A Stranger Things party, a river of books and three other must-see spectacles at Nuit Blanche 2016
Toronto’s annual all-night celebration of all things artsy returns this weekend with 90 dusk-till-dawn installations all across the city. Without Scotiabank as a sponsor, this year’s rager is a bit smaller than previous editions, but there’s still more art than you, your friends and your third extra-large double-double will be able to take in. To help, we’ve handpicked a checklist of five projects and parties you won’t want to miss.
Party like it’s 1985
The only thing better than an ’80s dance party? An ’80s dance party with a science-fiction bent. This one-night, Stranger Things–themed club has everything you could dream of and more: cheap Grolsch, sloppy karaoke, Christmas lights, faceless creatures poking through the walls and projectors that whisk you to an otherworldly abyss.
Bonus: Dancing shoes giving you blisters? Climb to the Gladstone’s second floor and check out eight artist projects that embody “the unexpected and boundary-pushing.” Enticingly vague!
Watch a pulsing wall of light
Architects Ila Berman, Mona El Khafif, Marcella Del Signore and Steven Beites placed sound sensors along east-west streets from King to Bloor that track urban activity levels. Urban Syncopation—a mirrored aluminum topographic light wall that stretches the width of the Gardiner’s event space—transforms that data into a dazzling light show, or, in their words, “the collective heartbeat of the city.”
Bonus: Multimedia artist Maziar Ghaderi’s Korsi creates a warm Iranian communal gathering space in the museum’s outdoor plaza, where you can enjoy all-night performances from poets, storytellers, DJs and mystics.
Salute the 6 in your own way
Bata Shoe Museum
Piece by piece, Torontonians will assemble a puzzle of what it means to live in this city. Salute the 6ix invites locals to become artists for a night and put their own words and symbols on pieces of carboard and add it to an installation that will grow to massive proportions by dawn. Sorry, no—Drake is not scheduled to attend.
Bonus: Evan Steingarten and Jason van Horne’s Melting greets Bata tourists outside the museum’s front door. This harsh reminder of global warming uses sculpted, slowly melting ics pedestals and frames to display photographs of glacial ice from Yukon’s Kluane National Park.
Get lost in the light
Drake One Fifty
Jason Peters has created the best kind of massive tapeworm—one that glows and is not inside your stomach. The New York artist’s White Line is a monumental light ribbon that twists and turns roller coaster–style for nearly the length of a city block. And, to think: this illuminated beast is made from mundane, everyday items: hundreds of two-gallon plastic buckets. Leave your drumsticks at home, though.
Bonus: Peters’ work continues inside the Drake with Portals, above, a series of vibrant light rings. “I invite the viewer to suspend past experience and enter into a world where the mind is allowed free rein, even as the body remains constrained by the laws of gravity and the sometimes perceptually imperceptible limits that contain it,” Peters writes. Translation: “It’s going to be super cool.”
Book it to City Hall
Old City Hall
Curated by Camille Hong Xin and a team of volunteers, Literature vs. Traffic transforms a roadway into a river of open books where the power of the written word will stop motorists in their tracks—literally. The installation, composed of piles of donated tomes, encourages pedestrians to take home a book and keep the spirit of print alive.
Bonus: Famed Toronto music-video auteur Director X’s giant sphere, Death of the Sun, takes over nearby Nathan Phillips Square. The monstrous sculpture of our nearest star will speed through its multi-million-year life cycle throughout the course of the night.