Nuit Blanche 2014 – The Night Circus
This year’s Nuit Blanche had a few projects that were especially noteworthy. Chief among these was the stunning presentation of “Cascade”, a massive collaboration of 55 aerialists under the directorial guidance of Anandam Dance Theatre’s, Brandy Leary. Cascade explores the slowing down of urban spaces through a continuous, meditative cycling of images that explores bodies, both human and geologic, as capsules of history and perceived progress in an effort to create a charged space of togetherness between audience and artists. Featuring a mass of climbing and slowly falling performers this continuous action is an endless succession of bodies shifting forms and cascading though space.
The installation itself was tucked away in the old location of the Toronto School of Circus Arts, and housed what is likely the largest circus installation this city has ever seen. The fact that I enjoyed most was it engaged and employed more artists, as opposed to throwing the entire budget at video screens. Cascade was a true art installation which kept people enraptured for a very long time.
Having just criticized video screens, I take a mixed 180 review to this next project. Amongst 16 large screens with a thumping set of music, sat the amazing illustrator Jeremy Sutton. He was live painting using a wide variety of Wacom products. Stumbling upon this featured Scotiabank installation was amazing as it reveals some of what we’ve preached about performance art and circus being intermarried. In the time I filmed him, Jeremy was a host, a clown, a masterful artist and most of all he was genuine.
This installation was a captivating art piece hidden beside the Steamwhistle Brewery. The performer was put in an ever changing state of being. The marriage of modern habits and rituals being displayed in a floating environment transfixed many for hours at a time.
Overall the city was loaded with project, most were either skeletons of the original proposal due to grant limitations, unless of course you were a corporate sponsor with their own “art” installation. Subaru had an interesting display in a premium space where artists painted their vehicles as a form of performance art. In Nathan Phillip Square, a large projection screen from an American power company intimidated you into agreeing that North American power was best. I did find myself shying away from the art installation mounted on the H&M store clearly decorating the store front. I hope to see a less commercial Nuit Blanche in the future but as it’s been on this downward slope for some time, and with the troubles that Luminato seem to be having, I think the result will be more advertising and sponsors.
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