Renegade Nuit Blanche 2008

Renegade Nuit Blanche Offers Art Alternatives

Nuit Blanche is full of scheduled, overcrowded events. This year you can participate in a selection of interactive, renegade art that escaped the radar of the official guide.

"The idea started at last year's Nuit Blanche," says Stephanie Avery, the organizer of a collection of events taking place at the same time as official Nuit Blanche activities that are meant as a complement to the evening's regularly scheduled festivities.

"Last year I actually had an official installation in the show, says Avery. "Because I was contractually obliged to stay with my piece, I didn't get to see much of Nuit Blanche. Based on what I had heard, it wasn't nearly as interactive as the first year and the corporate presence sometimes overshadowed the art."

Avery has since rounded up other artists who either set up their own installations wanted to, had the idea occurred to them.

"Several artist friends of mine decided to make their own, unaffiliated pieces and erect them throughout the Nuit Blanche zones," says Avery. "It seemed a shame that, while some people were complaining about the crowds and the corporate presence, there were wonderful independent installations that many people didn't know about."

One of the works is Ordinary People: Intervention, a call to action from all ordinary people to all ordinary people, presented by Ordinary People, an artist collective which includes students from the Ontario College of Art and Design and the internationally renowned artist Orlan.

At midnight on Saturday night during Nuit Blanche, they're asking people to stop what they're doing for four minutes and 33 seconds and hold up a piece of paper displaying the word ART, in reference to John Cage's 4'33 and to protest Prime Minister Stephen Harper's controversial $45 million cuts to arts and culture funding.

"I knew there would be a good response to this program," says Avery. "While it isn't huge, it represents a wide range of mediums and I'm sure there are even more renegade artists out there."

Avery hopes to enhance the experience of both the artists involved and any viewers who happen upon it. Other interactive pieces include:

- a mobile installation called Fugitive Chicken by Bryan Belanger

- an all-night dance party in Rolly's Garage (124 Ossington Ave.), a roving marching band courtesy the Blanchetown Blanchers

- La Boom, a mobile rave by the Rothko Institute & For the Win (leaving from The ROM at the southwest corner of Bloor and University promptly at midnight)

- Short Experimental Films by Sketch Participants and Francesca Nocera in Trinity Bellwoods Park (look for a glowing tent and listen for the beautiful sounds).

Image: postcard by Stephanie Avery.

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