|End Game by Max Streicher|
Deb: We are so lucky in Toronto to have this wonderful Art Festival called Nuit Blanche, which literally means White Night, All Nighter, Sleepless Night (in French), or Light Night, which is my favourite name for it. Paris, Berlin and St. Petersburg still duke it out as to who actually founded Nuit Blanche. Clearly none of these cities has a functioning calendar! All I know is that Toronto was inspired by this wonderful Light Night and now we have our very own Nuit Blanche in its fifth year! It is a wonderous event for the urban explorer that goes from 7pm to 7am on one lucky October day. The city is jam-packed with hundreds if not thousands of art installations of every kind.
Barb and I have been Blanching together for four straight years now and it has become one of the highlights of our year. The latest we have ever made it to was 2:30am and we were thrilled ... I, who am usually in bed by 11. We have always vowed that although we might not make it all night (as if!) we would focus on what we saw and not what we didn’t see and as a result it has been an unusual, magical, stimulating experience.
|Stefanie's creation in her set|
Photo by Michele
This year included a special exciting feature. Barb’s lovely and talented daughters were involved in a fashion installation. Stefanie, a budding fashion designer, was selected to compete in a very select collection competition as one of the Ten Most Promising Designers, the theme of which was Belle Epoque. And Michele shot a film and several photographs to enhance the installation that housed Steffi’s modern, ethereal, romantic collection. We started our night at 6pm with Stef, and then moved on to the “official” installations around the city.
|Auto Lamp by Kim Adams|
When I started writing this Nuit “Blogue”, I was going to talk about the fact that after we got into the body of the night, we were a tad disappointed in this year’s effort. But I have changed my mind. I have decided to stay true to the feeling of Nuit Blanche and the fact that anything can happen, from the tiniest sound to the largest light installation. I also love the fact that there are official installations and fringe installations so you can get a taste of everything from successful world-renowned artists to the young artist with a vision making his or her statement. It is not the grandeur that I need judge, it’s how it touches our hearts and tickles our senses. So in that way, it did not disappoint at all this year, as I was still moved and titillated, and in awe. What I love the most about Nuit Blanche at any time is that it does not take itself too seriously. It has a great sense of humour and irony.
But for me, the best part of Nuit Blanche will never change. It will remain the same from year to year. And that thing that I adore, that I revel in, is the fact that our city becomes ART. The transformation for one special night that is Toronto in glorious sexy movement. Toronto the Good, Hogtown, comes alive and brings with it its citizens in all their unique global colours and traditions, and trots them out in a peaceful, exciting, moving event lasting just one Light Night. The audience as art.
|Deb and Luke in front of Arrivals/Departures|
by Michael Fernandes
Barbara: Funnily, Deb, I had a similar experience—first I was disappointed in this year’s event, which in the past has had so many incredibly magical moments that I vibrated with it for days afterward. And this year, there only seemed to be a few such experiences. And then I realized: this year, I was so wrapped up in Stefanie’s big moment that most of our evening was spent with her (both before and after her event) that I didn’t see nearly as many installations as I usually do. So, at first I realized my magic was really about sharing with my daughters their creative glory.
|Proud Mom and Stefanie|
Then I realized there was another magic experience: I ended up spending the evening primarily with my husband. You see, because this event is so precious to me, I have been loathe to share the night with too many people. You know how it is: for each extra person tagging along, there’s extra time catering to their needs (real or perceived) and less time just reveling in the art slash experience. Deb has been my perfect Artner-in-crime (couldn’t resist). She and I move symbiotically through the night and never complain about any of it, never hold each other up, and always seem to want to linger for the same amount of time. And of all the other people I could share the night with, I had the worst, most baddest feeling about sharing it with my husband (sorry, sweetie). Because I was so sure that if he of all people went with us, he would just spend the night whining about lines, crowds, bad art, bad breath, bad karma––no, stop me, not fair. Because he was an AWESOME Nuit Blanche partner. Hiking the city with me while everyone else left early, one by one, for various excellent reasons. He hung in there to the bitter (but relatively early) end (we had to get back to Stef to help tear down her set at 1am). And he was a real trouper. I had completely underestimated his stamina. And we had a bit a sweet romantic revelry. Even if we only had the chance to dabble for just a few short hours of Nuit Blanche when I usually get to explore for a huge 6-7 hours. This was an unexpected treat—where I learned the art of not underestimating the people I love.
So, Deb, like you, I was able to find my way back to realizing the magic of the evening. And, even if this sounds strange to some people, I too really REALLY enjoy the energy that radiates from hundreds of thousands of people thronging together.
As Nuit Blanche is so specific to a few areas, I wonder if any of you enjoy festivals with similar energy, or if this kind of thing goes completely against your grain?