Backgrounder: Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017 program details for City-produced exhibitions
August 29, 2017
The 12th edition of Nuit Blanche Toronto takes place on Saturday, September 30 from 6:58 p.m. until sunrise. Presented under one event-wide theme, “Many Possible Futures,” this year’s event features over 85 contemporary art projects created by more than 350 local, national and international artists. Some highlights of the City-produced exhibition projects follow. Full exhibition details are available at http://www.nuitblancheto.com.
This year, four City-produced exhibitions feature an engaging lineup of 39 contemporary art projects.
1.Taking to the Streets
“Taking to the Streets,” from curator Barbara Fischer, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, utilizes the street as a medium for social gathering. Art projects take their cue from the multiple symbolic and make-shift gestures of these gatherings as they rise up to lay claim to attention and assert existence. Projects break through deaf ears, stop traffic and summon the possibility of a common cause. Fischer’s exhibition artists reclaim public space.
Project highlights include:
- Abbas Akhavan and Kristina Lee Podesva’s “Dream Variations” presents a contemplative, meditative and generative space for rest — with cots, pillows and sung voices in darkness. The project offers a time and space for dreaming, reimagining and glimpsing a new world, quietly countering the oppressive and outmoded structures of the old.
- The video installation “Holding Still // Holding Together” from Annie Macdonald studies documentary photographs of the struggles between police officers and the limp bodies of protesters as they demonstrate and then are moved, dragged or carried off by force. Shown among multiple screens, dancers imitate the complicated configurations of these acts. By removing signs of the imbalance of power, the gestures signify other potential grasps: clutching, holding, rescue and care.
- Hazel Meyer’s “Where Once Stood a Bandstand for Cruising & Pleasure” enlists poetry and prose, quotes, lists and wordplay to resonate with the storied history of voices and signs pitched to Queen’s Park. The project consists of an ongoing series of banner drops — the quick and surreptitious method of getting word out for protests. Representing a conversation rather than a demand, the banners evoke a warm, pulsing, desiring, horizontal political body at Toronto’s foremost site of protest.
2. Calculating Upon the Unforeseen
Curated by Clara Halpern, Assistant Curator at Oakville Galleries, “Calculating Upon the Unforeseen” recognizes that to reflect on the future requires thinking from multiple perspectives, not just of the past 150 years, but of 15,000. The exhibition explores the notion that the future will be shaped by how we approach the unknown and respond to the unforeseen, contemplating whether this is a hazard, or a door to new possibilities.
Project highlights include:
- “Embassy,” from Cedric Bomford and Verena Kaminiarz, is an imagined, temporary, foreign mission. This large-scale installation built from scaffolding and building wrap suggests a space half-built, still in process, on its way to becoming something larger and more permanent. Though embassies appear to be fixed, they are guests, their presence dependent on diplomatic relationships between nations, which can range from steadfast and consistent to complex, shifting, and at times, even volatile.
- Tanya Lukin Linklater’s video installation “The treaty is in the body” takes up Indigenous understandings of treaty relationships, which are at the foundation of Canada. It calls for non-Indigenous audiences to consider their implication within treaty. The site of this project, the Toronto Public Labyrinth, offers a space for contemplating this embodied past, present and future.
3. Life on Neebahgeezis; A Luminous Engagement
Curated by Brooklyn-based Anishinaabe visual artist Maria Hupfield, “Life on Neebahgeezis; A Luminous Engagement” highlights the surreal qualities that come when the sun goes down, combined with the everyday to provide a glimpse of another world where spirits walk and the unknown becomes familiar. This dream time makes space for new possibilities and imaginings of the future.
Project highlights include:
- Marianne Nicolson’s large-scale projection, “Laxa’ine’ gigukwdzikasi’ gigukwas Hayałiligase’, The Many Large Houses of the Ghosts,” addresses the dispossession of Indigenous peoples by recalling the supernatural. Animated hand-drawn pictographs contrast against the Romanesque exterior of Old City Hall, a symbol of colonization. Nicolson presents her work as a guest outside of her ancestral Indigenous territory as Kwakwaka’wakw from the West Coast.
- Grounded in Anishinaabe Intelligence and stories of The Black Sturgeon from Nipissing First Nation, North Bay area, as told by Aanmitaagzi artist Perry Mcleod-Shabogesic, “Serpent People” from Aanmitaagzi Company is a decentralized durational theatre performance staged as a series of provocations that provide an opportunity to gather, reflect and express imaginings on the ability to change habits of human consumption.
- Siku Allooloo and Jaskiran Dhillon’s interactive performance installation, “In Conversation: Becoming an Accomplice,” builds awakened solidarity with Indigenous Nations leading the movement for resurgence, decolonization and reclamation of their homelands in North America.
4. Monument to the Century of Revolutions
Curator Nato Thompson, Artistic Director at Creative Time in New York and curator of numerous public projects including The Creative Time Summit (2009–17), the leading global conference on art and social justice, unveils “Monument to the Century of Revolutions.” A living exhibition, 100 years after the socialist October Revolution, the Monument consists of an array of containers producing a small village.
Featuring renowned Russian collective Chto Delat, famed architect Yury Avvakumov and local artists, collaborators and activist groups, the Monument transforms Nathan Phillips Square into a collective artwork that is a veritable mass-shipped revolution of performance and installations reflecting on history and future.
The incredible support of corporate sponsors H&M and Shiplake Properties Limited allows talented artists to showcase their work during this year’s event in two projects:
- Fifth-year Program Sponsor H&M presents “TRUTH,” a project from contemporary graffiti artist, Brian Leitch aka “KWEST.” Using recycled clothing and textiles from H&M’s Garment Collecting Initiative, “TRUTH” reimagines discarded garments transformed into a work of art. The project argues the potential of something or someone that might otherwise be rejected or thrown away.
- Shiplake Properties Limited, a third-year Program Sponsor of the event offers “Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene)” from artist Mike Kelley. Inspired by a photo found in a high school yearbook, the original, a still from a school play, depicts two young men in a shabby apartment. From this image Kelley has re-staged a ‘Domestic Scene’: the protagonists’ unnerving, histrionic, relationship.
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Media contact: Justine Palinska, Economic Development & Culture, 416-395-7318, email@example.com