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2007 10 04
Nuit Blanche 2007
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After last year’s rainy haze and cool temperatures on the night of Nuit Blanche 2006, I vowed to be prepared. Thanks to the warm temperatures however, I only needed two of the six layers of clothing which I brought with me. The addition this year of a flask of Jamesons and some dark chocolate covered raisins on the other hand, was most invigorating.

I found seven exhibits to be terribly interesting:


31 Baldwin Street to Beverley and Cecil Streets
By: McKendree Key (Brooklyn, NY)
Polish Combatants’ Association @ 206 Beverley St


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Seeing this exhibit, you can’t help but feel somewhat dislocated. Literally. In front of the imposing Polish Combatant’ Association building on Beverley St lay the contents of 31 Baldwin St, exactly as they would appear inside the home. So overtly bringing the private into the public appeared to make people a bit uneasy; was it ok to touch the bed? Examine the contents of shelves? Foucault has spoken about the idea of internal policing, in which societal norms become so embedded that we eventually enforce these ideas ourselves, without any further external enforcement being necessary. This certainly appeared to be the case at this installation: I saw no one sit in the chairs or on the bed. We did not know the ‘owner’ of this home, and we weren’t quite sure if we were even invited in; we couldn’t possibly sit down.

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The ‘blueprint’ of the living room lying on the kitchen table gave the sense that this surreal scene could be recreated, room by room, anywhere. The realization that this was indeed true was somewhat startling.


Midnight Mirage
By: Vessna Perunovich (Toronto)
Anne Tanenbaum Gallery School Parking Lot @60 McCaul St.



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This installation was the most peaceful and calming of the entire night. It was also the simplest. With a soothing cricket chirping audio loop in the background, a tranquil group of people dressed in white shirts dined at a white clad candlelit table, quietly passing around dishes and chatting. They were so engaged, and appeared to be so enjoying themselves that I felt as if I were hiding out in the bushes of a well appointed home, peeking in at a convivial meal amongst friends. The dishes were handled with great care - even reverence – and every statement started with a smile. It is well to be reminded of the power of a simple meal (a Serbian bread and bean dish) shared with friends during this harvest season.


Transformed by Imagination
Group Exhibition
OCAD



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Approaching the OCAD building, we were confronted by disco-worthy and truly over the top decorations, with projected faces speaking. Without audio. The result was a huge crowd all wondering the same thing: what are those people saying? Over and over, different faces would appear in front of a pink fun fur background for about 15 seconds and mouth a few words. “They’re all saying the same thing: ‘I love you’”, a helpful fellow informed me. A woman hearing our conversation added that anyone could go into a booth behind the decorations and give themselves a few seconds of fame. Simple concept, great execution. Seeing how different people expressed this most commonplace of all phrases, without the distraction of tone of voice, was a study in body language.

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End of the Party Party
AGO
317 Dundas St. West


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How does Toronto’s premier art institution celebrate what is becoming the biggest art event of the year? By allowing people to say goodbye to their favourite AGO exhibits for eight months, while the ongoing rehaul continues. Seeing a room full of indie kids and art geeks cutting and pasting construction paper was a heartening sight – you’re never too old or too cool for construction paper.

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The dance party was stunningly unoriginal however – drag queens dancing to disco wearing feather boas? Something a tad more subversive would have been in order.


ThunderEgg Alley: A Dumpster Diver’s Paradise
By: Swintak
Alley behind College St. and Spadina Ave.


Fantastic concept – make a mock 5-star resort out of dumpster-dived materials. When we finally found the correct alleyway though, it was far too crowded to get a good look. I did get a momentary peek at one of the ‘suites’ – which really did look quite elegant with opulent dark furniture, navy blue dumpster walls and seductively understated lighting – and what I believe was the ‘spa room’, with its mock pedicures and manicures. Although its popularity made for difficult viewing, the commentary on the conspicuous consumption begotten by hypercapitalism came through loud and clear.


Talking Trees Exhibit
LEAF and Toronto Tree Tours
Corner of Augusta and Oxford in Kensington Market



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Everyone has a favourite tree, right? LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) and Toronto Tree Tours invited passerby to write fan letters to their favourite trees, and put them up on a clothesline for all to see. The letters ran the gamut from friendly tree greetings to sensuous tree love, and effectively demonstrated that Torontonians love our trees for many reasons. All the letters will be available on the Toronto Tree Tours site in the next month or so.

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And if you’re interested in urban forestry issues or just want to meet and greet others who love Toronto’s trees, come out for a pint at LEAF’s inaugural monthly LEAFy Drinks at the Victory Café on Thursday October 4th.


The most unexpected exhibit of the night involved a huge paper crane (origami style) sitting in the middle of Beverley St. No sooner did I snap a couple shots, when two people came running up, grabbed the bird, and stating that it was time to fly away, ran down the street, bird in arms. That’s a moment I won’t forget for a while. Although I think that this was a mobile exhibit running throughout Zone B, I can’t be sure that it was an actual Nuit Blanche event.

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This is what I love most about Nuit Blanche. Because you expect to see both the unexpected and the ordinary, you find yourself noticing things you otherwise may not. The young woman reading a magazine at a streetcar stop…..the outlandishly dressed old man…..are these official installations, or just brief glimpses into the lives of random Torontonians? More importantly: does it matter? This city is constantly in flux, and always surprising. Keep that Nuit Blanche attitude 365 nights a year; you won’t be disappointed.

Liza Badaloo fervently wishes that Toronto had more late night events supported by late night subway service.

All images by Liza Badaloo

[email this story] Posted by Liza Badaloo on 10/04 at 03:40 AM

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