Zone C curator Helena Reckitt, instead of focusing on the city like her colleagues curating the other Zones, is playing with the concept of time and repetition in Once More With Feeling. Expect some projects to rely on Nuit Blanche’s 12-hour time period, some to convey “time” in non-traditional senses, and some to transform mundane objects into artistic expressions. If you’re hitting up Zone C, here are some installations not to miss:
Moth Maze — Oliver Husain
Labyrinth! Sometimes, trigger words like these are all that are needed to bring out your kiddie excitement. The main difference here is that above the maze hangs a giant video screen, while the film it shows interacts with lamps that are set up in the maze (meaning that you actually enter the film).
Highlights: Potential to get lost in a maze with other excited strangers.
Warning: Potential to get lost in a maze with other excited strangers.
Top Down — BRDGLab
You know that scene in X-Men where they’re able to use some future technology to recreate a miniature city on a table-top? This is kind of like that. Top Down reduces our city skyline to something that you can walk through in just a few steps.
Highlights: Artificial topography gives you a unique view of the city, allows you to see what our buildings would look like if you were a giant.
Warning: Outdoor installation in central location means potential for over-crowding, possible long line-ups to walk through the space.
Body Xerox — Simon Denny, Yngve Holen
Everybody loves playing with the photocopier (something that probably hasn’t changed since Xerox hit the big leagues in 1959). Here then comes the next logical step in the machine’s evolution: being used as disco lights on the dance floor.
Highlights: International DJs Craxxxmurf and Baglady control the music to turn something mundane into something spectacular.
Warning: Getting swept into disco fever may tire you out before you’ve finished your night.
Tremolo — Maeve Brennan, Ruth Ewan
British musician Maeve Brennan will battle her crippling fear of public performance by putting on piano recitals, as everyone who watches is forced to reconsider what they expect from performances and performers.
Highlights: Cheering for an underdog; spontaneous moments of beautiful music.
Warning: Recitals can really go either way.
Thought Balloon — Brian Cauley
Artist Brian Cauley will invite members of the public to type their personal thoughts onto large digital thought bubbles, examining how we think about privacy and communication in the digital age.
Highlights: Genuine, heart-warming snippets of humanity; your chance to finally get something off your chest.
Warning: Inevitable idiotic ramblings of drunken teenagers.
Corridor — Semaphore Group, Will Hudson, Joel Loblaw
Simple in its design but seemingly infinite in its possibilities, this installation consists of nothing but a dark corridor and two people. You and a complete stranger are forced to interact as you pass by each other on the way to your respective exits.
Highlights: Different experience every time, potential for things to get steamy with the right person.
Warning: Chance of being stuck in there with a total douchenozzle.
Smells Like Spirit — Hadley+Maxwell
Nuit Blanche loves Nirvana. Last year, there were all-night covers played in the now-shuttered Toronto Underground Cinema. This year, a sound installation promises to “perpetually ‘load in’ Nirvana for a final concert.”
Highlights: A decent soundtrack, a place to honour Kurt Cobain.
Warning: Potential for cramped conditions.
Nuit Blanche Survey and Critical Race — Julian Higuerey Núñez and Henry Adam Svec
It sounds like an impossible task: two artists attempt to view every Nuit Blanche installation and provide critical commentary for each via Twitter. Good luck!
Highlights: The challenge itself (can they do it?); an installation that can be observed from anywhere.
Warning: Requires access to Twitter for full appreciation.
Greenwood Village Mural Street Art Happening — Mural Routes, Jerrem Lynch
Tying into a Scarborough-based initiative to encourage public murals across the country, this “happening” will include a participatory digital projections and an outdoor studio.
Highlights: Drawing with chalk on the street—who doesn’t like to scribble on pavement?
Warning: Remembering that you can still only really draw stick figures.
Planes — Trisha Brown Dance Company
This was a critical piece of 1960s experimental dance, and its restaging at Nuit Blanche marks the third time that Trisha Brown’s iconic NYC dance company has performed in Toronto. As if falling in mid-air, dancers are suspended against a wall and maneuver over each other and the platform at their side against a Jud Yalkut film projection and the sounds of a vacuum cleaner.
Highlights: A must-see for any dance aficionado.
Warning: High potential for crowds and general weirdness.
Transhumance on The Esplanade — CORPUS – Jamii
For Nuit Blanche-goers looking to take a power nap, but find themselves juiced on all the contemporary art excitement, head to the Esplanade where 15 performers will dress up to create a herd of sheep. If counting them doesn’t make you sleepy, then take part and feed, shear, and milk them as the urban street turns into a dreamlike countryside. It is recommended to bring snacks for the animals.
Highlights: Interactivity, petting farm nostalgia factor.
Warning: Sheep phobics beware.
Button Happy — Switchyard Studio
Installations that work well at Nuit Blanche create individual engagement while still allowing many people to participate at one time (like last year’s The Heart Machine). With a ceiling of lightbulbs that react to people stepping on buttons below, Button Happy seems like it could achieve that balance. Plus, everyone likes pushing buttons.
Highlights: Fun for everyone!
Warning: Potential for crowds or a lineup, if the mechanics don’t work perfectly it could be highly disappointing.
Focus: Yonge Street west to John, from King south to Front.
Focus: Victoria west to University, from Dundas south to King
Focus: Jarvis west to Yonge, from Shuter Street south to Front.