There were more than a million of us out there again this year, snapping photos, making movies with phones and interpreting the installations. Even the “Parade” of events and installations along University Avenue depended on the crowd for movement… the art stood still and the people shuffled by. The audience was creating stuff, just as surely as the artists have.
Artists today seem to embrace the democratization of creativity made possible by technology. Many of the works depended on interactivity with audiences. Meaning, too, is a collaborative thing… I overheard some quite thoughtful and original comments from passersby.
In some ways, it’s a silly way to see art. At some popular venues, you see more backs of heads than anything else. Crowd control is kind of hit or miss, with unwitting line jumpers entering by exits while volunteers try to hold them off. Artists’statements abound, printed on signs, but who wants to spend the evening reading signs? Better to shoot a “selfie” with something colourful in the background… something for Facebook, maybe.
Nuit Blanche is an art event, a circus, a happening, an all-nighter (not us!), a sound and light show, a family outing, a traffic jam, a revenue generator and a public cost. Most people seemed to be having a good time, although some overdid that, barfing on sidewalks and in the street car. One person was stabbed to death (not an artist,though).
This was the 8th Nuit Blanche for Toronto. I’m not sure how many more there might be, but I’m glad we got out for it.