Art Souterrain – 4km into the underground city (2010)

I forgot about this video! One of my first “art documentaries” –  it gets funnier but not easier. Description below:

Two goofballs from Toronto decide to travel to Montreal and keep a video diary of their exploration of Nuit Blanche 2010, following the “Art Souterrain” route of contemporary art in the subway tunnels and public halls underneath Montreal.

nuit blanche survival tips (and yes, with a criticism or two)

Tonight is the big night in Toronto for the “all-night art thing” that supposedly goes from 7pm to 7am with art installations across the city.

I say “supposedly” because many galleries and other venues participating seem to close well before sunrise. And that leads into my first tip:

Arrive earlier at nuit blanche rather than later.

Crowds are bad around some of the more popular exhibits before midnight, but lining up behind families is far preferable to dealing with drunken yahoos at 4 am outside of a closed installation. Often, temporary work has been destroyed by that time as well.

Pick an area and stick with it

There is too much to see – too much! Relax and accept you will see only a little of what is on display this night.

Bike, walk or bus it to and around Nuit Blanche

Planning to bring your car? I hate you. You ruin everything for everyone else. Nuit Blanche is no fun in gridlock.

Never, ever say “[insert corporate sponsor] Nuit Blanche”.

Ok, this one is political, I know. But it is such an ordeal as an artist to officially get into this festival because Canadian curators LOVE paperwork, corporate sponsorship, international artists and, well, curating things. This means the vast majority of deserving Toronto contemporary artists and galleries are not officially part of this night but some half-ass work from afar with a famous name attached to it will be highlighted in all the promotion materials.

Make sure you stop into unlisted, unofficial art venues along your way

This is more of a how an all night art party should be – discovery, community and endless possibilities around every corner and through every door. More of an anarchist and organically growing entity than a bureaucratic structure.

Nuit Blanche photos and musings

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We made our way from Nathan Phillips Square (City Hall) west to the AGO and OCADU then to 401 Richmond, and then west onto Queen West. This photoset follows some of the more photo-friendly snapshots on our self-walking tour until we reached The Gladstone Hotel.

We stated off at 11pm, catching the end of the Daniel Lanois performance at City Hall and got to the Gladstone at 4:30am. Below are some musings about the event.

Is ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche 2010 too corporate? 10 criticisms of Toronto’s contemporary art all night thing.

10. I hate it when car dealerships set up shop at these things (that includes you, Hamilton Super-crawl). It only confuses people about what culture really is.

9. “all-night” should mean ALL NIGHT – not just till you get sleepy. We were pretty sleepy and disappointed at 4am when we found the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art closed and many other venues as well.

8. Drunk dick-heads were everywhere. This could explain criticism of #9 above. Unfortunately, the drunken yahoo trolls start to ruin large, free and accessable events for everyone – at least between 1am-4am.

7. Why can’t every gallery, studio and venue that wants to be open that night get listed somewhere as part of Nuit Blanche as well?

6. Why don’t more galleries, studios and venues just stay open anyways and take advantage of the huge crowds? We noticed many were closed. Some were even in-between exhibits and there was nothing to see through the window.

5. There were lots of live and dj dance “stations” everywhere but Torontonians don’t dance or move with the music. They just stand there and gawk at us old fogies who did dance.

4. Less video projections and more costumes! This year was a bit better but I get the feeling the city will have to close more streets to cars during the festival to encourage this kind of participation.

3. Public transport needs to be free that day.

2. Make a map of the event as one big map – not just 8 mini-maps that are impossibly out of sequence and scale. It reads more like a savings account terms of use.

1. Is early October really the best night to be outside for 9 hours?