The must-follow Instagram accounts for your Nuit Blanche prep
Start your scrolling...and maybe squeeze in a little nap time before Saturday
Once again, Toronto's getting ready to pull an all-nighter. It's Nuit Blanche time again, and from sunset on Saturday, Oct. 1 until the red-eyed sunrise of the following morning, people will be wandering the streets in pursuit of art, spectacle and whatever gets them the most likes on Instagram.
But where to go first? If you check out the festival program — as you should — you'll find maps and summaries of every last event. That'll give you a sense of where to find the projects that are transforming streets, storefronts, squares, etc. But you might not have a clue what it'll all look like.
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The art's here temporarily, after all — built and torn down, faster than you can say "bars are open 'til 4 a.m." — so there's never much in the way of concrete visual aids. All the artist statements in the world won't help you picture what's in store.
That's part of the festival's appeal, of course — that element of surprise. Still, for those craving a sneak peek, the best thing to do is to follow the artists. There are 90 projects being created, and a few are documenting their progress on Instagram.
Here's who CBC Arts is following. So far, they're the ones providing the best sneak peeks at the one-night-only event. If you're prepping for Nuit Blanche, consider this your go-to list of must-follow accounts.
So, start your scrolling...and try to squeeze in a little nap time before Saturday.
Artist: Floria Sigismondi – Los Angeles
Nuit Blanche isn't the only reason to follow Sigismondi. When you talk about music videos, she's one of the few directors working who you could call a real "auteur," and the filmmaker/photographer/sculptor has been generating the stuff of every past-and-present teen goth's fantasies since the '90s.
Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People?" That's one of hers. Same goes for David Bowie's "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" and The White Stripes's "Blue Orchid" and even, most recently, Rihanna's Star Trek video for "Sledgehammer."
On October 1, though, the OCAD grad returns to Toronto with something called Pneuma — a video installation that will be beamed over the pool at Nathan Phillips Square. On the festival's website, she explains that the piece "bloomed from a waking dream that unlocked something boundless and idyllic from my unconscious." Looking at the few previews she's posted on Instagram — witchy images of various creatures of night — that sounds about right.
Artist: Daniel Canogar – Madrid
On the off chance you're already obsessively checking for Nuit Blanche info, you might have heard — or seen — what was happening at Union Station on Saturday. For his upcoming piece, Spanish artist Daniel Canogar rigged up a green screen inside the transit hub, inviting the public to crawl across it.
The footage will be used in his Nuit Blanche iteration of Asalto, a video installation that will be projected on Union's facade. Canogar has staged the work in several other cities — and he's shared photos from those past events on Instagram, giving us an idea of what to expect Saturday night.
As his website explains: "The work is born from Canogar's desire that participants have visibility in the public space. Citizens too often become mere spectators of their environment; it is essential to give them a platform to allow them to project themselves, literally and metaphorically, onto their city."
Artist: Vladimir Antaki – Montreal
For the last four years, Montreal photographer Vladimir Antaki has been working on an ongoing project, one that documents "mom-and-pop" business owners from around the world.
Capturing these characters inside the stores and workshops, he calls the series The Guardians, and following exhibitions in more than 100 cities, it's coming to Toronto for Nuit Blanche.
Antaki's captured a few of the city's own "guardians" — and he's previewed a few of the images on his Instagram. Look for larger-than-life prints of these oft-overlooked characters at Katana on Bay.
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Redshift (part of Beyond, an independent project by group 4d2)
Radha Chaddah - Toronto
She's a visual artist with a graduate degree in molecular neurobiology, and Redshift — a large-scale light sculpture appearing as part of a group project on the grounds of Spadina Museum — combines both fields of expertise. For the installation, Chaddah will create enormous sprawling light sculptures — colourful shapes that will be projected onto the trees of the five-acre estate.
She'll have some help, though. These illuminated patterns represent brainwaves, and members of the audience will have the chance to wear special headsets that can gather this data. If you're among the lucky ones who get to wear one, lie back and maybe picture one of these Instagram previews...
Lisa Park – New York
Strap on those EEG headsets again. Like Radha Chaddah, Lisa Park's installation, Eunoia, translates the audience's brainwaves into a work of art.
In this case, all that think-y data will generate sound waves — vibrations that will agitate the water in 48 pans, each one symbolizing a different emotion.
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Death of the Sun
Director X – Toronto
Hold your jokes about Toronto being the centre of the universe. Director X has built a 55-foot model of the sun and it's standing in the middle of Nathan Phillips Square. Come Nuit Blanche, it'll serve as a globular screen and the centrepiece of an audio-visual experience — the story of our solar system's demise, as told by the director of "Hotline Bling."
(The piece, by the way, is one of a few "extended" Nuit Blanche projects. It'll remain in the square until October 10.)
The Merging (rendering)
Nicola Verlato – Los Angeles
The artist is sharing regular sneak peeks on Instagram — not only documenting how they installed Militant Nostalgia's centrepiece, a mural inspired by the great Renaissance painters, but sharing video clips of its AR graphics. And about that last point — there are some things you just can't capture, at least not on this version of Instagram.
The piece is an augmented-reality experience — one that involves both indoor and outdoor installations — and to see it all, you'll need to download a special app once Nuit Blanche rolls around.
F_RMlab – Cambridge, Ont.
"Slime" videos are already a thing on Instagram — those crazy-popular posts of people poking and squishing globs of what looks like old Nickelodeon "Gak." So, we're going to call it now: "Cushion" videos are the next big thing, if only just for Nuit Blanche.
For the event, this design collective from the University of Waterloo has built a gauntlet of Puffalump-ish lanterns which will appear in the alley beside the Bata Shoe Museum. They call it a "media womb." Despite that description, we fully expect visitors to poke, squish and hug these giant, pillowy lanterns. Their creators are already at it on Instagram.
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Philip Beesley – Toronto
As previews go, the work-in-progress shots that Philip Beesley has been sharing are sort of like the "Guess the Picture" puzzle of sneak peeks. That is to say, it's hard to tell exactly what you're looking at. Still, the architect — who represented Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture — is currently installing inside Toronto City Hall, and he's been posting eerie and mysterious photographs of his progress.
By Saturday, the ceiling will become a sparkling web of lights and fabric — shredded pants from H&M, specifically (they're a sponsor). It's meant to evoke the mysteries of the ocean, and we can only imagine it'll be as magical as some of his past installations — works you can, naturally, see on Instagram.
Kevin Cooley – Los Angeles
There's a waterfall inside Brookfield Place, one that flows blue...and pink and orange.
Artist Kevin Cooley has gathered footage of the various waterways of the Niagara Escarpment for this towering video installation. From the looks of his Instagram, you don't have to wait until Saturday to see it — his unnatural wonder of the world is already up and running.
Nuit Blanche. Saturday, Oct. 1. Various locations, Toronto. www.nbto.com