Toronto Nuit Blance 2009 – Ridiculously overrated!!!!

As I write this, I can’t help but be a bit confused about my thoughts regarding Nuit Blanche 2009 – the Toronto edition.

 On one hand, it was amazing seeing so many people wandering the streets, energized by the prospect of seeing “Art” and seeing things that they hadn’t seen before. The mood on the street combined with the sounds, alcohol and urban chaos all mixed together to form this rather ethereal product. Like absinthe, it can make you a bit drunk and a bit mad…who figures out the difference, is up to the person.

On the other hand, I have to say that I haven’t seen so much “dogshit” claiming to be art, since that guy who put up a blank canvas and said it was a reflection of the emptiness of society and sold the the piece for a couple grand – American dollars of course. I have to admit that after we left the hotel room, we wandered a bit but seeing what passed as “the art” between Yonge and Spadina and Gerrard and King, definitely left me thinking, that the emperor has no clothes.

This guy doing his little streetact juggling chainsaws, was fine to me for Buskerfest, but not Nuit Blanche.

What about the amazing 4 letter machine!! Once again, had this been the “Industrial Light Show”, this would have been a great exhibit for all those structural and lighting engineers to get their ‘giddy’ on;  at Nuit Blanche.. not so much. It was quite hilarious to see all the people looking and pointing skyward at an old school light sign! SERIOUSLY!!

The couple cool things that were truly worth a visit, were also surrounded by lines involved 3+ hour waits. Seriously?? There are better wait times at goddamn Disney World – which has climate control and distractions in the waiting line. If I want to see a 20 wrestler “Battle Royale” in a train station, I’ll bring my Playstation and load a WWF game.

Wondering if you will ever see an inflatable faux bunny in the Eaton Center lobby? Wonder no further, your dream has come true! Is Nuit Blanche part of the economic stimulus plan? Does Stephen Harper intend to lobby the ‘starving’ artist vote for his next failed coalition government? How is this art?

I assume that many of the project would reflect some type of altered perception like the putting of drunk people in hanging baskets project at the Witches’ Cradles. People were suspended from the ceiling of Brookfield Place. Volunteers climbed into these gently swaying pods while their heart rate was monitored with hospital equipment to ensure their safety. These cradles were originally used to torture and punish potential witches through sensory deprivation, but were later reclaimed and utilized to induce prophetic visions. While I think the premise is good one, I don’t understand the symbolism of such a thing in the overall vision of Nuit Blanche.

 Really in the end, I was underwhelmed to say the least by what I saw in Zone B of Nuit Blanche. Aside from actually transforming the business and financial district of Toronto into a kinda Zombieland carnival, complete with rides and food stalls was different.

Do I think that it represents some drop into chaos and departure from order… not really? It really struck me as a big marketing venture by Scotiabank that is pretending to be culturally relevant.

I was glad for the opportunity to walk around Toronto aimlessly at night, trying to take interesting pictures and practice using my lenses.

The idea of opening the city and providing an opportunity to interact with areas that are normally inaccessible or clogged with the urban mass of humanity is a noble one. If this was the main goal of Nuit Blanche, then it was quite successful; however if the main goal was to put ‘art’ in urban places, then Nuit Blanche has to fall in the highly overated category.

Photolog link :

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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