Nuit Blanche

30 September, 2012

My school had a drama workshop program for the 11th & 12th graders - it was a two-month emo extravaganza that usually produced far more drama than was ever seen by the audience in the final production. All-nighters were frequent, as is inevitable when scenes were rewritten about seven hundred times each.

I remember staying up one entire night watching the colors of the sky change, and discussing each phase in great detail with a senior. It was awesome, in a we'll-never-do-this-again(-and-thank-God-for-that-maybe) kind of way, and it was the memory I flashed back to when I first heard of Nuit Blanche.

Nuit Blanche, or White Night, is an all-night free-for-all cultural extravaganza which originated in France and made its way to multiple cities around the world. While that's exciting enough in itself (let's not forget I have a degree in art), some of the pieces' descriptions had me even more hooked.

Example: thought balloon, an installation where people typed out their thoughts which were projected real-time for everyone else to see. It's a reflection of how we share information in the age of social networks. I made a detailed map of all the things I wanted to see, but on the actual night, found it far more fascinating to just wander around looking at everything and everyone.

Many of the exhibits had an interactive element and as I walked through downtown checking out Nuit Blanche, I thought the audience defined the art as much as the piece itself. Though we walked fast and didn't stay longer than 10 minutes at any exhibit, it was an evening which gave me a lot to think about. I'm far too diplomatic to pick favorites, but my husband and a friend who came along agreed that their pick of the night was the Convenience Store exhibit.

It was written about in every single newspaper promoting Nuit Blanche as one of the highlights, and it took us 1.5 hours to view it, but it was worth it for the sheer effort the artists had put in and the overall effect of the convenience store. Can you believe each of those boxes in that picture is a mock item, with a tealight inside? We were each allowed to pick an item to take home - I chose the light bulb, that way I was the only one who got the product that the box said it carried!

My favorite take-away from the night was this Xerox copy that my husband and I created. As juvenile a concept as Xeroxing your body parts is, and as much as I resented the waste of paper (most people just threw their copies on the ground), this one was an unexpected keeper.

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