took place in the Distillery). (Steve Fisher)

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.