From dusk till dawn on Saturday, Sept. 30, downtown Toronto will be transformed with over 110 contemporary art projects by hundreds of artists from around the world. It is all part of Nuit Blanche.
With so much to see and do, here is a short list of School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) projects that will be sure to capture the imagination.
Dance student Sophie Dow is one of many voices in Will Kwan’s The Forest, a performance that plays with the force and fragility of the human voice and the capacity for words to establish bonds between people across time and space at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) at 317 Dundas Street West in Toronto.
Inspired by the low-tech ingenuity of the “human microphone,” which is a technique used to amplify speech in public gatherings that has been popularized by activists to circumvent restrictions on the use of amplified public address devices, performers carry the messages of a speaker, voice to voice, through the gathered audience. Occupying and emanating from the centre of the AGO, the words and stories that flow through the “microphone” will reflect on expanded conceptions of time and human evolution, while embodying a slowness that resists contemporary temporal frameworks.
Computational Arts Professor Joel Ong’s Aeolian Traces is an immersive installation that utilizes a hybridization of data harvesting, physical installation, algorithmic composition and spatial sound. He is one of six artists in The Gladstone Hotel’s Fly By Night in the hotel’s second floor studios public space at 1214 Queen Street West in Toronto.
The piece explores the notions of home and transience especially within today’s context of globalism, migration and cultural nomadism. Presented through a combination of a multi-channel sound diffusion system and an eight-channel DC motor fan setup, the piece creates wind currents in a gallery space triggered/controlled by human migration data. Visitors are invited to interact with the system by including personal travel histories through an interface that dynamically aggregates and alters the installation’s audio-visual contents. An ephemeral installation of sound and wind, the piece proposes human movement as an ambient and critically ‘natural’ medium.
Two of Nuit Blanche’s four curators for the city-produced exhibitions are AMPD alumni from the Department of Visual Arts & Art History.
Barbara Fischer (MA ’99), executive director/chief curator of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the University of Toronto Art Centre as well as a professor in curatorial studies at the University of Toronto, curates Taking to the Streets located Queen’s Park and University of Toronto.
In her curatorial statement, Fisher writes: “Even in the normal course of everyday life, streets are complex sites. When social justice movements succeed, the street becomes the primordial site to celebrate and remember–such as in annual festivals like May Day and Pride. When there is no justice the street becomes the place where we rally and throw our voice together in a show of force. Festival and protest meet in the street. And art is associated with both, remembering by way of images, words, whispered histories, or monuments, the points where anger and power clash.”
Maria Hupfield (MFA ’04), a member of Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario who is currently based in Brooklyn, New York, is an artist and co-owner of Native Art Department International, curates Life on Neebahgeezis; A Luminous Engagement on Bay Street between Albert Street and King Street, over to Queen Street and University Avenue
Hupfield states in her curatorial statement: “The moon provides the gift of a cosmic perspective by connecting all of our relations both human and non, through the seasons, land and water, beyond the body without discrimination. In an act of solidarity building, five artists from across Canada indigenize the Toronto downtown financial district to make space for new possibilities and future imaginings. Informed by lived experience, diverse cultural knowledge and creative vision, the projects signal resilience while this sphere in the sky watches over us, luminous, glowing, timeless; everlasting life. An Anishinaabe interpretation and tribute to the late David Bowie’s song Life on Mars – a critique of entertainment, ‘neebahgeezis’ is one word in the Anishinaabe language for ‘moon’.”
For more on Nuit Blanche, visit https://nbto.com/.