Saturday, October 02, 2010

Nuit Blanche and Les Rues Des Refuses 2010

The magical all-night art thing called Nuit Blanche gets in gear and I have quite a few exhibitions already picked out. My brother and I will be attending on bicycles to help us get around the city. In addition to the famous and extremely popular (my god - the horror of the lineups where even one of the installations is a lineup) art event we will also be checking out it's edgier cousin Les Rues Des Refuses (LRDR) with it's off program events including the Renegade Parade leaving the ROM at 10:02pm.
We headed to Nathan Phillips Square to start the night with "Later that night at the drive in" which was a projection and sound installation. We took pictures before the official start which was slated for 6:57pm to see the preparations required for this massive project. Various triangular apparatus were showing videos on the ceilings, on vertical screens and on the walls of City Hall while a band played on a stage which had an overhanging mirror. The large mirror was very interesting and provided some great views.
Overall the event has to much darkness in their white night, that and not enough room to experience the installations. The crowds and mobs of people make the night an event of endurance. Too many of the installations were of videos; videos of water drops, videos of making plaster casts of hands, videos of people's faces, you name it and there was a video for it.
The feeling of "is it art" is not something I usually question during the night - I like to find joy in the work and as a photographer I hope to find something visually interesting. I found less of these installations this year and more installations of ordinary events like looking at a bonfire, sitting around a bonfire and playing video games just to name a few. Next year I imagine they will have see through port a potties and lineups of people will gather round and marvel at the excitement of waste production. However, with the amount of Torontonians getting out for the event and the immense amount of exhibitions, you can't really see it all and most people's experience will be different than that experienced by the next person.  The TTC was having a tough time as a few streetcars lost their power pole connections and stopped in their tracks which caused more traffic mayhem along Queen Street.
The people that you find along the night's journey often provide a lot of fun like Tron and fuzzy bike girl, below.
Some people say that the night is an excuse for an all night drug and alcohol party, which for many was an apt description, but for many people this is a chance to be an active part of the experience, which helps to make the city a better place. But you have to make it worthwhile for people to attend and ignore the lineups and the sometimes questionable art. I think I will have to see some great installations planned for 2011 to get back in the saddle again for next years' event.
What was interesting to watch was the young people joining in the night's mass of humanity with their own version of Nuit Blanche - Les Rues Des Refuses, or the street of rejects. They hope to promote art that does not have the funding or awareness of the Nuit Blanche experience but they are really looking for a good, public rave. They gathered at the ROM and at 10:02pm set off on their DJ driven sound show, stopping in the U of T grounds before heading back out onto the streets of Toronto. The funniest part of the night for me was when someone got in my face and got mad at me for being "corporate media". You can see more of the Renegade Parade and rave on my post here. See the 2011 rave photos here.

Here are some of the other stops along my long night of cruising the Nuit Blanche pieces.

After City Hall our next stop was Yonge Street which was closed to vehicles for the night, the road was full of food vendors, masses of people and the occasional outdoor art installation which included "Auto Lamp" sized just right for your living room end table, heck buy a matched set and maybe even the Volkswagen Bug chandelier. Moving north we land at Yonge-Dundas Square where they had a bonfire.
A street market called "Nuit Market" featuring the Weston Flea Market players was tucked out of site in an alleyway and we had to wait for them to set up. Finally they let us into the alley and we wandered through typical flea market sales booths although I didn't see any bootleg videos.

Nuit Blanche pictures continued.

Allegory for a Rock Opera at CityTV

The Task on Toronto St, artist Chris Shepherd not in picture. The concept: move construction blocks from one location to another, by hand, and back again. The genius of this piece was ignored by many who thought it looked like a construction site, hilarity ensued.

The Bus House Collective at Queen St W at the Bay

Day for Night at the Church of Holy Trinity

And bird origami at the park outside the Holy Trinity Church

1,000,000 Canadian Pennies at Hart House, University of Toronto 

On the Good Red Road at Bloor and Bay St

Some big tweets by @xoTO

A Night at the Round Table at Trinity Bellwoods Park

The Burning Buddha at the Distillery District

Part of Sparrow in the Room Collective at the Distillery District (those are casts of hands in a pile)

The Hand of God Rubik's Cubes at the Distillery District (above and below) which I thought was pretty cool

Part of Vexations at Brookfield Place - music and paper folding

Naught Hear on Bay Street, above and below

The Space Between on Queen St W at the Drake Hotel, playing video games, above and below
You can see my photos of last years' 2009 Nuit Blanche event here.

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