Over its 14-year history, Nuit Blanche has had a massive impact on the city of Toronto and grown into one of the largest public art exhibitions in North America. Browse curator biographies and curatorial themes by year.

Continuum

The city of Toronto and its inhabitants are in a constant state of becoming. This progression follows many paths through the night of Nuit Blanche. The cycle of creation and destruction that simultaneously depletes and feeds, the elevation of the notable into a place of renown nobility, the challenge of finding inner calm and enlightenment in the midst of it all.

Underlined by the ever-present renewal of night into day, all are part of a continuum of experience and ideas.

In a world that feels increasingly polarized, Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019 responds to the interconnected and often contradictory paradoxes of life in the changing city.

Creation: Destruction

Curators: Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta (Toronto, Canada)

All things reside on the borders of creation and destruction. Inspired by its geographical area, this exhibition will challenge our understanding of these seemingly contradictory concepts. They are extensions of each other, forces that both deplete and feed one another. There is nothing more primal, more essentially human, than the paradoxical relationship between creation and destruction, it is the essence of the natural world and our place in it.

Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta are the curators behind Art Spin. Since 2009 they’ve been activating decommissioned venues and unique public spaces with large-scale group exhibitions. Their curated bicycle-led art tours also showcase a range of new art in alternative sites. Notably, they reanimated Ontario Place’s West Island for “in/future” in 2016. At the heart of their curatorial practice is a passion for pushing the possibilities of what constitutes public art, and doing this through site-specific/site-responsive practices and ephemeral approaches.

Queens and Kings of Scarborough

Curator: Ashley McKenzie-Barnes (Toronto, Canada)

This theatrical playground will challenge systems of social marginalization, self-identity negotiation, and racial stereotyping within a modern framework. From film and installation to interactive sculpture and street art, Queens and Kings of Scarborough will honour Scarborough as a hotbed of culture.

Three acts will play out in the east end’s most highly frequented landmarks.

Act 1: The Amphitheatre (Cineplex Cinemas Scarborough, former Coliseum) – Ancient theatre brought back to life addresses conflict within human bonds.

Act 2: The People’s Square (Scarborough Town Centre) – Common ground for a united voice of the inhabitants.

Act 3: The Royal Court/Courtyard (Scarborough Civic Centre/Albert Campbell Square) – Overthrowing existing systems of power and reclaiming the throne.

Scarborough-born, Ashley McKenzie-Barnes is a creative director, curator and academic professor with over a decade of experience in the advertising, entertainment, corporate and non-profit sectors. She has programmed exhibitions and installations for Samsung and Manifesto Festival, and is no stranger to executing within a variety of spaces.

You Are Here

Toronto is a city of change. A city in progress. A city of endless personal, collective and cultural histories. At this moment in time, the artists and curators of Nuit Blanche Toronto 2018 invite you to join them to unfold, reinterpret, question, listen, disrupt and see through new eyes Toronto and our places in it. What does difference mean when we are all different, if there is no “other”? Can our differences bind us together even as they set us apart? As relationships of power and privilege shift, how do we redefine the status quo and reconsider what it means to be together?

STYLL

Curator: Alyssa Fearon (Toronto, Canada)

Scarborough is a community of primarily working-class immigrants, Indigenous communities and first-generation Canadians. These historically under-resourced, and often ignored, communities have used their collective action to influence the creativity of this place. STYLL illuminates the artistic production that has always existed, and continues to thrive, in Scarborough. Artists riff on suburban landscapes to pose questions of our collective existence: What do we take with us and what do we leave behind when we go to a new place? How do we create borders, both real and imagined? Who gets to create them?
Alyssa Fearon is a curator, educator and arts manager. Fearon seeks new ways of organizing art projects within communities that have not traditionally been sanctioned as places of creativity and innovation. Fearon holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and an MA in art history from York University.

Dreamtime: We All Have Stories

Curator: Karen Alexander (London, UK)

Dream Time: We All Have Stories is a shared investigation and meditation on the geographic area of Toronto known as the Ward. Here, the unequal past and present histories will be dissected, reclaimed and projected through a lens keenly focused on curiosity and inclusion. Inspired by the city’s latent memories of immigration, gay rights, housing, economic development, colonization and the ongoing struggle for self-definition and self-determination, these eight artworks will oscillate between ideas of the local and the international as they transform and activate spaces and places in and around City Hall.

Karen Alexander is an independent curator, educator and writer based in London. She has worked for the British Film Institute and regularly writes on the cinema of the Black diaspora. She curated Whip It Good: Spinning From History’s Filthy Mind with artist Jeannette Ehlers in 2015 and the Black Atlantic Cinema Club with Autograph ABP in 2016.

The Things They Carried

Curator: Tairone Bastien

The things they carried reflects on the immigrant stories of Toronto. Waves of new arrivals have helped shape and define the character of the city. Yet, recognizing the full breadth of their contributions is often subjective and flawed. Some stories are celebrated while others are obscured, dismissed or forgotten. The demolition of the Ward and its erasure, until recently, from the city’s imaginary, is symptomatic of this move to silence. Here, stories of newcomers’ journeys remain ever-present and vital, encoded in traditions and myths and expressed through popular art forms like music, food and graffiti that occupy our city’s streets.

