A ghostly chorus, a giant rabbit, an invisible parade, blindfolded wrestlers, and digital graffiti artists were just a few of the scenes I witnessed last night in the streets of Toronto's Nuit Blanche.
It was a fun night of challenging perceptions. It's good to turn the world inside-out every once in awhile, so you can look at life with a fresh gaze. It was also interesting to feel how audience participation (or lack thereof) impacted the experience.
Audio Parade: Field Recording: The inner courtyard at the Old City Hall was blasting the sound track of a parade, but there was no one marching. When I first came into the space there were hardly any people there, and it felt like I was standing in the middle of someone's memory. The more people came into the space, the more the atmosphere changed, until it felt like I was standing at the back of the crowd, unable to glimpse the passing bands. It would have been a great twist to pretend to become a member of the parade, too bad I didn't think of it at the time!
Battle Royale: The wrestling match taking place at the Grey Coach bus terminal was a real attention grabber. A huge cage was set up in the middle of the terminal and a bare-chested wrestler paced menacingly inside - although the fact he was wearing a blindfold made him appear a lot less dangerous. Volunteers entered the cage and also put on blindfolds. Then, basically, people commenced bumping into each other; with the bare-chested wrestler sometimes maneuvering willing participants into the ropes.
The Art Gallery was open until 3 a.m., with access to the Steichen exhibit, The Conde Nast Years.
After a few hours of walking around in the cold drizzle, I welcomed the chance to sit in the TIFF Cinemateque and enjoy vintage films by the Lumiere brothers and George Meilies, accompanied by live piano. The films seem crude by today's standards but the stories are captivating. And once you can imagine a rocket to the moon, it starts to become a possibility. This film was created in 1902, and in 1959 the Soviet's launched their first rocket into space. I can imagine a budding scientist awakening to the possibility at a screening of Meilies' film: