Nuit Blanche revisited

October 17, 2007

what a night! Nuit Blanche is an all-night art event that happens annually for one night only – sunset to sunrise – in Toronto. i managed to coax my friend Connan to join me for this exploration of art – we covered plenty of ground and “misplaced” the car but we managed to make it back to Hamilton by about 4am or so.

highlights? well, i was impressed by the overall beauty of the city by night. usually we’re too busy making our way to our destinations to really appreciate the beauty around us – this night i was attracted as much to the abstract shapes of the city and the play of streetlights than many of the performances themselves.

we started in Queen’s Park where Kristan Horton produced “Crowd”, an audio installation amid bright floodlights, giving the effect of being “crowded” by the cacophony of noise emanating from the surrounding speakers. we then moved on to King’s College Circle @ the UofT, where Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins conceived the display of “Event Horizon”. a kind of UFO crash site, emergency personnel, media reporters and yellow tape abounded while the crowd looked on in wonderment – what/who had crashed? are those fumes toxic? all was revealed behind the giant tent!

Crowd “Crowd”

dscn1015small.JPG “Event Horizon”

the vision of New York’s McKendree Key was to see the contents of 31 Baldwin Street transferred to a lawn outside of an apartment building at Beverley and Cecil Streets – laid out exactly to scale. how successful he was, i didn’t stick around to see but i couldn’t help but think that anyone could break into an adjacent apartment and say that it was for “art”.

Swintak’s performance installation of “ThunderEgg Alley: A Dumpster Diver’s Paradise” was inspirational on paper but somewhat tepid in reality. the premise was to expose our consumer-driven society as vacuous by turning a dumpster into a 5-star resort room. the installation could have used an infusion of good old consumer cash to bring it to the level promised in the statement.

dscn1017small.JPG

the Cecil Street Community Centre served as a one-stop shop for performance art and some of the best highlights of the night. the main floor space hosted Yvonne Ng’s stunningly beautiful princess dance projects, while downstairs held an old-fashioned sing-along on piano. one woman, dressed in 50’s housewife wear and enclosed in a furnace room-cum-kitchen with plastic wrap, sang to her lover’s answering machine with a menacing tone.

dscn1025small.JPG

dscn1032small.JPG

after a trip to the AGO for their “end of the party party”, we headed to Yonge and Dundas Square for an assembly of impromptu street performers – there was a brilliant young breakdance team (didn’t catch the name) and perennial Toronto busker Graham Kirkland amongst others. the Eaton Centre housed two interesting exhibits: the first a plasma-screen sky where punters could draw their own clouds then watch them transmitted; the second and most interesting, a “living organism” of balloon animals that took over the entire front lobby in front of Sears.

dscn1048small.JPG

dscn1054small.JPG

dscn1036small.JPG

too long away!

October 17, 2007

okay if i’m going to do this blog thing then it really has to be semi-regular, not semi-annual, agreed? and while i’m at it… i should call my mother more often.

junction-pic.jpg

the Junction festival in August went well – the weather cooperated for the most part and there was a ton of foot traffic. Ivan, Dragna and Joey Martinovic hosted one of the juried show sites at the brand new Urbanscape gallery. I owe a large thanks to them for their energy and hospitality, especially during the art fair on Saturday and Sunday and wish them the best of luck.

the Junction area of Toronto reminds me of Hamilton in many ways, with a good mix of old architecture and new development. the neighbourhood on Dundas West is very active in preserving the rich building heritage and are fiercely proud of the area.

dscn0720small.JPG

besides the many visual artists, craftspeople and vendors, there was a large contingent of performance artists – street performers, singers, dancers and live music. i was lucky to be situated beside my favourites, the violin-playing music-box dancers.

dscn0723small.JPG

dscn0725small.JPG

i was joined by fellow-artists Kate Higgins of Toronto and Maria Whiteman from Hamilton at the Urbanscape show. Kate has traveled and studied in Italy, where she photographed the dramatic streetscapes, then combined these photos with hanging garments in a cohesive theme. Maria is a photographer as well; producing large double-exposed factory/nature scenes.

dscn0709small.JPG

dscn0710small.JPG