Tairone Bastien is an independent curator working between Toronto and Dubai. Most recently, he directed programming for Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, establishing a wide-ranging program that supports artists and arts professionals in the MENASA region. Tairone has also been a curator for Performa in New York.

Many Possible Futures

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017 will mark the milestone of Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation with the event-wide theme Many Possible Futures. With a focus on looking forward, artists participating in Nuit Blanche 2017 bring challenge, reflection, resilience and change to the forefront of the dialogue during this transitional moment in our collective history.

The events surrounding Canada’s sesquicentennial, while a celebration for some, have also become a call to action for many. Nuit Blanche Toronto, as it has done since its inception, continues to offer a platform for artists to explore the prevalent and relevant issues facing the public today.

A Monument to the Century of Revolutions

Curator: Nato Thompson (New York, USA)

The artwork by the Russian collective Chto Delat, consists of an array of shipping containers producing a small village; a veritable mass shipped revolution that unpacks into a world. Roughly half of the containers will take on a different moment in revolutionary history ranging from the Mexican Revolution to Yugoslavia to China to May 1968 to Cuba to Zapatista. The other half will house local artist activist groups touching on issues that address Indigenous peoples, migrant workers to sex workers rights to queer activism to revolutions dedicated to African diaspora and much more.

Nato Thompson, writer, curator and Artistic Director at Creative Time, curated numerous public art projects including The Creative Time Summit (2009–2015) and Pedro Reyes Doomocracy (2016). He has written two books, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century (2015) and Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life.

Taking to the Streets

Curator: Barbara Fischer (Toronto, Canada)

When social justice movements succeed, the street becomes the primordial site to celebrate and remember. When there is no justice the street becomes the place where we rally and throw our voice together in a show of force. In these unfurling protests, near and far, the street is the medium where multiple symbolic and make-shift gestures rise up to lay claim to attention and assert existence: t-shirts and posters, placards and lights, scaffolds and banners, the fury of words and the sound of music, altogether to break through deaf ears, stop traffic, and summon each other to a common cause.

Barbara Fischer is the Executive Director/Chief Curator of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Her curatorial work focuses on contemporary art and its histories, and includes solo exhibitions with major, internationally recognized artists, and group exhibitions. Major projects included the General Idea Editions (1967-1995) and Projections (2007).

Life on Neebahgeezis; A Luminous Engagement

Curator: Maria Hupfield

The moon provides the gift of a cosmic perspective by connecting all of our relations both human and non, through the seasons, land and water, beyond the body without discrimination. In an act of solidarity building, five artists from across Canada indigenize the Toronto downtown financial district to make space for new possibilities and future imaginings. Informed by lived experience, diverse cultural knowledge and creative vision, the projects signal resilience while this sphere in the sky watches over us, luminous, glowing, timeless; everlasting life. An Anishinaabe interpretation and tribute to the late David Bowie’s song Life on Mars – a critique of entertainment, ‘neebahgeezis’ is one word in the Anishinaabe language for ‘moon’.

Maria Hupfield is a Brooklyn-based artist and member of the Anishinaabek Nation from Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario. Her traveling solo exhibition, The One Who Keeps on Giving, opened the 30th anniversary of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. She co-owns Native Art Department International with Jason Lujan.

Calculating Upon the Unforeseen

Curator: Clara Halpern (Toronto, Canada)

Rebecca Solnit asks: “How do you calculate upon the unforeseen?” She says to recognize the role of the unknown or unexpected is an art of collaborating with chance and the limits of calculation. Rather than an avoidance of responsibility, these notions of the limits of planning and control allow for action and future change. To reflect on the future today requires thinking not just of the past 150 years, but looking back 15000 years. It entails thinking about a multiplicity of perspectives that stretch beyond national borders. This project brings together six artists who reflect on many possible futures.

Clara Halpern is Assistant Curator at Oakville Galleries. She has curated exhibitions at The Power Plant, Toronto, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, and Abrons Arts Center, New York. She has written for Modern Painters and was a Student Researcher at The Centre for Possible Studies, Serpentine Gallery, London.

Militant Nostalgia or When History Meets Memory

Curator: Paco Barragán

Militant Nostalgia or When History Meets Memory tackles mediation and meditation on history and the passage of time. Nostalgia functions as an intermediary between the collective (history) and the individual (memory). Unlike what was expected, the 21st Century has brought about on the one hand a moment of profound crisis, despair and deception; and on the other a discrediting of the big theories and ideologies (metanarratives) that have provided a solid and comprehensive explanation of our world. The future is not what we have been promised and as such we long for the past.

Paco Barragán is curator of visual arts at Matucana 100, Santiago de Chile and Contributing Editor for ARTPULSE magazine. Exhibitions he has recently curated include: Alfredo Jaar: May 1st, 2011; Intimate Strangers: Politics as Celebrity, Celebrity as Politics both at Matucana 100, Chile; Guided Tour: Artist, Museum, Spectator at MUSAC Leon, Spain; and Erwin Olaf: The Empire of Illusion at Museo Castagnino-MACRO Rosario, Argentina. Barragán is author of The Art to Come (2002), Subastas Siglo XXI and The Art Fair Age (2008), CHARTA.

