October 2008

Nuit Blanche: Recommendations (ZONE A)

Toronto's Nuit Blanche 2006 was quaint compared to the explosiveness of its 2007 incarnation. While the swell of drifters was often difficult to penetrate to even get to the art, there were some wonderful pieces that made the senseless wandering worth it, including Mircea Cantor?s Deeparture at the Isabel Bader Theatre, and Kristen Roos?s Ghost Station at the abandoned Lower Bay. While many of this year?s presentations seem promising, if it?s anything like last year I know there will be some disappointments. But who cares. The spirit of Nuit Blanche is pretty magical, and even if the immense crowds turn you off, you can?t deny that it?s spectacular to see so many people out all night for the sake of art (even if they?re actually there for the sake of drinking in Bellwoods at 4:30am.)

My recommendations are virtually blind ? I have only the Nuit Blanche catalogue to guide me. But hopefully some of these will be as interesting in the flesh as they?ve been made to seem on paper. It?s safe to say that I?m into intervention, and I think these types of projects are most effective at an event like Nuit Blanche. Interrupting spaces and environments allows for a broader understanding of what constitutes art, and the interruptions act as signposts from which to ask pertinent questions about.

More recommendations to come!

The top spot on my list is occupied by Stereoscope, by Project Blinkenlights (pictured above). The nice thing about this one is that the duration of the project extends beyond the evening of Nuit Blanche, so if you miss it on Saturday night you can still catch it between 7pm and 7am each evening until October 10th.


Project Blinkenlights - Berlin, Germany
Tim Pritlove - Berlin, Germany
Thomas Fiedler - Berlin, Germany

Performance Art, Multimedia Installation

Stereoscope is an interactive light installation at Toronto City Hall. This installation by the German group Project Blinkenlights transforms the landmark towers into a huge display screen by arranging lamps behind each of the 960 windows of the building. From dusk till dawn, the fa?ade will serve as an ever-changing and evolving kaleidoscope of graphic animations automatically generated and interactively orchestrated. The public can influence ?Stereoscope? through a variety of interfaces including smartphones, the web and physical controllers located at Nathan Phillips Square. Everybody is invited to participate and get more information at www.blinkenlights.net

In 2001, Project Blinkenlights became famous in Berlin as the first large-scale interactive media that could be controlled by a simple mobile phone. The project that later became known as ?Blinkenlights? spawned a follow-up installation of even greater dimensions and scope at the Blibioth?que Nationale de France in Paris, France. Project Blinkenlights develops all technology on its own. The computer software used to run this project is published under an open-source license.

Toronto City Hall is at 100 Queen Street West and this installation is wheelchair accessible.

Next on my list is Domaine de l?angle #2. There are lots of installations that bring nature into artificial spaces, but this piece, in an alley at Massey Hall, the BGL collective bring artifice into nature by adding a drop ceiling into an alley. I worry that I might be disappointed by this one simply because the image in the catalogue is of a 2005 iteration of the project, which has a drop ceiling added to a wooded area ? not an alley. Hopefully the intervention is just as jarring!


BGL - Quebec City, Canada
S?bastien Gigu?re - Quebec City, Canada
Nicolas Laverdi?re - Quebec City, Canada
Jasmin Bilodeau - Quebec City, Canada


The Quebec City-based art collective BGL is known for installations that take over architecture and wryly comment on institutional space. BGL will construct a 40 metre long drop ceiling in the alley of St. Enoch?s Square beside Massey Hall, framing the dumpsters, recycling bins and other life of the alleyway in the cool fluorescent light of the modern office.

Massey Hall is located at 178 Victoria Street, and the installation is in the alley off of Shuter St. This installation is also wheelchair accessible.

House of Leaves by Katherine L. Lannin seems the most magical. I think this space will be really surreal with people in it. I really love spaces that change with an audience in them? I can?t wait to see these walls breathing.


Katherine L. Lannin - Toronto, Canada


The House of Leaves, (a title partly inspired by the fictional book under the same name written by author, Mark Z. Danielewski) is an installation made of thousands of pages from books torn from their binding and fixed to the outer walls of two buildings located at Ryerson University Campus (sandwiched between the Student Campus Centre and O?Keefe House).

Lannin transforms this walkway asking us to reinterpret how we think about public space. The pages completely consume the space transforming it into an ethereal cave like structure.

Passing through the installed work pedestrian traffic stirs and ruffles the pages; an effect that imbues the space with the sense that it is a living organism, a fiction itself, created by other fictions.

House of Leaves is at Ryerson University Student Centre at 55 Gould Streets (between the Student Campus Centre and O?Keefe House). Wheelchair accessible.

Have fun!

[Originally posted on marissaneave.com]

Nuit Blanche: Recommendations (ZONE B)

[Farah Yusuf & Alex Stephan / r u part of the art? / Photo: Aubrey Arenas]

Performativity is a central theme for Toronto?s Nuit Blanche, taking place October 4th, from 6:52pm to sunrise. It?s not only central to a lot of the work that goes on throughout the night, but I think it?s an apt description of audience as well. On what other occasion are so many citizens out and about at all hours of the night? The drifting that Nuit Blanche inspires makes the whole event itself ? along with the participating audience ? a performance in its own right.

Wayne Baerwaldt, the curator for Zone B, aims for an audience-art integration that Nuit Blanche seems designed for. In the curatorial statement published in the event catalogue, Baerwaldt says that ?many of the artists in Zone B produce works that demand a close proximity of artwork to the viewer. An unusual intimacy with the audience is built in a variety of situations.?

With that said, here are my recommendations for Nuit Blanche Zone B. (Click here for my Zone A recommendations).

My first recommendation begins with a question that is simple enough: r u part of the art? By texting ?yes? to 647-989-7707, you?ll receive SMS instructions. For what? Who knows. Half Situationist, half Happening, this piece is sure to appeal to those with a sense of adventure ? or at least curiousity. (Because the catalogue says ?limited enrollment, I?m assuming that you can?t text ?yes? until Nuit Blanche begins on October 4th at 6:52pm).

r u part of the art?

Farah Yusuf - Toronto, Canada
Alex Stephan - Toronto, Canada

Conceptual intervention

Text ?yes? to 647-989-7707. The public is invited to subscribe to mobile text alerts that are sent to their cell phones at regular intervals over the course of the night. The text messages are instructions that they are asked to perform ? some will require acts that are social or demonstrative in nature, while other instructions are vague and introspective. By allowing the collaborative unpredictability of the user experience, the interpretation of the work is entirely in their domain. It is at once both public spectacle and private contemplation. ?r u part of the art? investigates the social dimension of participation in this highly networked culture. The use of the cell phone and text messaging as the delivery medium provides an immediacy of execution that transcends spatial boundaries. Participation is a key element to the piece. Whether that participation is physical or symbolic, the goal is to blur the line between performer and audience. No premium mobile fees apply to use this service. Regular carrier charges apply as per your individual service contract. Limited Enrolment.

You can visit the Main Scotiabank Information Centre for project details at Scotia Plaza, 50 King Street West.

Although little about the nature of Nuit Blanche is ?serious?, anything with the word ?comedic? in it is probably worthy of a visit (despite it not quite fitting into the theme of audience performativity). In Commerce Court, Noam Gonick makes good use of the location for his film installation.


Noam Gonick - Winnipeg, