Blog ART

Nuit Blanche 2010 illuminates the city of Toronto this Saturday, proffering upon its otherwise plebeian denizens a taste of the esoteric. An evening set between the crepuscular rays of sunset and the glow of dawn, the fifth annual Nuit Blanche promises 30 projects by more than 500 artists and a whole lot of confused baby boomers ambling through the various installations wondering if they "get it."

Honestly, over here at TORO, we're not sure if we "get it" either, but here's our attempt at simplifying an evening whose very existence hinges on messy, fragmented, obtuse, or just plain bizarre versions of reality.

Monument to Smile (2010)

Artist: Agnès Winter

 Location: 50 Bloor Street West

Feeling blue? Why not check out Agnes Winter’s video projection installation “Monument to Smile”? The Parisian artist asked a group of OCAD students to collect 250 picture of happy, grinning Torontonians, a task that probably took them about 10 years. Hey, wait a minute, she got other people to make her art project for her? Shenanigans!

The rotation of images will be projected onto the front of the Holt Renfrew Center. Thinking about clothes we'll never be able to afford makes us all warm and fuzzy.


Late That Night at the Drive-In (2010)

Artist: Daniel Lanois and Black Dub

Location: 100 Queen Street West

Daniel Lanois has put his stamp on classic records for Bob Dylan, U2, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, and, uh, Raffi. Does Raffi rock harder than Bono? Leave your votes below.

Now, the famed producer will take over Nathan Phillips Square, assembling a mass of musicians, screens, and speakers for his project “Late That Night at the Drive-In”. His new band Black Dub will provide the main soundtrack, in a sure-to-be-packed installation that promises to be the grandest album promo of the year.


Big O (2008)

Artist: Zilvinas Kempinas

Location: 333 Bay Street

Like MacGyver, artists can make something impactful using only the barest of ingredients. Take New Yorker Zilvinas Kempinas, whose installation “Big O” combines electric fans and unspooled videotape to create...a commentary on the unpredictability of movement? A critique of our careless treatment of old photographs? Unspooled videotape flying around in the air? You be the judge, Mr. and Mrs. Toronto Art Lover.


Meeting Point... (2004)

Artist: Iman Issa

Locations: 9 McGill Street (McGill Parkette behind 415 Yonge Street), 350 Victoria Street (Between Gerrard Street & Gould Street), 125 Bond Street (Alleyway South of Ryerson HEI Building), 66 Bond Street (Behind St.Michael's Choir School)

And the award for the installation title with the most convoluted over-explanation of its thematic purpose goes to: Meeting Point: After a planner whose search for new forms pays tribute to existing and familiar places.

Spread over four locations, the multiple structures, according to Nuit Blanche, “are suggestive of architectural proposals, any precision as to scale, geographical location or other logistical data is omitted, leaving the question of who is proposing these structures, where and why?” Well, I can give you the “where” pretty easily, but as to why, that’s up to the critics. Pictured below: a brown cuboid called “Platform”, that ironically we probably won’t be allowed to stand on top of.


Endgame (Coulrophobia) (2010)

Artist: Max Streicher

Location: Alleyway between 67 Yonge Street and 69 Yonge Street

We’re going to assume the title of Max Streicher’s alleyway installation is in reference to Samuel Beckett’s play of the same name, in which two clownish characters are trapped inside a building after some inexplicable disaster has destroyed the world around them. Bring the kids.

Streicher’s piece, while relatively static, does have its appeals. Nuit Blanche has become as much about all-night partying as art, so the idea of some drunkard waking up in the alley with two inflatable clown heads staring down at him is an irony Beckett might have appreciated.


Artists: Kent Monkman (Toronto, Canada), Gisèle Gordon (Toronto, Canada)  
Location: The Village of Yorkville Park, Cumberland Street and Bellair Street - The Rock

Multidisciplinary artist, Kent Monkman, unleashes his alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, in the heart of Yorkville, transforming the Yorkville Rock, a 650-tonne billion-year-old chunk of the Canadian shield, into the "pulsing heart of mother earth" - as the press materials say.  I hope there will be a little old school alchemy in this performance, but I imagine we'll be witness to a famous artist going tranny all over Yorkville, which is still a good thing.  


Artist: Phillip Beesley (Toronto, Canada)
Location: The Atrium on Bay, 595 Bay, at Dundas W.
Aurora is a blanket of undulating light - curtain-like layers of vertical cables carrying chains of microprocessor-driven lights - that picks up our kinetic energy and moves in accordance.  The flickering installation - an homage to the Northern Lights - is also, umm, pretty.  So, Aurora is both clever and accessible - a no-brainer that plays off the use of our brains.   


False Kraftwerk

Artist: Mark Laliberte (Toronto, Canada)
Location: Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor Street West

False Kraftwerk
is a performance piece that exploits the sound and feel of minimalist electronic troupe, Kraftwerk.  Using Kraftwerk as a base, the "performance" will consist of four uniform men staging "a human puppet show," not doing very much of anything.  "Men are the empty track in a techno-pop concert run by machines," says Laliberte.  The question is: Will they do enough to be the operators of their pocket calculators?  I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Erik Satie's Vexations
Artists: Martin Arnold (Toronto, Canada), Micah Lexier (Toronto, Canada)
Location: Brookfield Place

More like a labyrinth than a piece of music is turn of the century classical composer Erik Satie's Vexations.  The 18-hour, endlessly confusing composition has led many musicians to conquer the inexplicable formation, but none have done it quite like Arnold and Lexier.  The piece, played simultaneously on two pianos, contains a visual element that transforms the seemingly interminable piece into an actually interminable one. Everytime a sheet of music (printed on die-cut scored paper designed by Cybele Young) gets completed, two paper carriers take the 'recyclables' to the other end of the space. There, two volunteers fastidiously fold the music into stackable objects and place it in a 10-by-84 grid.  


Sight Unseen
Lee Ranaldo (New York, USA), Leah Singer (New York, USA) 
Location: Old City Hall, 60 Queen West, entrance at rear on Albert

Sonic Youth groupies may want to gather at the site of Sight Unseen to witness founding member, Lee Renaldo perform in front of his wife's film which will be projected on top of the wall.  Themes include "space," "transience," and anonymity." Yoko Much?   



If this rundown has yet to convince you to take to the white night; remember, Nuit Blanche is gratuit.

- Erin Hershberg and Jesse Skinner

1 Comments | Add a Comment
I'll pay whoever own's the Black Dub (Daniel Lanois) picture for the rights and a digital copy of it. I love this photo and would like to blow it up on canvas and hang by my guitars in the music room. Please respond to if interested or if you can help me out. Thanks! Best, Cliff
*Your Name:
*Enter code:
* Comment: