Nuit Blanche….à Winnipeg

Winnipeg’s Nuit Blanche is a big, fun deal!  I’d read and heard about the Nuit Blanche festivals celebrating contemporary art, but had never attended one.

St. Boniface Bridge, photo by T. Vatrt

St. Boniface Bridge, photo by T. Vatrt

The French phrase, nuit blanche, means a ‘sleepless night.’  The concept of Nuit Blanche  –an all-night art party!– originated (appropriately) in France in 1984, and has spread around the world.  Canadian Art magazine has a great article (here) about why Nuit Blanche works, or sometimes fails, in Canadian cities.  Winnipeg staged its first Nuit Blanche in 2010;  last year Toronto’s Nuit Blanche celebrated its tenth anniversary.

I suppose every city has its own take on Nuit Blanche.  In Winnipeg, I visited a few outdoor displays, many of them interactive.

Yes!  In CLOUD, the pull strings on the incandescent bulbs worked.  In The Deep Dark, we walked through 12 illuminated ‘doorways’ along the river.

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

I’m not sure which was more intriguing:  to watch people appear, and disappear through the doors, or to personally experience the enveloping light, quickly followed by complete darkness that occurred when you walked through the ‘doors.’

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

The Deep Dark by Caitland r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, photo by T. Vatrt

This is only a tiny sample of Winnipeg’s Nuit Blanche.  Click here to peruse the extensive program of performances, screenings and events that were staged Saturday, October 1, 2016.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Nuit Blanche was participating in the enjoyment of art, outdoors, at night, with hundreds of other people.  This may have been my first Nuit Blanche, but, hopefully, not my last.

 

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11 thoughts on “Nuit Blanche….à Winnipeg

  1. Scott

    How long the Nuite Blanche been going on? Deep Dark looks like an amazing piece of work. This kind of art that can alter perception on such a scale is always amazing. Where did their idea come from, and then how do they carry it out? It’s not like putting pen to paper!

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    1. Scott

      Yes, down here I suppose the 1% have “art development” for their estates. But who would know but the privileged few. Thanks for that website. I very interested in this kind of art of, what would you care it environmental art, it’s not quite that, that’s like the Scottish fellow Andy Goldsworthy. But it’s experiential in the same way. I’ve seen some great sound installations in SF (I suppose heard would be more apt to say), and you start to realize how narrow our day-to-day perceptions can be.

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      1. terryvatrt Post author

        Manitoba is far ahead of the curve, when it comes to arts and culture support….and isn’t it obvious? Vancouver doesn’t even host a Nuit Blanche. No money, no support. As a matter of fact, British Columbia has to increase government funding by 34% just to get to average provincial support for the arts (and that doesn’t include Quebec in the average.) Sad. Disappointing….perhaps pathetic.
        My favourite sound/environmental artists are Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. (I wrote about them; their work can be disorienting, at times, but also multi-layered and meaningful.) I think they were originally from Alberta, and now live in B.C.

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  2. Scott

    And I just remembered another amazing perception altering piece Julie and I saw in Mexico City. It a room with mirrors, and walked into the space on a path that then seemed to turn into a walkway in space, with great depths below you and great heights above. Really disorienting.

    I happen to be listening to my Blue Man Group station on Pandora and I must say the selection of music it brings certainly to appropriate to this post.

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