Zombies, Mascots Draw Crowds at Third Annual Nuit Blanche

By Susan O'Neill October 6, 2008, 4:58 PM EDT

Katharine Harvey's "Waterfall"

Photo: Jill Kitchener for BizBash

The city’s special events department estimates as many as one million people took to the streets Saturday for the third annual Nuit Blanche—a cultural festival modeled on the all-night celebration of contemporary art that originated in Paris in 2002. Produced by the City of Toronto in conjunction with the arts community, this year’s instalment featured 155 destinations throughout the city. More than 750 artists and curators, 92 galleries, museums, cultural and educational institutions, 450 volunteers, and 24 corporate sponsors participated in the free event.

“Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has turned into a visible manifestation of our city’s deep cultural fermentation,” Rita Davies, Toronto’s executive director of cultural services, said in a statement. “It demonstrates that creativity is the beating heart of Toronto.” Mascots danced on the field at Lamport Stadium, zombies took over College Park, and Toronto City Hall became an interactive computer screen for Blinkenlights'  “Stereoscope,” a multimedia installation that was broadcast live on the Web and will continue every night until Friday.

The 2008 program, created under the direction of four curators, included 45 commissioned works along with a host of independent projects. Organizers divided the city into three Zones—A, B, and C. According to the online program, curator Gordon Hatt handled Zone A—the downtown north area— which included a series of exhibition projects exploring “feelings of belonging and alienation in an ephemeral and playful manner.” In Zone B—the downtown south area—curator Wayne Baerwaldt selected 15 “sentimental and spooky installations that endeavour to blur the lines between performer and audience.” Zone C included two curated exhibitions in the Liberty Village area; Haema Sivanesan's seven “provocative” installations and Dave Dyment's eight installations delving “into concepts of hope and expectation.”

Plans are already under way for the fourth Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, set to take place on Saturday, October 3, 2009.

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