Not to knock the many talented video artists involved in the “free all-night contemporary art thing” that is Nuit Blanche, but as students, we already spend enough time staring at screens. The night’s most successful, and memorable, past events have typically been those that eschewed visual projections in favour of community interaction and spontaneous audience participation. And anything where people do crazy shit.
Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent
Toronto Eaton Centre—inside the north entrance
SW corner of Yonge and Dundas
American artists Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao transform various styles of tents and nomadic structures into wearable garments. Read: clothes you can literally live in.
Toronto Coach Terminal – 610 Bay St.
Satisfy your Nuit Blanche bloodlust with a blindfolded cage-fight! Shaun “El Conquistador” Leonardo (artist and trained fighter) and “19 elite pro-wrestlers” will duke it out until one man is left standing, but no worries: after 7 p.m., audience members are invited to play along! And yes, this event has been listed as suitable for all ages.
4 LETTER WORD MACHINE
Toronto City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square
100 Queen St. W.
Suspended 65 metres in the air between the City Hall towers, four seven-square-metre alphanumeric quartz lamp arrays will display codes, DNA sequences, and elemental words. In other words, giant glowing messages will be floating IN THE AIR! This is almost like a projection, but it’s so damn cool we at The Varsity simply don’t care.
Le Grand Peep Show by Corpus
The Stables of Casa Loma
328 Walmer Rd.
This is true conceptual art: two human marionettes dressed in black PVC bodysuits “perform an unusual courtship ritual” inside a large peep-show tent constructed in the Casa Loma Stables. The two will communicate solely through touch, from sunset to sunrise, to the sounds of carnival music. Combined with a lack of sleep, this event promises to be an engaging, borderline-hallucinatory experience.
BOUNCING BRIDE: What Goes Down Must Go Up
Music Gallery Courtyard
197 John St.
A cheesy wedding DJ dance party combined with a mini trampoline and a performance artist dressed like a bride may not be everyone’s idea of a fun time, but even those who opt out of “playing groom” atop the bouncing bride’s 10-foot wedding cake might enjoy taking a break on this installation’s memory foam “bottom cake layer” lounge.
Eastern Wall of Fresh and Wild Patio, Distillery Lane, Building 32,
55 Mill St.
Embrace your inner exhibitionist with this interactive exhibit that encourages visitors to anonymously text a secret from their cell phones and take their photos at one of the event’s custom photo booths. Secrets will be randomly paired with audience photos and displayed for all to see.
Outside Union Station
Corner of Bay and Front (lower level)
Visitors are invited to enter portable toilets filled with “unlikely materials and scents” intended to conjure a surreal sensory experience.
The Apology Project
Liberty Market Building Atrium Corridor, West
171 East Liberty St., Hanna Street Entrance
Creative and quintessentially Toronto, this event features a cluster of 55 people wearing large brown paper bags who will congest a public hallway and personally apologize to every person venturing through them. As the event description puts it, “time will become a device that at once tests the physical limits of the performers and also testifies to their will to be obnoxious and continue to maintain a disruptive posture even though they are physically exhausted.”
A SULTRY WORLD
1 Pardee Ave., Studio #1
Japanese performance artist Norico Sunayama invites you to go under her skirt—literally. The artist will be wearing a huge velvet scarlet dress and poised on a three-metre-high chair. The drapery of her flowing skirt will produce the “sensory chamber” within.
Dance of the Cranes
Liberty Towers Construction Site
East Liberty and Pirandello
Not your usual dance-off, this collaborative performance piece consists of 13-minute choreographed dances performed by two high-rise construction cranes at the beginning of every hour, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.