More than 70 events scheduled for Winnipeg's Nuit Blanche on Saturday

From a glow-in-the-dark basketball game in an unassuming parking lot, to a light-up tunnel on the railway bridge at The Forks, to a forest of googly-eyed trees along Waterfront Drive, many of the major installations at this year's Nuit Blanche in Winnipeg are meant to bring people together through art.

Trees with eyes and a giant human hamster wheel on deck for this year's all-night art event

Loop is one of several interactive installations that will appear at Winnipeg's Nuit Blanche on Saturday. Here, people in Montreal try out the installation. (Photo courtesy of Ulysse Lemerise)

Winnipeg's all-night contemporary art event this Saturday will have more than 70 installations and events in the Exchange District, at The Forks and across other parts of the city.

From a glow-in-the-dark basketball game in an unassuming parking lot, to a light-up tunnel on the railway bridge at The Forks, to a forest of googly-eyed trees along Waterfront Drive, many of the major installations at Nuit Blanche are meant to unite people through art, said Tamara Rae Biebrich, who manages public art projects for the Winnipeg Arts Council.

"One thing that really excites us about public art is the fact that it reflects the humanity of the city, and that it's really about bringing people together," said Biebrich, who worked closely with Nuit Blanche Winnipeg organizers to create a program of artwork for Saturday night's event.

"It's a real kind of community-building event in that way," she said.

In one installation, artists Sasha Amaya and Thea Pedersen have put together a pop-up, glow-in-the-dark basketball court, with a colour scheme inspired by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Allez Hop! will have a live DJ and players from the Manitoba Wheelchair Sports Association hitting the court.

"That'll be really fun," Biebrich said.

Biebrich said there are several other exciting installations that were brought in from outside Manitoba, like Loop, a series of interactive pieces created by Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve and Ottoblix, and produced by Ekumen and Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal.

Serge Maheu, the Montreal-based artist behind several installations that will be on display at Winnipeg's Nuit Blanche on Saturday, standing inside Passage — which will be on display at The Forks. (Photo courtesy of Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore)

"[It's these] both retro and futuristic machines that people can actually get into, and they work a handrail in tandem to make animations move around them. And the artworks light up and make sound," said Biebrich, adding the piece will be set up Saturday at Old Market Square.

Another piece by Montreal-based artist Serge Maheu called Passage, which will be on the railway bridge at The Forks, mixes the exciting with the thought-provoking. The interactive, light-up tunnel's name refers to the moment between life and death.

"[It] kind of responds to you as you walk or roll through," said Biebrich, adding the piece is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. "And it's really kind of more contemplative, but joyful and playful at the same time."

Over on the west side of the Riel Esplanade Bridge, blacksmith Karen Rudolph of Cloverdale Forge will be working on a creative project powered exclusively by its visitors with Run For Your Light.

The human-sized hamster wheel that powers a forge was an idea that Rudolph and her business partner came up with over drinks with the owners of Wood Anchor.

"They literally took the idea and ran with it," said Rudolph. "And now Winnipeg can come run in it."

Run for Your Lite, a human-sized hamster wheel that powers a blacksmith forge, will make another appearance at this year's Nuit Blanche. (Cloverdale Forge/Facebook)

The installation will be there for people to run inside all night, and Rudolph said it will take someone running for every minute of the evening to finish the project. But she said it's not as daunting a task as it may seem, since there's a chest-height bar to hold onto.

"It's not as scary as one might think," she said. "You're able to keep your balance."

Despite the challenge, Rudolph said she's not worried about getting the project done.

"Considering the crowds that Nuit Blanche brings out, I don't think it will be a problem," she said.

A look inside Passage, an installation showing at Nuit Blanche. Video courtesy: Creos 1:50

With files from Ismaila Alfa and Caitlyn Gowriluk


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