And the Transformation Reveals

Curator: Camille Hong Xin (New York, USA)

The mystery of transformation is the central theme of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry, which was essential for his creative process and understanding of humanity’s true nature. Critic A.S. Kline wrote that Rilke considered “his constant task as transformation, of himself into another, of the world into the mind, of external phenomena into internal, of things into thoughts, of being into consciousness and becoming.” In his poem, Duino Elegies, Rilke envisions – for human and for Earth – a reciprocal transformation. To a real extent, they become each other.

Camille Hong Xin is a writer and freelance curator based in New York. In the 90s, she was actively involved in the Chinese underground art scene. Her writing has appeared in Art In America, Aperture, M Magazine, intheartworld.com, wallart.cn, and Cue Art Foundation, among others.

OBLIVION

Curator: Janine Marchessault / Michael Prokopow (Toronto, Canada)

Three artists explore the elemental aspects of our cosmic existence. An astonishing enactment of the Sun’s death, a spellbinding performance of corporeal transcendence, and a wondrous ocean of recycled textiles invite viewers to ponder profound transformations, celestial and earthly. It is well known that there will come a time in the vastly distant future, when the Sun –the gigantic life-giving molten of hydrogen and helium – will die. Science fiction writers have long speculated that the earth’s primordial oceans might well escape this solar catastrophe as nebulae metamorphose into new life. Three artists consider the elemental aspects of our cosmic existence.

Janine Marchessault is a Founder of York University’s Future Cinema Lab which studies screen architectures in urban contexts. Her past projects include several large-scale site-specific art exhibitions including Museum for the End of the World (Nuit Blanche 2012). Her forthcoming book is Ecstatic Worlds: Media, Utopias, Ecologies (MIT Press).

Michael J Prokopow is a historian, curator and critic. His specializations include material culture, design history, contemporary art history and critical theory. His curatorial works include The Leona Drive Project (2009), Meanings in Architecture (2012). He is a faculty member at OCAD University. He holds a PhD from Harvard University.

Facing the Sky

Curator: Louise Déry (Montreal, Canada)

Artists have always turned their eyes to the sky and many of them, today, are following in the grand romantic tradition, standing as explorers with their heads raised towards outer space, evoking its boundlessness while at the same revealing its poetry, mystery and magic. In a world where the sky is being sold by the piece to meet the demands of the communication industry, artists will look at the night to reveal it and to shape the invisible in its multiple dimensions: exploration of the infinite, contemplation of its intangible power and consideration of its fragility.

Louise Déry (Montreal), holds a PhD in art history and is the director of the Galerie de l’UQAM. She curated the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 (David Altmejd). Déry received the Hnatyshyn Award for curatorial excellence (2007) and the Governor General Award in visual arts (2014).

HTUOS/HTRON The New Coordinates of the Americas

Curator: Agustin Pérez Rubio (Valencia, Spain)

The conceptual reference for this exhibition starts with a drawing by the Uruguayan constructivist painter, professor and writer Joaquin Torres Garcia, one of the great masters of Latin-American Avant-Garde. In his drawing, “Inverted America,” he inverts the entire pan-American peninsula, removing the existing boundaries and introducing a new value system that subverts the hegemonic geo-political ideology of his time.For one night, over the 12 hours of Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, this new geopolitical order will dominate. South will be North and vice-versa. The exhibition’s title is a graphic interpretation of Torres Garcias’ map, where the words South and North.

Agustin Pérez Rubio is an internationally acclaimed historian, art critic and curator. He received his degree in Art History from the University of Valencia and was Director of Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leôn until 2013. He has curated over 100 exhibitions in national and international art events.

Black and White Night

Curator: JR (Paris, France)

“I want to turn the city inside out for one night with the help and energy of the community, so that Toronto creates a powerful image that will be remembered.”

JR exhibits freely in the world’s streets, catching the attention of people who are typically not museum visitors. As he remains anonymous and doesn’t explain his large-scale full-frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter. He raises questions.

The Work of Wind

Curator: Christine Shaw (Toronto, Canada)

In The Work of Wind, the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force becomes a diagram of prediction and premonition of the 21st century. Created by the British sea admiral Sir Francis Beaufort in 1807, the scale is a 13-part index capturing wind’s potential to compose at sea and decompose on land. The scale was used for the practical navigation of 19th century ocean space. Drawing on its language — drifting, tumbling, scattering, swaying, impeding, damaging, breaking, uprooting — The Work of Wind unfurls the 13 forces from 0 (Calm) to 12 (Hurricane) along Toronto’s shoreline.

Christine Shaw is Director/Curator of the Blackwood Gallery and Lecturer at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She collaborates on education and curatorial projects, including the Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (2005-10) and Letters & Handshakes. She holds an MFA from Western University and a PhD from York University.

