Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nuit_Blanche 10-2-2010 8-52-02 PM

Considering it's only 5 years old, Nuit Blanche has certainly made an impression on Toronto. And just as we always, there's highlights and things to improve.

My Nuit Blanche 2010 blogposts:

Favourite installations:

The Task by Chris Shepherd proves to be one of the most fascinating projects I saw that night. A man stacks and unstacks cement blocks all night. It's not in the effort of building anything, but simply the task. Nothing will be built, nothing destroyed.

Big O by Ċ½ilvinas Kempinas. Like The Task, it was beautiful in its simple concept: a loop of magnetic tape precariously balanced between a series of fans. It wavers, it flows, but still remains aloft. It's like some simple game we played as children, growing anxious every time it touches the floor that the game will be over.

So what to improve on for next year? Well, there's the annual complaining about drunks and crowds, but not much can be changed about that: it's a public event. If it can't be changed at homecoming, it won't be changed much here.

For constructive criticism that's actually realistic, I found Torontoist had a good list of ideas to improve the event next year:

I liked their suggestion to close off Queen: closing Yonge was a new change for Nuit Blanche which I hope to see next year, but it's time to consider closing Queen Street to traffic from Church to Dufferin. With so much foot traffic going through, it was impossible for streetcars to get through. Close off Queen, make Dundas and King "streetcar only" and make the TTC free for the night.

It's all night, not late night: as in previous years, I found myself at 4am standing where an installation should have been, only to find they pulled up stakes and left. And some of the installations, such as Koerner Hall, were merely on auto-pilot with pre-recorded music playing on a player piano. If the event is marketed as "until sunrise", we'd count on the installations to still be there until sunrise. I especially admire installations which are designed to reach their climax at dawn.

Nuit Navigating: this was the first time using the Nuit Navigator on my iPhone. I stand by the hope that the Toronto International Film Festival adopt a similar app, but while I found the Navigator handy for planning, I wasn't using it as much that night aside from the occasional GPS check. Part of that was it didn't seem the app was compatible with the new multitasking OS for the iPhone, causing me to restart the app every time I used it - I can understand how that happened, probably not much time to update the program given the new system was a late summer release. But I found in order to access the "My Night" planner, I had to log in each and every time I started the app. If that kink can be worked out, all the better.

Another idea would be to integrate the My Night into the maps - show pins for all the installations, use a different colour for the installations corresponding to the My Night planner, and give us the ability to "check" off installations as we go.

Best advice learned from that night? If you intend to last the 12 hour event, stick to water and coffee, skip the energy drinks and alcohol. The latter two make you crash pretty hard - in previous years, around the 4am mark. Seeing a few installations and then taking a late dinner break also helped too.

Each year Nuit Blanche evolves, and they listen to public feedback. If you have some suggestions, be sure to let them know. Myself, I definitely will be diving into to next year.