The Nuit Blanche Experience

I could hear the sound all around me, as my friend and I entered the Royal Conservatory of Music Saturday night.

It was one note after another, in the same key. But all the players involved – whether performing on strings, woodwinds, brass, guitars, or using their voices – would change notes.

One moment the “chords” would be soothing; the next, jarring; and still the next, just plain eerie.

That was the sound of art being made – one of scores of different contemporary art installations and exhibits being put on for Nuit Blanche, the 12-hour extravaganza that happens once a year here in Toronto (and at other times of the year in other cities right around the world).

I’d been a couple of times before, with different people. But this year, I had the chance to tool around with a friend who’d never gone, and always wanted to. The sheer distance between zones was daunting, but we thought we’d be ambitious and start early to see as much as we could.

I appreciate events like Nuit Blanche, because – like so many people in town – I don’t feel as though I have the time to truly immerse myself in art of any form – whether visual, musical or otherwise.

So I really don’t mind making the effort for something like this, even if I don’t understand all of it, or even like it.

And to be truthful, I didn’t like everything I saw. But that’s just my opinion. And that’s probably the best thing about art. It’s NEVER black-and-white. It’s whatever I think it is. And everyone is entitled to their own interpretations.

Aside from the enormous amount of walking I did (other friends, being downtowners, took to the streets on their bikes) it was nice just running into people, whether planned or at random.

And it’s one of those few times during the year in which you get to enter buildings you’d normally not be able to … or would have to pay admission to enter.

And really? On no other night would one be able to see huge construction cranes carrying out a slow “dance” once an hour in Liberty Village …

A gigantic silver balloon, shaped like a rabbit holding a carrot, just floating around in the Eaton Centre …

Carnival rides on Bay Street being operated by newly-downsized workers …

Or getting dance lessons from instructors at the Toronto Public Library.

And at the end of the night, when my feet were tired, and I tired of the crowds, I was satisfied with having gotten to do something different from what I’m used to.

I can only hope I can make another effort on my own … to take time out of my busy life, to take in some art in whatever form I can find it.

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