Your Guide to Nuit Blanche 2016

What to see, do and eat

Toronto’s annual all-night contemporary art crawl returns this year to transform the city with art installations, and performances all across the city Oct. 1. It’s looking a little less corporate without former main sponsor Scotiabank’s support, but it’s still got more than enough public art than you’ll be able to fit into a sleepless night, so we’ve put together a quick guide to relieve some of the pressure.

Four Zones

This year’s city-produced exhibitions are divided between four themed zones throughout the downtown core: at Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall, three artists explore the concept of nothingness for ‘Oblivion’; works along John Street (between Dundas and Front Street) illuminate our participation in artistic metamorphoses for ‘And the Transformation Reveals’ while others probe the “mediation and meditation on history and the passage of time” for ‘Militant Nostalgia;’ and ‘Facing the Sky’ tackles the conquest of the open air along the waterfront (Bay Street to Harbourfront Centre).

You may have noticed a giant white ball sitting in front of city hall. The new addition is an installation called ‘Death of the Sun’, which will open around sunset Saturday.

Must-see Exhibits

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Aside from the large experiments in scale on offer in this year’s city-produced zones, there’s a plethora of intriguing projects lined up in this year’s independent programming.

Micha Dahan is investigating how sound moves and organizes the physical world with their ‘Cymatic Theremin,’ installations and interventions as a part of ‘Laneway Canopy’ explore the possibilities of our city’s plentiful laneways, and University of Waterloo design collective F_RMlab is offering a “cushioned ‘media-womb’” that will no doubt prove critical for those who’ve put in any more than a couple of hours pounding the pavement and waiting in lines looking at capital-A Art.

Extended Projects

While much of the art transforming the city the night of Oct. 1 comes down the next morning, the three works making up ‘Oblivion’ will remain open to the public Oct. 2-10.

Instead of jostling with the event crowd you can check out Philip Beesley’s underwater ‘Ocean’ transformation of the City Hall Rotunda from 8am-6pm, and Director X’s ‘Death of the Sun’ installation will still be going supernova and Floria Sigismondi’s ‘Pneuma’ water installation will continue in Nathan Philips Square for 7pm-midnight viewings.

All-Night TTC Service

In addition to their regular Blue Night Network service, the TTC is pulling out all the stops, offering extended all-night service on the Yonge-University-Spadina (Downsview to Finch) and Bloor-Danforth (Kipling to Kennedy) subway lines.

Late Night Food

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Yes, there will be food trucks. Head to the event centres at Nathan Phillips Square, Metro Hall, and 10 Bay Street for these.

Nuit Talks

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Between extended last call and all the selfies, a lot can get lost on a late night art binge, but Nuit Blanche has wisely responded by rounding out its activities with a series of free discussions.

Leading up to the main event, Istituto Italiano di Cultura features a conversation between Italian ex-pat artists Angelo Musco and Nicola Verlato (Sept. 29), and TIFF Bell Light Box hosts a moderated project discussion with ‘Oblivion’ artists Director X and Floria Sigismondi (Sept. 29), and a roundtable discussion on the relationship between architecture, public space, and media (Sept. 30). On the big night, the Design Exchange has a talk about the social and political contexts 2016 exhibitor John Akomfrah (‘Vertigo Sea’) and his filmmaking practice can be understood through, while Ismali Centre Toronto examines the changing roles of libraries in the 21st century.