Nuit Bland

Last night was Nuit Blanche Toronto*. I didn’t get it. Of course I had a great time with the group I went with but the streets were SO crowded and I never could figure out what exactly was drawing such a huge crowd. Technically most of it was installation art but unless I asked one of the (very well-informed and relatively easy to find: check Scotiabank) volunteers I had absolutely NO IDEA what the point was of most exhibits.

Case in point: giant black puddle of vodka with change thrown in to it lying in a schmancy building on Bay St. Any takers?
My initial interpretations:
-Throwing our dreams/wishes into liquid brain toxification
-Looking for fulfillment in the wrong place
-Donating money to the Ontario government
The real one:
Apparently we were supposed to stare into it and contemplate….the financial crisis. Ooooh. The metaphor was that vodka = power (currency or exchange) in many places since the crisis. And it was on Toronto’s biggest financial district.
And the money in the pool (you’re thinking, oh I get it, money in the pool, yeah): NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THERE! Someone threw in the first one and everyone just followed suit. The artist was apparently pretty ticked off. Meh, it made more sense to me with the pennies.

There were a few neat interactive ones but the wait times were just intense. We did participate in an improv choir and make sounds with our voices.

This isn’t to say that I’m giving up on Nuit Blanche (and going home early like last night….in bed by 2am) but I will be making some adjustments for next year:

1) Be more organized. I just followed the crowd but with a big group it is harder to find something everyone likes so we ended up bouncing after a few minutes. Next year I’ll have a few key things I want to see/do and have it mapped out (with room for flex of course).
2) Get a nap beforehand
3) Have lower expectations of interactivity

One more exhibit:
We waited in line for a half hour to smell porta-potties. You couldn’t use them either. It was another one that made absolutely no sense until I asked someone and then it made almost no sense.
The Scene: A row of about 10 port-potties
Interactive: You go inside and shut the door for about 4 seconds (the volunteers rap on the side to get you out after that long). There is some sort of artificial smell, sometimes a prop (flowers, dirt) and a plexi-glass cube with little scrolls of paper that were too rolled up to read.
My interpretation: ……
The deal: Each was supposed to be a scene from Alice in Wonderland and the scents were to relate to that. If you looked really close (during the 4 seconds you had the booth to yourself) you could sometimes make out a few words from Lewis Carroll’s book. I feel like I maybe could have ‘gotten’ that one with more time. And maybe taking some notes. And if the little scrolls were legible. And if I were high.

Did I mention I think i’ll have to bring some potent weed next year? I didn’t get that memo before going out but it would have come in handy.

*An all-night event where art installations, talks, music and just random things are situated all over the downtown. Almost everything is free.

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