Preparing for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche


If you’re going to miss Scotiabank Nuit Blanche this year in Toronto don’t fret. You still have ten projects from the all night street level art show that will be on exhibit throughout Toronto for the remainder of the week.

“We did six projects last year and that was very successful so we’ve expanded it a bit more this year,” says Julian Sleath, programming manager at City of Toronto for Special Events, Economic Development and Culture, with specific responsibility for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche.

Every fall, Toronto comes alive from dusk until dawn to display artwork, performances and installations of contemporary art by a variety of artists from all over the globe.

This Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and Sleath’s fifth year working the all-night art event.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is branching out to different areas in the city this year shutting down a large part of Spadina, from Dundas down towards Fort York.

Typically city officials wait one to two weeks before the night to set up.

Cuban-based artist Yoan Capote was having his piece built this past weekend.

“We’re loading that one onto the sight itself on Tuesday,” Sleath says.

Visitors to last Thursday’s Jays Game got a sneak peak at Lars Jan’s Holoscenes, which is already in place and being rehearsed.

It’s a customized tank of water that’s hydraulically filled and emptied while inhabited by a rotating cast of performers conducting everyday behaviours. The piece embodies the trauma of flooding and directly connects the actions of individuals to global climate change.

“It’s not always practical to cover something of that size and scale and then reveal it the night itself. Last year we did a very large bicycle frame based installation designed by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and we were building that for a month beforehand,” he says.

If someone is determined enough, all the installations and projects throughout the city can be seen in one night, but for those who can’t visit them all, Sleath explains a few we can expect.

Global Rainbow by Yvette Mattern is a series of lights that reach from Dundas to the CN Tower, which was originally commissioned by the London 2012 Summer Games arts and culture team.

If it’s simplicity you’re going for, Montreal’s Chélanie Beaudin-Quintin offers the Screaming Booth. Three cubicals will be located around the city where visitors can enter and scream as loud as they want.

There are some projects that are for the artists as much as for the spectators, Sleath says. The artists are deliberately pushing themselves.

Diane Landry’s Ice Breaker is a piece that requires intense concentration and balance as a single rower sits in a boat hovering in mid-air, with water seemingly flowing around it. Diane and various others will be rowing in this virtual space.

Ice Breaker













A recommendation for the event is to make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

“It’s this sort of dance marathon idea where you are shuffling and trying to keep awake as a couple to win the prize. Aspects of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche are, ‘Can you keep going through the whole 12-hour sunset to sunrise walk.’ ”

Sleath points out that part of the delight for the team who produces Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is to be able to make the streets appear differently for one night, to see Toronto transformed by art.

“You often come to City Hall for example and you may have experienced people buying a car permit or getting married, and on Saturday there will be nine different installations,” he said.

Development and preparation for 2015 has already begun, says Sleath, and a number of artists commissioned for next year will be attending this weekend to see exactly what they will be creating work for.