Saturday night was Toronto’s fourth annual Nuit Blanche, described by sponsor Scotiabank as a “massive participatory celebration of contemporary art.”
Unfortunately, I’ve never had the opportunity to attend Nuit Blanche in person. Last weekend was the closest I’ve come, driving through Toronto on Saturday afternoon and again that evening, but I was shuttling the kids from our place in London (Ontario) to a birthday celebration at their grandparents just outside of Toronto, then racing back to London to drop my daughter off in time for a sleepover birthday party. Basically, two birthday parties and six hours of driving within a nine hour window. Needless to say, tantalizing close as we were, no Nuit Blanche 2009 for me.
However, in these times of social media, ubiquitous cellphone cameras and the like, there have been plenty of resources available online to follow the crowds and view the 130 official exhibits. Among the highlights of this year’s event was a light show featuring the CN Tower (if we’d driven through the city just a little later that night, we should have been able to see this one even from highway 401), midway rides in the financial district (symbolic of the past year’s economic chaos perhaps?) and games of Monopoly played with real money. That’s real Canadian currency, mind you; no snickering from the US contingent. With the city’s artistic and creative side on full display and a party atmosphere, photographers were out in droves. The bright lights and darkness make for challenging conditions, but there were enough really cool shots and descriptive updates out there to allow the rest of us to enjoy the show vicariously, and sometimes even in real time.
Case in point, the photo above, by Gregory White of Gregory White Photography does a great job of capturing a group, including kids, at a giant Lite Brite-like display. Nite Lite used stained and lit water bottles to draw awareness to environmental issues with plastics. It’s pretty cool when something like this works on multiple levels: fascination for the kids, a brilliantly lit pop-culture influenced art installation and an environmental message all rolled into one
If, like me, you missed Nuit Blanche 2009 in Toronto, watch the web site for info on scheduling for 2010.