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Monday, September 25, 2017

The top 20 exhibits to check out at Nuit Blanche 2017

Nuit Blanche 2017 in Toronto might once again lack the corporate backing its enjoyed in the past, but the curators have embraced this situation with programming that celebrates the revolutionary spirit and fierce independence that often accompanies artistic creation. This is the year that Nuit Blanche commemorates protest as an art form.

Here are my picks for must-see exhibits at Nuit Blanche 2017.

Zone: Monument to the Century of Revolutions

The Village Print Shop

This interactive exhibit by the Justseeds Artists' Collective takes place in one of the many shipping containers stacked in Nathan Phillips Square. A makeshift silk screen studio will be used to create banners, t-shirts, and posters that can be pasted around the city or taken home as souvenirs. 

nuit blanche toronto 2017
Monument to (Im)mobilization

Tings Chak uses a 1:1 scale installation to represent a maximum security prison cell. The space explores audio, textual artifacts and physical space to incite oppression and immobilization. 

Toronto Through Sound

LAL's sound installation highlights the unknown and disappearing histories of Toronto's neighbourhoods in a 10 minute soundscape. Neighbourhoods include Chinatown,  Little Italy, Little Bangladesh and Kensington Market, to name just a few.

Zone: Taking to the Streets


You'll hear this sound installation before you see it, as a series of cars pump out bass-heavy music on powerful interconnected sound systems orchestrated by Joe Namy under the Wellesley Street Bridge at Queens Park. Expect this one to be a popular stop over the course of the night.

nuit blanche toronto 2017

Dream Variations

For an entirely different experience, head to U of T's Faculty of Music for Abbas Akhavan and Kristina Lee Podesva's invitation to take a bit of respite on cots laid out throughout the building. The pillows and coverings have been prepared by newcomer women in collaboration with the Toronto-based chapter of Mes Amis Canada / Darzee.

Won't Back Down

This all-night performance features artists, activists, and rotating live DJ sets at Queens Park atop a flatbed truck. Inspired by the March 26, 2016 Black Lives Matter events at Toronto Police Headquarters, this series of performances celebrates activism, community bonds, and reanimates lost histories.  

Zone: Life on Neebahgeezis

Serpent People

Through the power of storytelling, Aanmitaagzi Company uses a series of sculptural installations, theatrical performances, and a 15-foot puppet to explore our relationship with consumption.

nuit blanche toronto 2017

Laxa'ine' gigukwdzikasi' gigukwas Hayaliligase', The Many Large Houses of the Ghosts

Marianne Nicolson's ghost stories recall the supernatural spirit world.  Her animated projection on the clock tower at Old City Hall exposes the haunting of institutional buildings as symbolic of Toronto's (and the nation's) history.  

Zone: Calculating Upon the Unforeseen


Exploring the peculiar cultural and geographic dynamics of the embassy as a home in another home, this makeshift structure built by Cedric Bomford and Verena Kaminiarz is meant to represent a perpetual state of becoming, where viewers must actively imagine its completion as a political and social project akin to our own political ideologies.

nuit blanche toronto 2017


The AGO's Walker Court comes to life for Nuit Blanche with Will Kwan's interactive performance piece that involves the use of a "human microphone" through which participants will amplify a series of messages and stories related to the passage of time.

Special Projects


Brian Leitch aka KWEST, uses recycled clothing and textiles from H&M to create an artistic piece. The garments become a symbol of the ways in which people and things are rejected or thrown away. Expect a wild scene at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Major Institutions

EDIT: Prosperity for All

Quite possibly the most intriguing venue for Nuit Blanche this takes place in collaboration with the EDIT Festival at the old Unilever soap factory at East Harbour. You can explore the first floor of the old industrial site with an installation that imagines a future world.

edit festival toronto

Meeting - Place

Artscape Youngplace is turned into an immersive gallery for Nuit Blanche this year with a series of exhibits organized around the theme of communal experience. This could be a prime place to stop in the event that you need to warm up or dry off as it's all indoors.

Fly By Night

It's going to be party central at the Gladstone Hotel during Nuit Blanche, but even better, the second floor studios will play host to a series of installations and exhibits by Nicole Beno, Tori Fleming , Joel Ong, Elizabeth Milton, Whyishnave Suthagar, and Yifat Shaik.

Independent Projects


Experience a world surrounded by endless stars! Stretching across an alleyway on Camden Street, F_RM lab digitally generates stars on an undulating canopy. Audiences are placed between two worlds: fantasy and the stark reality of a light polluted sky. 

nuit blanche toronto 2017

Warm Up To Me

This sound and visual installation provides personal narratives of residents from six Toronto neighbourhoods. Warm Up To Me Collective explores people's memories of place and how stories can connect each one of us both locally and globally. 

Layered Cities 

Want to create your own unique visual experience of life in the city?  Immerse yourself in the layers of images in this new media installation by Anne Hanrahan, a maze-like configuration that shifts with each audience's movement through the space. 

X,Y, and Zed

Eight boxes reveal the individual experiences of eight Glory Hole Gallery artists. Look through the holes to see the world from a different perspective. 

Speculating in Futures

Visit the lawn of a century-old high school where you'll be surrounded by tarot cards, fortune-tellers, and popular activities like the Japanese gambling game "pachinko." This unique installation by visual arts students at UTS uses icons of "luck," "fortune," and "determination" as allegories of migration and settlement. 

Special Events

Hendrick’s Gin Hot Air Balloon

For the best perspective on all the action taking place at Nuit Blanche this year, the Hendrick's Hot Air Balloon will be the place to be. Hovering at almost 45 feet above Nathan Phillips Square and covered in cucumber-themed art, this is will be a spectacle worthy of Nuit Blanche.

You'll have to apply for a chance to get on the balloon, which you can do on the website or by visiting the following restaurants and bars: Alo, Civil Liberties, Pure Spirits Oyster House, Pinkerton's Snack Bar, Cluny, Cocktail Bar, DaiLo, Pretty Ugly, and Patois.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

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