Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nuit Blanche!

Last night was Nuit Blanche in Toronto. I hung out in Zone C for a couple of hours and had fun strolling along with Jean and Gill. The free fleece blankets, hot chocolate and campfire sausage were a tasty treat on a damp night. My favourite installation was The Apology Project. Hearing a heartfelt, genuine 'I'm sorry' over and over again felt really really good. It was such a comforting art piece. I also loved Bicitycle. You couldn't help but laugh when you saw it. And what's not to like about Jamie Kennedy's homemade sausage!

Zone C: Urban Disaster/Catastrophe/Survival Actions.
Curated by Makiko Hara

Urban Disaster/Catastrophe/Survival Actions will address the universal human ability to accommodate and survive memories of war, disaster and catastrophe through strategic creative survival actions. The intent of the projects is not to examine the ongoing disaster of catastrophe, nor to manifest some socio-political message on the global situation of disaster. Rather, it proposes an unexpected temporal physical and intellectual territory where we can put ourselves into a flow of imagination - to question how we can creatively revitalize our life, regain a joy of living, and share the aspiration of renewal.

Gillian was the set up guru for this first installation. She worked so hard to pull it off. Well done woman!
Catastrophe Theory, 2009. Randy Gledhill and Berenicci Hershorn

Randy & Berenicci present a retrospective of their critically acclaimed video and installation works spanning the last two and a half decades of the 20th century that focuses on the concepts of catastrophe, ritual and rebirth. This will be the first compilation of an extraordinary body of work to be presented in the city in which it was created.

The Apology Project, 2009. Maria Legault

The Apology Project will be staged in its largest scale thus far. A cluster of 55 people wearing large brown paper bags on their bodies will congest a public hallway and personally apologize to every person who ventures through them. The uncanniness of this human blockade will disrupt the regular flow of traffic and provoke reflection about passive aggressive behavior. Who are these people? Why are they here? Why are they wearing brown paper bags over their bodies? There is an enigma about what precisely they are sorry for and why they are choosing to continue doing something that they find reproachable. If it is their awkward presence in the space that they are apologizing for, why do they chose to remain there? Why not just stop an offensive behavior rather than continue to indulge in it and apologize?
In the context of Nuit Blanche, endurance will become a significant component of the work as these people will be standing in brown paper bags and apologizing for 12 hours. Time will become a device that at once tests the physical limits of the performers and also testifies to their will to be obnoxious and continue to maintain a disruptive posture even though they are physically exhausted.

Surrounded in Tears, 2004 - 2009. Oswaldo Maciá

"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts." Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, 1860.
The English Language has developed an extensive vocabulary to classify and understand the act of crying: weeping (associated with deep emotion) is very different to blubbering (colloquial, derogatory) or bawling (associated with children). Bypassing this mass of carefully nuanced and culturally specific linguistic signifiers, Colombian-Caribbean artist Oswaldo Maciá has turned to the semiotics of the raw material of crying itself. In collaboration with composer Michael Nyman and designer Jasper Morrison, Maciá has created a sound installation compiled of one hundred individual cries. Maciá's sources come from ethnographic and anthropological studies to informal sound-bites from everyday life - he asked midwives to record the screams of newborn babies. The work also includes Australian Aborigine death wails from the Torres Straight collected in 1898, the oldest known wax cylinder recordings of crying stored in the British Library. The work does not aim to rationalise crying but draws together personal and universal experience.

BICITYCLE (Bike City), 2009. Kyohei Sakaguchi

BICITYCLE (Bike-city) is a project about mobile life. Sakaguchi is inspired by the lifestyle, innovation and survival skills of homeless people in Japan. His research focuses on two concepts; mobility and recycling. The houses of the homeless are easy to dismantle and remake because people are forced to move their houses. They separate the infrastructures: water, gas, toilet, and electricity. The houses are made from the scraps of the city, as they understand the materials of urban waste are natural resources. Sakaguchi undertakes this concept further through incorporating used bicycles as a survival action for the city. For Nuit Blanche, the artist will create 11 mobile housing units, each attached to a bicycle. The audience can interact and relocate the works within the area.

FIRE AND SAUSAGE: Small Mercies, 2009. Tom Dean

The fires and the Liberty district's remove, the trace of the feral, suggest the aftermath of a collapse, a catastrophe or apocalypse. But what the artist is interested in is the calm after a fall, when we count our mercies and shared the surplus. An economic collapse that has returned us to essentials, warmth and food and social generosity. FIRE AND SAUSAGE: Small Mercies is a social sculpture. It engages and arranges people. Participants congregate around a fire, a cooking station, clustered radially around food and fire. The form remains, enlarging and diminishing, a stable form centered around food and fire. All the complexity and richness and pathos of a social cluster, strangers and friends with some common purpose and focal point, a clustered audience before a spectacle and themselves a spectacle, figures joining and departing the cluster and flowing from one site to another. After the fall, a hobo utopio. With sausage and hot chocolate by Jamie Kennedy, piano by Hank Bull, and poker by Jim Garrard.

Rescue Bubble, 2009. Tomer Diamant

As the humble foot soldiers of disposable infrastructure, traffic pylons solicit an indifferent compliance in our daily navigations of the city. Here however, hundreds are amassed into a single glowing beacon of urgent concern. On the verge of massive stimulus spending, governments are heralding fast-track infrastructure investment as the panacea for current economic woes. Speculative conditions that emerge under such massive spending can stifle rather than foster creative change. With schedules compressed to feed a shovel-ready hunger, unsustainable models can be entrenched rather than challenged. This installation represents an attempt to link imagery from the world of Sci-Fi; that of the solitary, ominous alien vanguard with our current speculative economic reality in order to crystallize a feeling of a looming presence; a foreign, spore-like organism at once familiar and foreign, promising and dangerous. Has the Rescue Bubble emerged to save our world or devour us all?

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