This weekend, like almost one million other Torontonians, we had a chilly night out on the town for Nuit Blanche 2011. To be discovered that night? More than 134 art projects that were presented and curated throughout several parts of the city including City Hall, Zone A, Zone B and Zone C. Among the many local, national and international artists that we saw, here are a few that definitely caught our eye:
One of our favourite parts of Nuit Blanche is stumbling across delightful and unexpected installations, such as we did with Limelight: Saturday night. The concept is simple – two streetlights are replaced with theatre spotlights. Like many exhibits this year, Limelight depends upon the interaction of passers-by in order to succeed. As it was quite late at this time, the crowd was relatively sparse. We took a quick twirl under the lights and then continued on our way.
|Limelight: Saturday Night. Image via Blog TO.|
The Heart Machine was an extremely popular exhibit, partly because it was just so warm (a key component to survival this year). Appropriately debuted at Burning Man in 2010, The Heart Machine was made of of 4 “arteries” attached to sensors that when touched, caused flames to shoot up 25 feet in the air. From what we could tell, not all the sensors were connected. Participants were forced to interact with the machine in various ways to make it work. Flame bursts were sporadic and made our heats skip a beat a couple times.
There were a number of standout projects in Zone C this year. Perennial favourite, the Drake Hotel lit up West Queen West with a larger-than-life balloon clown covering the side of the building. Further west at the corner of Queen and Dufferin was Xxi Collective’s The Athanor and the Stone. We were sold on its interest on magic’s role in art and loved the combination of performance and installation. We don’t know how they did it, but we loved how the air was filled with the scent of lavender!
Our favourite exhibit of the night was The Happiness Project: In the House. The studio was transformed by a team of artists who each interpreted a song from Charles Spearin’s album.
Each space was interactive and unique. Ideas ranged from eating a fresh chocolate-covered marshmallow, dipping your hand into water to increase the intensity of a song and having your face projected onto a wall. The Happiness Project was fun and playful, exactly what Nuit Blanche should be. We had a great night filled with inspiration and fun with friends. Until next year, #snb2011.