Cool, alright. Temperatures were above zero but gusts of wind through skyscraper canyons were so strong they were scary. Danica and I tried to cheat and started out around 4:00 p.m., in a bit of drizzle.
Nuit Blanche starts at sunset. When the Power Plant gallery opened, we got in to see an astonishing spectacle … 30,000 black paper moths clinging to high walls and beams. Outside, a colonnade of wind-inflated, fabric smokestacks danced crazily. Streamers at the top represented smoke. You know those bobbing King Kongs that draw attention to used car lots? Like that.
For Nuit Blanche events, “you really have to be there,” as the cliché goes. Photographs don’t do much for projection displays of video. Even Quicktime movies would fail to capture the immersive experience of being in and around a spatial installation.
This is good. If Nuit Blanche could be televised, fewer people would get out into it. Mingling with the milling crowds is part of the show.
Easy copying has forced pop musicians to create concert events for their income. Nuit Blanche demonstrates that the other arts must also push into the event space. A newspapers asks, “is it an art festival or a street party?” Both, of course.
Dance, sound, lights, reflections, projections, mechanical movement and electronic wizardry. A 21st century expansion and extension of hippie Happenings … more mainstream now, and sponsored by a bank!
We used a TTC Day Pass to get around to Queens Quay, Spadina, Bay Street and City Hall. On streets closed to traffic, we legged it. Our 7 hours included a stop for dinner, but even if we had pushed harder, we could never have seen even half of the sites.
The crowd before midnight was a mixture of age groups, with young families and younger singles making up the majority. Behaviour that we saw was good.
Motorists gridlocked dedicated streetcar lanes at every intersection but we saw no traffic enforcement. That needs to change.
One of our favourite venues was 401 Richmond Street West, even though many of the studios and projects on display were not on the official Nuit Blanche list. We found galleries, workshops, videos and even a brainwave feedback display in there. That multi-storey building is worth a visit any time, but especially on Nuit Blanche.