10 for 10th – Memory Lane

Curator: Che Kothari (Toronto, Canada)

In celebration of the milestone 10th edition of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, 10 major cultural partners have come together for an exhibition called 10 for 10th – Memory Lane. Both the Independent Projects and this exhibition are curated under the theme of Memory Lane. Memory Lane explores the rich and textured terrain of memory, the personal, the shared, the sacred, the nostaglic, the iconic and the political. It dissolves the lines between space, place and time, allowing for contemplation and reflection while providing fertile ground for the creation of millions of new memories in the process.

Photographer, Director, Producer, Curator, Founder, Artist and Instigator Che Kothari brings an army of energy towards everything he creates. Through all his contributions to the cultural landscape globally, he is determined to make a difference, hoping that emerging and established artists will both follow and shape his lead.

Between The Earth And The Sky, The Possibility Of Everything

Curator: Dominique Fontaine (Montreal, Canada)

Between the earth and the sky, the possibility of everything will create a framework for artistic experimentation presented in a dynamic, engaging, surprising and fun way. Altering our basic assumptions about what we see, feel, and understand about our worlds and ourselves, the exhibition will invite audiences to re-think the social and sensorial possibilities of public spaces. The emphasis will be on artistic productions that make us reconsider the meanings of play and participation. Works will be unconventional and symbolic of their particular aesthetic. Projects reflect poetically on the social and political issues affecting our present realities and possible futures.

Dominique Fontaine is a curator, consultant on contemporary art, media arts and arts management. She is Founding Director of aPOSteRIORI, a non-profit curatorial platform – researching, documenting, developing, producing and facilitating innovation in diverse contemporary art practices. She has curated and organized several contemporary art events in Canada and abroad.

The Night Circus

Curator: Denise Markonish (Massachusetts, USA)

In her book The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern describes a curious event, a night circus with the above sign gracing its entrance. This is not your average circus with only clowns and lion tamers; instead it is an epic magical contest – turning an ordinary circus into a true spectacle of magic and wits. For Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2014, part of Toronto’s downtown will become its own ‘Night Circus’ activated by artists who will dazzle, entertain and enchant visitors. And as quickly as the circus arrives, like magic, it will vanish before our eyes once the dawn breaks.

Denise Markonish is the curator at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. She has curated solo exhibitions of works numerous solo and group shows, including 2012’s Oh, Canada – the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever organized outside of Canada – accompanied by a 400-page catalogue co-published with The MIT Press.

Before Day Break

Curator: Magda Gonzalez-Mora (Toronto, Canada)

Before Day Break contemplates a sensitive artistic practice. Evoking the complexity of life itself, artists from diverse regions will offer singular perspectives in an attempt to cover different angles of reality. They enable the audience to turn the ordinary into extraordinary artistic memory. Like pixels in a photograph, human relationships, religion, socio-political and cultural behaviour are among themes used to present a deeper message that speaks to the universality of the human experience. Motivated to challenge and surprise the viewer’s expectations, this vibrant environment will invite reflection on contemporary history, while juxtaposing it to Canada’s quest for inclusion and plurality.

Magda Gonzalez-Mora is an Independent Curator and advisor from Toronto and curator for the Sherritt Collection of Contemporary Cuban Art of the AGO. She was a founder of the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Centre in Havana and a member of the curatorial team for seven editions of the Havana Biennale.

Performance Anxiety

Curator: Heather Pesanti (Austin, TX, USA)

Responding to recent developments in the genre of “live art” over the past several decades, Performance Anxiety will be an exclusively performance-based exhibition. Performance art is increasingly a zone for experimentation and risk-taking in contemporary art. Embracing the medium’s potential for failure, surprise, and triumph, Performance Anxiety will be curated in the spirit of a symphony, with events taking place throughout the night at City Hall. With both humour and pathos, the title plays on anxiety one feels when faced with performing, and the universal plight that results from the daily projection of our private existence into the public sphere.

Heather Pesanti is Senior Curator at The Contemporary Austin in Austin, Texas, organizing exhibitions including Marianne Vitale, Liam Gillick, Robert Therrien, and a forthcoming exhibition on experiential art in 2015. Prior to Austin, Pesanti was Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Off to a Flying Start

Curator: Ami Barak (Paris, France)

Curated by Ami Barak, you’ll find a concentration of this exhibition’s projects in and around Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto City Hall. World-renowned artist Ai Weiwei will create a new edition of his sculpture Forever Bicycles at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square. In 2013, we celebrate the centenary of Bicycle Wheel, Marcel Duchamp’s first readymade. He combined a bicycle wheel and a stool – and it has become central to the very notion of Art and the artistic attitude towards objects. We will take these objects back to the streets and reunite the public with the ubiquitous nature of the artwork.

Ami Barak is an independent curator based in Paris, France. He was the Artistic Director of Nuit Blanche Paris 2003 & 2004 editions. He co-curated the Romanian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, 2011. He is currently a Lecturer at the Paris I Sorbonne University.

PARADE

Curator: Patrick Macaulay (Toronto, Canada)

The intent of PARADE is to create, at first glance, an unconventional parade. The floats do not move forward and the people, who would normally be stationary, become the procession by actively participating in the parade. In essence all parades require pageant + people. Scotiabank Nuit Blanche perhaps most patently encapsulates the power of this equation. This art parade is in fact putting the focus forward onto the spectator since, in truth; all parades are at their core a vehicle to create civic ceremony. PARADE shifts the denotation of mere procession to be a large-scale art installation convoy.

