Nuit Blanche

Only one more sleep until Toronto’s all night art event Nuit Blanche! Despite the unfortunate corporatization of this event over the years, I still get giddy seeing the city transformed into an open art forum for one crazy night. Mobs of art-hungry citizens fill the streets, exploring unknown alleys, basement and other crannies that otherwise go unnoticed. The fact that it happens until 5 in the morning adds to the carnivalesque surrealness of it all. This is the first year that I will be taking part in the festivities and I am SO HAPPY about it. Here’s what’s up:

I’m starting the night right in the East end of town. My pal Stefan Berg has curated an awesome pop-up show of over 25 artists at a warehouse space at 138 Main Street (at Gerrard). The Closing Reception is from 7 to 9pm (RSVP: margie@tuneology.ca to add your name on the guest list) and will feature local live music (There is also an open house during the day from 11 to 3, also with music). I made my biggest linocut ever for this show: 18×24″ block. There were definitely some difficult moments (tears) but I’m really happy with the final result. I got to play a lot with pattern and movement (and narrative as usual). Here’s a little detail:

As the night moves on, I’ll be taking part in Redhead Gallery’s Insomnia (Redux) event. Redhead has asked members of the public to contribute a two-dimensional something (old photo, painting, magazine page, found image, whatever)($25 submission fee required) that will be hung in the gallery during NB and remixed by the participating artists. I’m collecting some really great collage materials to bring with me! The contributor of the original piece will have the option to keep the new, remixed work of art or have it sold and collect the profit$. I will be collaging and drawing it up from 10-11pm (and maybe longer) if you want to see me at work. Redhead Gallery is located in Suite 115 on the ground floor of 401 Richmond. There will be plenty going on at 401 so be sure to make it a part of your Nuit Blanche circuit!

After some exploring of my own, I will be heading over to the Gladstone Hotel for the Madeline Colelctive’s 12 Hr. Zine Machine event. Between 2-3am, I will be working my buns off with Aviva, Jess and Melody from Static Zine to produce a zine in one hour based on ideas contributed by the audience.

Nuit Blanche Static Zine Cover

Here’s the cover I drew for our zine! (We were asked to make in advance/No, I don’t have a time machine)

I love that both of these events require spur of the moment inspiration and the involvement of the audience. To me, the whole point of Nuit Blanche is to provide opportunities for interaction between “artists” and “non-artists” (false dichotomy, everyone is an artist). I wish there was more hands-on involvement from the audience, but seeing as how the audience of this event has grown to fantastical proportions, I can see how, from an organizer’s standpoint, it makes sense to limit the pool of contributors.

Whatever criticism might be lobbed against this event, I still remember the magic of my first year and it seems every year, wether I’ve scour the city til the wee hours of morning or limit my explorations to 1 hour in 3 square blocks, I experience something that inspires me for years to come. Here’s one of my favourite memories from  of this event.

2007Play by Hear by Science and Sons

A beautiful installation where audience members activated the sculture by placing any music playing device (mp3 players and music-playing phones) over the small silver discs at the edge of the podium (seen in the bottom right corner of the image below) and the sound was amplified and played out of one of the trumpet-like protrusions. The magic of this piece was how interactive it was and how each person could bring their own personal meaning to it (by contributing music that was personally significant to them) and how these meanings combined to form something else. It was interactive, but a lot more personally interactive than many interactive installations I’ve seen at Nuit Blanche of the “walk by a sensor and the light show will change” variety. I played some Leonard Cohen and Edith Piaf’s “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien”, which was chilling projected loud and warbled across the CAMH grounds.

Image courtesy of Everyspoon‘s flickr

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