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Ad Astra - Art from Dusk to Dawn – Nuit Blanche 2013, Toronto

Art from Dusk to Dawn – Nuit Blanche 2013, Toronto

by Jamie M. Kwan
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Every year, the first weekend of October is absolute madness in Toronto: major areas of the downtown core are shut down to vehicular traffic, crowds of people storm the streets, strange videos and images are draped across building facades, and weird objects float between buildings. That’s right…Nuit Blanche comes and go within a 12 hour span. Next Saturday, Toronto’s urban fabric becomes the backdrop to the one of the largest art events in the country.


Nuit Blanche Toronto 2010 (Photograph: Loozrboy, October 2010)


Art from dusk to dawn

Originating in France in 1984, Nuit Blanche – meaning “white night” – is an annual all-night art festival which is open 6pm to 6am for one night only. Today, the event has spread around the world, with events in over 120 cities – including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in Canada.  It’s an awesome opportunity to experience some amazing large-scale contemporary art installations created by hundreds of artists, and best of all – it’s free! Definitely an event you don’t want to miss.

This year, the feature exhibitor is Ai Weiwei; coming all the way from China, Weiwei has created some of the most controversial pieces of contemporary art, and is well-known in the architectural community for working with the architects of the Beijing Olympic Stadium as well as the London Serpentine Pavilion. Toronto’s City Hall will be extremely busy, featuring two of his projects: his famous zodiac heads, as well as a new Toronto edition of his “Forever Bicycles” piece.

Ad Astra - Art from Dusk to Dawn – Nuit Blanche 2013, Toronto

Sic itur ad astra: ‘thus you shall go to the stars’

Of course, this article is not complete without some (shameless) self-promotion.

Supported by the Bata Shoe Museum and Ryerson University, a team of seven young designers (myself included!) has been working tirelessly on transforming a small space in the Bata Shoe Museum into an infinite, immersive and interactive environment, in an attempt to transport visitors into the atmosphere of an artificial night sky. Entitled “Ad Astra”, a Latin phrase for “to the stars”, our project is a true opportunity for anyone to experience a surreal infinite environment completely engrossed with spherical lights that not only create a serene space, but also respond and react to your movement.

This project is made specifically for the Bata Shoe Museum for display during Nuit Blanche this year, so be sure to come check it out!

For more information about the event, follow our progress leading up the event on our Facebook page.

Nuit Blanche is just around the corner…so be sure to check the event page for a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of our big installation at the museum, as we post photos of our set up all next week.

Interested in my work? Check out my website at www.jamiekwan.com for other explorations in design.

Planning on seeing the event? What Nuit Blanche projects are you looking forward to seeing?

For more Toronto adventures, read:
Getting Muddy in Toronto – Muddy York Walking Tours that is…
Toronto’s Inner Harbour: Mariposa Scenic Harbour Tours
Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Ontario – Photo Essay

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