Patrick Macaulay is the Head of Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre. Over the past 15 years he has curated hundreds of exhibitions and has moved the visual arts programming at Harbourfront Centre in new and exciting directions. He received his MFA from The Art Institute of Chicago, and BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Romancing the Anthropocene

Curators: Ivan Jurakic and Crystal Mowry (Waterloo, Canada)

The Anthropocene, or age of man, is a term proposed by geologists and ecologists as a replacement for the Holocene, the current geological epoch that began over 10,000 years ago. The Anthropocene marks a distinct era after the advent of the Industrial Revolution, a period in which humanity has left an indelible mark on both the geological record and the ecosystem. At face value it acknowledges the triumph of science and human achievement but it also suggests a cautionary message regarding climate change, the destruction of natural habitat, resource depletion, and the extinction of plant and animal species.

Ivan Jurakic is the Director/Curator of the University of Waterloo Art Gallery. He has curated numerous exhibitions and sat on the curatorial panel for the 2009 Sobey Art Award. His writing has appeared in multiple publications and exhibition catalogues. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Crystal Mowry is Senior Curator at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. She has curated and organized more than 40 exhibitions, managed catalogues, and served on various public art juries. In 2011 she received an OAAG Exhibition Award for Ernest Daetwyler: Barn Raising [Reality in Reverse]. She is based in Cambridge, Ontario.

Museum for the End of The World

Curators: Janine Marchessault and Michael Prokopow (Toronto, Canada)

Mounted in various locations around Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall, Museum for the End of the World is an exercise in creativity and crisis. One of the greater ironies of human existence is the persistent anticipation of its end. Dates are named and dates pass. Ancient texts are read with an eye to temporal alchemy, and whether the result of monster waves, unstoppable pandemics, nuclear calamities, machines on the rampage or the sun ceasing to shine, the idea of Doomsday – that revelatory moment of the end of the world – can be at once the fire of speculative lamentation and the spark of insightful creativity.

Janine Marchessault is a Founder of York University’s Future Cinema Lab which studies screen architectures in urban contexts. Her past projects include several large-scale site-specific art exhibitions including Museum for the End of the World (Nuit Blanche 2012). Her forthcoming book is Ecstatic Worlds: Media, Utopias, Ecologies (MIT Press).

Michael J Prokopow is a historian, curator and critic. His specializations include material culture, design history, contemporary art history and critical theory. His curatorial works include The Leona Drive Project (2009), Meanings in Architecture (2012). He is a faculty member at OCAD University. He holds a PhD from Harvard University.

DRIFT

Curator: Shauna McCabe (Toronto, Canada)

DRIFT offers encounters with the city highlighting the consistency of urban space as fluid and poetic, a “terrain vague” with room to explore the familiar and fantastic, the informal and uncanny within new urban forms. Artists transform architecture and landscape to highlight the expansive entropy of such spaces, and the blend of memory, history and imagination converging in our everyday experiences. Among glass towers and concrete surfaces, histories and rhythms emerge in the constellation of installations – subterranean depths, illusory forms, natural histories, and ancient memories – reveal tentative, speculative texture within even the most resilient and tenacious of city surfaces.

Shauna McCabe is a curator, writer, and arts manager. Currently Executive Director of the Textile Museum of Canada, she had held the CRC in Critical Theory in the Interpretation of Culture since 2007. She held positions as Director, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery and Senior Curator, Confederation Centre Art Gallery.

Bodies and Buildings

Curator: Christina Ritchie (Toronto, Canada)

Cities have shape and size; they have histories, constitutions, administrations and systems; they have rhythms, bodies and buildings. They are formed with all of these elements in relation to each other to make space for dwelling, commerce, ritual and play, giving expression to memories, chronicles, secrets and desires. Each of the artists selected for the exhibition works with specific elements of urban experience to construct relationships that go beyond the usual patterns of time, scale or movement, demonstrating that our urban destiny is both more fluid and more imaginary than its built form suggests.

Christina Ritchie is an independent curator based in Toronto. She has a history of institutional practice, most recently as the Director of the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, and before that as Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Co-director of the Foundation of Art Resources in Los Angeles.

Once More With Feeling

Curator: Helena Reckitt (Toronto, Canada)

Once More With Feeling explores the desire to repeat and remake. Playing between past and present, it evokes circuits of renewal as well as movements of revolt. Many works in this exhibition literally revolve, enacting loops of repetition and feedback, haunting and hallucination. Many of these works are based in music and sound. With its power to unleash the energies of the crowd, the voice is a threshold between the social and the individual. Listening to a song, we find it hard not to sing along, drawing the tune into our bodies and making it our own.

Helena Reckitt is an independent curator and critic based in London, UK. Formerly Senior Curator of Programs at the Power Plant Toronto, she has held curatorial and programming positions at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and was an associate editor at Routledge publishers.

Restaging the Encounter

Curator: Candice Hopkins (Toronto, Canada)

Restaging the Encounter attempts to capture the fleeting moment when the political become poetic. The works will mine historical moments to enable their reconsideration in the present and offer possibilities to re-write and re-perform history. What do the concepts of revolution and utopia mean today and how can art reflect upon the nature of the spectacular? By mining the spaces between fiction and reality and the possible and the contained, artists will re-imagine the city for just one night to consider the urban environment as a forum for social practice.

Candice Hopkins is the Elizabeth Simonfay Curatorial Resident, Indigenous Art, at the National Gallery of Canada and former director and curator of exhibitions at the Western Front, Vancouver. She has an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York, where she was awarded the Ramapo Curatorial Prize.

Sound and Vision

Curator: Shirley Madill (Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada)

Marshall McLuhan raised the bar for the future of technology introducing strategies in electronic media that offered the potential of open-ended encounters that could close the communication gap. He believed artists were a generation ahead of technologies; visionaries who could provide a stronger means of social navigation through physical and non-physical space. The Future of the Present presents work that uses new technologies to form a vocabulary for a non-pictorial art. Artworks connect through unique interplays between the spiritual, material, and social spheres. The artists transform architectural and city spaces through the use of technology, interaction, light, sound and illusion.

Shirley Madill is Executive Director at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. She has worked in the field of contemporary art in various capacities at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and Rodman Hall Art Centre.

You had to Go Looking for it

Curator: Nicholas Brown (Toronto, Canada)

You had to go looking for it invites us to transform and occupy Toronto’s financial district. The neighbourhood lives and breathes during banker’s hours – its glass buildings, subterranean arcades and courtyards are offered up to those with the business to be there. This exhibition proposes forms of organization, communication, and labour that echo, invert and misuse the symbolic language of corporate capitalism. Here, artists will open the financial district up as a place of otherworldly encounter, ambivalent assembly and enthusiastic competition.

Nicholas Brown is a Toronto-based independent curator and co-director of Hunter and Cook Projects. From 2008-2010 he was the curator of Red Bull 381 Projects, where he introduced a program of leading contemporary art and a model for arts patronage that was unprecedented in Canada.

The Good Night

Curator: Gerald McMaster (Toronto, Canada)

Whether an action, idea, or received belief that can or cannot be explained, the night remains mysterious and untamed. Until, city life changed it all. Though our nightly rituals remain social and our gathering places shift, it is now the new tribes who’ve come to rule the night. Yet, the proposition of a mysterious and untamed night must now be read as the site for creative possibility. In the hand of the artist, night will be transformed into an unforgettable experience. Using the mysterious phenomenon that we live by and find comfort in – light – the artist will sculpt the night.

Since 2005, Gerald McMaster has been the Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art at AGO, where he led a curatorial team in reinstalling the new Canadian galleries. He will be the Canadian Commissioner to the 2010 Sydney Biennale; in November his “Inuit Modern” exhibition opens at the AGO.

Sound and Vision

Curator: Anthony Kiendl (Winnipeg, Canada)

Through a range of multi-sensory experiences, languages and forms, Sound and Vision explores how art and popular music create, anticipate, and document some of our most inspired, passionate and widely appreciated cultural moments. These musical “notes” generate sub-rosa histories and collective imaginaries that are transmitted across borders through the body, live performance, radio waves and recent technologies of communication. The convergence of sound and vision encompasses both presence and signification, opening up multiple levels of communication and ecstasy.

Anthony Kiendl is Director of Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Canada. In 2007 he was Leverhulme Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Arts, Middlesex University, London. In 2010 he was awarded the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art.

The Night of Future Past

Curator: Sarah Robayo Sheridan (Toronto, Canada)

To survive the night without sleep is to live outside standard time. With the circadian clock stopped, the past may be confused with a possible future. Remove this diurnal passage between night and day, and we find ourselves living inside the past, present and future simultaneously. The night of future past transposes one tense for another; and is composed of histories revisited, futures explored and the present in flux.

Sarah Robayo Sheridan is Director of Exhibitions and Publications at Mercer Union. She trained as a curator in the Curatorial Practice Program of the California College of the Arts, completing her MA thesis on the visual culture of sleep. She has been active as an editor, writer and graphic designer.

Should I Stay or Should I Go
Curator: Christof Migone (Toronto, Canada)

Should I Stay or Should I Go will explore concepts of movement, gridlock, and mobility, responding to daily urban life and to Nuit Blanche as a mass event. Projects will deal with transience and traces of the psychic, physiologic and geographic. They will breathe, count, repeat, spin, lift, layer and time. Projects will intertwine spectacle with subtlety, and play with criticality. They will offer contrasting perspectives, from a rapid blur to a languid static. They will depart and arrive, move and arrest.

Christof Migone is an artist, writer, and curator. His work and research delves into language, voice, bodies, performance, intimacy, complicity and endurance. He has co-edited numerous anthologies. He currently lives in Toronto and is a lecturer at the University of Toronto Mississauga and the Director/Curator of the Blackwood Gallery.

The Circle With a Hole in the Middle

Curator: Gregory Elgstrand (Toronto, Canada)

Step right up to The Circle With A Hole In The Middle where the festival of the immediate future becomes nothing less than a circus of ideas. This is a circus where one thing does and does not lead to another and another to another. The circle describes a hole to be filled with an idea to be thought. But not just the one idea, rather, it is a place where the many ideas of the many people come together in celebration of ideas of celebration, death, philosophy, and parades in a play of interpretation to produce more ideas.

