Over 400 artists participated in this year's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, creating more than 120 exhibitions which were scattered throughout Toronto. Though the all-night art spectacle has ended—mostly—the essence of the event has been captured in hundreds of photos taken by the hundreds of thousands of revelers that walked the streets from Saturday evening to Sunday morning.
The event featured over 80 installations by independent artists in addition to 48 projects produced by the City of Toronto. Split into four separate exhibition spaces, visitors had a chance to explore a variety of artworks throughout the downtown core, well within walking distance to each other. Five UrbanToronto photographers, including myself, went strolling through it all and came back with lots of photos. Below are some of our favourites. Click on any of them to see them larger!
The Fort York area was teeming with activity as curator Magda Gonzalez-Mora brought the area to life with the exhibition space Before Day Break. One of the interactive installations, Open Mind by Yoan Capote, invited people to walk through a maze of steel fencing. When viewed from above the piece resembles the human brain, with those walking through the maze acting as neurons firing within. UrbanToronto will be delving deeper into this project—one of several which are still on display—in another story coming up soon.
Between Doors by Labspace Studio's John Loerchner and Laura Mendes asked people to continually make choices. Faced with a set of doorways, participants chose which one to enter. Upon entering the doorway of their choice, participants were faced with another line of doors and another and so on. The choices of each person were then tracked and visualized on a large screen, making this installation one of the most interactive of the night.
One of the independent projects that garnered attention was Kaleidoscopic by David + David. Set up at CityPlace's Canoe Landing Park, a giant kaleidoscope lit up the area and invited people to take in its bright images.
Canoe Landing Park is also home to the Red Canoe by Douglas Coupland. The piece of art accompanies several other permanent artworks on the site of Concord CityPlace, Canada's largest collection in fact, such as the Puente de Luz bridge spanning over the rail tracks. Concord ArtSpace invited people to see this "outdoor museum" and visit the CityPlace presentation centre to learn more about the artists and their works.
Spadina Avenue was hopping with activity as Dominique Fontaine's exhibition space The possibility of everything took over Chinatown and Queen West. The night's most visible installation, Global Rainbow by Yvette Mattern, lit up the sky above Spadina. The piece projected colourful laser beams of light from a Chinatown parking garage to the CN Tower, making for some highly unique shots of the city. Those who missed it are in luck however, as this project will continue to light the sky until October 13.
At Spadina and Grange Avenue, BLACK SUN by Alexandre Arrechea transformed a blank building wall into a projection of a large wrecking ball which represented fragility and loss as it violently swung back and forth.
Also on Spadina, By Means of a Sigh by Chloé Lefebvre and Jean Dubois asked viewers to call the provided number and blow into their phone, controlling the breathing of two people blowing bubble gum on a large screen, until the inevitable burst.
Made in China by Maria Ezcurra, comprised of clothing appropriately made in China and donated by the Chinese community in Toronto, stretched three storeys above the Spadina sidewalk. Hanging above an empty space between buildings, the piece represents the connection between Western and Eastern society.
One of the most colourful projects lit up the grounds of Ogden Junior Public School on Phoebe Street just east of Spadina. Walk among Worlds by Máximo González consisted of 7,000 beach balls painted to represent Earth, with each globe representing one million people. The globes come in three sizes, reflecting the differences between the "first" and "third" worlds. The changing colours of the installation attracted thousands of people, proving to be one of the most popular artworks on display.
Moving down Queen Street West, Coalesce by Lizz Aston transformed the H&M storefront with recycled garments as part of H&M's Garment Collecting initiative.
The massive crowds provided great opportunities for local buskers to perform. Queen Street West was overflowing with people who gathered around to take in the talents of these performers.
Moving further along Queen, Marcos Zotes transformed the parking lot at Soho into a vibrant labyrinth with AMAZE. Visitors were invited to find their way through a maze of scaffolding while light and sound effects overtook the space.
Walking along Queen West, one of the largest pieces of artwork this year becomes visible. Hovering over Queen and John, Gap Ecology by David Brooks consisted of seven cherry pickers filled with palm trees. Acting as a metaphor of the changing built and natural environment, the many unique perspectives of the piece provided photographers with some great opportunities.
At Duncan and Queen, Shy Lights by Nathan Whitford featured six beams of light moving to avoid illuminating the participants below. The artwork became a game of cat and mouse, with people trying to catch the light before it moved to an adjacent empty space.
Nathan Phillips Square is always bustling with people during Nuit Blanche and this year was no exception. Curator Heather Pesanti presented Performance Anxiety, an exhibition of performance-based projects at City Hall.
HALFLIFE by Shasti O'Leary-Soudant released one hundred "carriers" throughout the city to test participants for the "HALFLIFE virus" by using UV reactive ink markers. The piece represents the human fear of apocalyptic events and also emphasizes both desired and unwanted human connection.
Lighting up the square with a large video screen was the Monument to North American Energy Security by the CanAmerican Energy Arts Team. Consisting of two large oil barrels connected by a pipeline, the piece represents Canadian-American energy independence while the fountain's waters beg the question of its cost.
Just west of Nathan Phillips Square, Luigi Ferrara's The Garden of Renova utilized coloured bathroom tissue to create a space resembling a garden, inviting people to walk through the "earthly paradise".
Michael Oatman and Brian Kane overtook Union Station with 8th Wonder, a large monster of a sculpture accompanied by varying sounds echoed throughout the atrium of the hall.
The last of the four exhibition areas, Denise Markonish's The Night Circus was located on and around Bremner Boulevard in the Southcore district of the city.
Wild Air Vision Electro by Gene Pendon and Marisa Gallemit transformed two vehicles through a variety of materials including paint and lighting. One vehicle becoming the "adventure" vehicle and the other the "high-tech" vehicle, the colours of the piece played well with the lighting of the CN Tower above.
Possibly the most mesmerizing project of the night was HOLOSCENES by Lars Jan. It featured a large glass box filled with twelve tons of water as performers inside carried out everyday activities, such as reading the newspaper and cooking ramen.
Though we cannot show all of the installations, the video below captures some of the sights and sounds of Nuit Blanche.
video by Craig White
Though the night-long event is now over and the streets have been taken back by cars, the speculation and excitement begins as people wonder what is in store for the 10th annual Nuit Blanche in 2015. There is no doubt however that UrbanToronto will be there and we hope you will be too.
Did you attend Nuit Blanche this year? What did you think of the exhibits? Let us know by leaving a comment in the field below. If you have photos of the event, you can contribute them to this thread.