October is nearly here and for Toronto's contemporary art enthusiasts that means it's time for Nuit Blanche, Toronto's immersive 12-hour contemporary art festival. On October 4th, Nuit Blanche will take over the downtown core from 6:53pm until sunrise and turn the city into one huge indoor/outdoor art gallery. Art enthusiasts can catch sculpture, performance art, interactive installations, videography and more all across downtown. And for those who, like me, get just as excited by the culinary arts, they'll have plenty of food trucks scattered along the way. (I'll be keeping an eye out for Fidel Gastro and The Food Dudes.)
With over 125 separate exhibits it's almost impossible to figure out what to see. Instead of my usual wander-around-and-stumble-on-some-art approach, this year I've put together an advance list of five pieces I plan to check out.
Ame Henderson, current artist-in-residence at the AGO and experimental choreographer, examines the relationship between creative process and performance by presenting a public rehearsal. By inviting viewers to witness her process that process becomes its own performance. Performed inside the Art Gallery of Ontario, Henderson seeks to "engage with archival and anecdotal histories of live art", suggesting that the venue itself is a performer in this piece (www.scotiabanknuitblanche.com). 317 Dundas St West
The Death of Queen West
While living across from the Drake Hotel, filmmaker Adam Bialo documented the shifting landscape of the neighbourhood and the construction of the now ubiquitous West Queen West condos. This short film installation, filmed between 2009 and Bialo's eviction in 2011, also highlights the loss of the artist's home. Bialo's loft was demolished in 2011 to make way for a new kind of Toronto neighbourhood. This five minute film will play on a loop at the Gladstone Hotel from 7pm to 7am. 1214 Queen St W; Studio 208
Labour of Love
If you find yourself wandering along Queen West, keep an eye out for ten individual video installations disguised as utility access doors. Artist Kaitlynn McQueston has created a series of videos which explore the relationship between the textures of an urban landscape and the fabric of her own body. This is an interactive exhibit, with each video playing only when a viewer finds and opens the right access door. Queen St West between Niagara St. and Ossington Ave.
The Empress Dowager (she enters and fondly remembers her youth)
Ensemble Jeng Yi draws on traditional Korean performance art to create original pieces. For Nuit Blanche, they are attempting to perform an all night, 12-hour, extravaganza of Korean dance, music, and drumming. Presented in the Church of the Redeemer, Ensemble Jeng Yi promises viewers a marriage of ritual, theatre, tradition, and contemporary performance. 162 Bloor St West.
Body of War
Presented in the Fort York Armoury, Body of War by Isabel Rocamora's, charts the journey from man to solider. Through her film, Rocamora contemplates the toll that the nurture of violence and the acceptance of killing can take on the human mind. The film contrasts physical combat with veteran testimonials and sets them both against the backdrop of the Normandy Beaches. 660 Fleet St
So there you have it: my five picks for Nuit Blanche 2014. What exhibits are you planning to see? Leave me a note in the comments with your suggestions!
For more information on Nuit Blanche including full event listings, maps, and where to find food and drink visit: www.scotiabanknuitblanche.com