Gregory Elgstrand is a curator, writer and producer. He has curated numerous exhibitions across Canada including Happy Medium, a survey of Brian Jungen’s drawings, Redwood Downs by David Hoffos, an exhibition of posters and publications produced by Portikus in Frankfurt and group exhibitions such as Futures with Garry Neill Kennedy.

What Were We Before?

Curator: Thom Sokoloski (Toronto, Canada)

What Were We Before? The area around Yonge, Dundas and Bay Streets is an environment that is participatory, interactive and inclusive – a space where the public can become inspired and engaged in their own individual encounters with art. What were we before? will be a nocturnal urban fantasia through which the moving crowds will ponder their individual pasts and present within the context of Toronto’s own history and of the larger expression of art on a grand scale.

Thom Sokoloski trained in New York and Paris as artist, producer and curator. He produced Sid’s Kids – the punk musical, the Master Musicians of Jajouka (because the ghost of Brian Jones told him to), worked with R. Murray Schafer, created his own works and directed site-specific opera and theatre.

NIGHTSENSE

Curators: Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, DisplayCult (Toronto, Canada)

NIGHTSENSE features visual and extra-visual artworks within the shadowy world of the financial district after dark. Addressing the spectre of market destablization, the invisible transmission of broadcast signals, as well as hauntings from a locale where early Toronto history has been all but erased, these projects will engage the audience in critical and ludic participation.

NIGHTSENSE invites a reconsideration of the sensory economy by intensifying the subtle but powerful links between bodies, aesthetic perception and shifts in capital.

Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher form the DisplayCult curatorial collaborative. Their exhibitions have been featured at museums, galleries and artist-run centres in Canada and the U.S., and include MetroSonics (2009), Odor Limits (2008), Listening Awry (2007), Do Me! (2006), Aural Cultures (2005). For further information, visit www.displaycult.com.

Jim Drobnick’s research centres on smell, sound and vision. His books include anthologies The Smell Culture Reader (2006) and Aural Cultures (2004). He is reviews editor at The Senses and Society. He is Associate Professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Jennifer Fisher’s research focuses on touch, taste and the sixth sense. She is editor of Technologies of Intuition; her essays have appeared in such anthologies as The Senses in Performance (2007), as well as Public and Tessera. She is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Curatorial Studies at York University.

Urban Disaster/Catastrophe/Survival Actions

Curator: Makiko Hara (Vancouver, Canada)

Urban Disaster/Catastrophe/Survival Actions will address the universal human ability to accommodate and survive memories of war, disaster and catastrophe through strategic creative survival actions. The intent of the projects is not to examine the ongoing disaster of catastrophe, nor to manifest some socio-political message on the global situation of disaster. Rather, it proposes an unexpected temporal physical and intellectual territory where we can put ourselves into a flow of imagination – to question how we can creatively revitalize our life, regain a joy of living, and share the aspiration of renewal.

Makiko Hara has been curator at the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art – Centre A since 2007 where she has curated solo and group exhibitions of local, national and international artists including Koki Tanaka, Lida Abdul, and Louise Noguchi.

THE NEW WORLD

Curator: Gordon Hatt (Kitchener, Canada)

Night is the background against which dream-like fantasies and nocturnal fears are described, where the language is the material of play, and where identity is asserted, celebrated, discarded and extinguished. The city at night is the new world – a world of shifting, ephemeral forms and desire mingled with existential anxiety. Artists engage the city’s public spaces and arenas on a large scale. They respond to the city at night as both subject and medium, adapting city surfaces for video projections, using its public spaces as sites for sculptural installations and interactive performances, and its landmarks as subjects of digital manipulation.

Gordon Hatt is a writer and curator living in Kitchener. He was the Director/Curator at Rodman Hall Arts Centre in St. Catharines and before that the Curator of Temporary Exhibitions at Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge Ontario. His curatorial work has focused on Toronto artists who came of age in the 1990s.

HONEST

Curator: Wayne Baerwaldt (Toronto, Canada)

In Zone B, I propose a series of performative art events and installations in spaces that will skewer audience expectations by blurring the lines between artist/performer and audience member. Many of the artists in Zone B produce works that demand a close proximity of artwork to the viewer. An unusual intimacy with the audience is built in a variety of situations.
Zone B integrates a range of artists, cultural producers, actors, ideas, platforms and media to both complicate and facilitate a range of art forms, all, to varying degrees, subversive, challenging and aggravating to audiences.

Wayne Baerwaldt is the Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery. Previously, he was the director of The Power Plant and Plug In ICA in Winnipeg. He also acted Co-curator for Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s The Paradise Institute, at the 49th Venice Biennale.

Multiple Selves – Strange Destinations

Curator: Haema Sivanesan (Toronto, Canada)

Amidst the towering brick chimneys and cavernous factories of Liberty Village: a mountain of metal; a barricade of barrels; lights pulsing SOS. Road blocks, camouflage and motorcades, characterize a state of political anxiety, where daily life is hijacked by the imperatives of political protocol; by the relentless and banal liturgies of media propaganda; by the spectacle of death through state-sanctioned violence.

