In the City: Nuit Blanche

Once a year come sundown, Toronto’s streets overflow with pedestrian gridlock. Common sights and sounds include:

  • Perplexed expressions
  • Raised eyebrows
  • Smartphones used in lieu of flashlights to decipher maps
  • The phrase “Is this art?!” in confused tones
  • Collective “oooo-ing” and “aaaah-ing”

It can only be one night – the all-night art festival Nuit Blanche!

I braved the crowds for a few hours last weekend, timing my departure a bit later than in previous years in an effort to avoid the bulk of crowds. It wasn’t a terrible move, although by 12:30 a.m. it was clear I was beginning to be outnumbered by inebriated “art fans” so I headed home. These were my favourites:

Though not included in the photos above, another interesting installation was Night Shift by Brendan Fernandes. Inspired by Louis XIV’s Le Ballet de la Nuit, the performers spent the entire night dancing, making and transporting gold confetti in anticipation of the Sun King’s appearance at sunrise. This was…a bit frustrating to watch. One guy, who likely wore a groove into the floor by sunrise, picked up confetti ONE PIECE AT A TIME to carry it from one side of the room to the other. A man behind me poked through the crowd to see what we were all staring at, commented on the inefficient work and jetted out of there in search of “actual art.” To each their own.

And that’s the beauty of the event. Some of it is super weird. Some of it is accessible for everyone. And it ultimately creates conversation.

You can check out Forever Bicycles in Nathan Phillips Square until October 27 – I highly recommend it. Just don’t climb up it, that’s what trees and parks are for.

Did you go? What did you enjoy?

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