Drawing on black humour, irony and grotesque beauty, artists explore the furtive and fugitive machinations of societies at cross-roads. From the unhomely perspective of the transnational subject, these artists contend with a contemporary dystopia.

Sivanesan recently relocated from Sydney, Australia to Toronto, where she is currently the Executive Director of SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre). Her curatorial work has focused on art from South and Southeast Asia, with an interest in relationships between contemporary and historical art forms.

Beginning to See The Light

Curator: Dave Dyment (Toronto, Canada)

Beginning to See The Light takes its title from a 1969 Velvet Underground song. In addition to the clear connotation of daybreak, the phrase implies anticipation, hope, expectation, enlightenment and a gradual epiphany. The works in the show embody these ideas, employing a variety of strategies such as play, protest, agitation and resistance. The artists – hailing from Toronto, Montreal, New York City, Philadelphia and Sweden – present performative projects, video, sound, light works, installation and participatory events that point towards the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Dave Dyment is an artist, writer and curator, living and working in Toronto. He was the Director of Programming at Mercer Union from 2004 to 2008, where his exhibitions included Infinity Etc and Seducing Down the Door. Prior to that, he spent five years at Art Metropole.

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

Curator: Rhonda Corvese (Toronto, Canada)

Those who venture into Zone A will encounter a world turned upside-down, where the only certainty is to expect the unexpected. Nothing is as it seems. The works examine an urban civilization of alienation, fear and potential danger, mass communication and (dis)orientation. This tension is balanced by the alien and the fantastic, where humour is staged in strange situations and suspensions. Zone A promises to transfix and unsettle the psyche of the individual and the masses. Enter at your own risk. Go on, I dare you.

Rhonda Corvese is a Toronto-based independent curator whose projects often evolve in response to situations where she strives to challenge the role of the curator, artist and audience in the presentation and engagement of contemporary art.

At the Corner of Time and Place

Curator: Michelle Jacques (Toronto, Canada)

Presently dominated by Chinatown and first settled by British gentry in the nineteenth century, the area surrounding Dundas and McCaul has developed over the years through the ongoing arrivals of diverse inhabitants from around the world. The varied cultures represented in the local citizenry – and the multiple histories and geographies that they embody – define the area’s true character. From day to day, how much attention do we pay to the value that this heterogeneity brings to this neighbourhood? Each work in this exhibition is built on some combination of invoking history, suspending time or traversing geographies.

Michelle Jacques is a Toronto-based curator, writer and educator, who currently holds the position of Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Supernatural City

Curator: Camilla Singh (Toronto, Canada)

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche enters into the time for sleep, the realm of dreams. It pushes past usual bedtimes, engaging imaginations and exploring relationships with the city and fellow city dwellers during the course of one highly anticipated insomniac night.

Supernatural City invites us to cross thresholds, to explore the unseen, the unknown and to welcome that which is revealed to us in dreams, in altered states and in the exceptional moments that constitute an ordinary day. Tonight the gigantic wheels of our imaginative lives grow and force upon each other a simultaneous beckoning to another dimension.

Camilla Singh is a visual artist and curator, exhibiting internationally and working in Toronto as the Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). Zone C Curatorial Assistant: Chlo’ Fraser

Pasts Re-framed

Curators: Fern Bayer, Peggy Gale, Chrysanne Stathacos (Toronto, Canada)

Once a crossroads well north of the Town of York, then a mixed nineteenth-century neighbourhood with tree-lined streets, Yorkville became a 1960s Hippie haven, then a cultural focus and high-end shopping destination, now it is festooned with building cranes and dramatic new towers. Building, re-building and change are constants here. These are places with a past, now re-framed by artists’ interventions.

Civic Insomnia

Curator: Kim Simon (Toronto, Canada)

Restless in the face of habitual urban experiences, these artists help to pierce through our routines. The many artists and performers responsible for these eight commissioned projects all create with an acute sense of play and joy, exposing or transforming aspects of the ways we are in our city. A playground of urban fantasy, visions and encounters will greet those who venture out this night. Towards collectively creating personal memories of public space and visceral experiences of physical and conceptual institutions, Nuit Blanche asks us to look and listen closer through twelve sleepless hours, wandering in a state of wonder.

Searching for the ‘Soul’ of Queen Street West

Curator: Clara Hargittay (Toronto, Canada)

Nuit Blanche is a strange and romantic concept. It turns night into day, and forces us to
slow our gaze, step back, reconsider and look at things differently. As Queen Street West is poised to reclaim its former glory, as the fashionable garden city it once was in the late 19th century, Nuit Blanche remembers the ordinary people who at one time lived here and shared
its legacy.

My Secret City

Curator: Jessica Rose (Toronto, Canada)

My Secret City is an exhibition hidden inside the three Nuit Blanche Zones (Bloor / Yorkville, McCaul / University and Queen Street West) which investigates public space through the private and sometimes secretive imaginings of the artists. Uncover secrets concealed by or revealed within the 20 My Secret City artworks by Toronto artists.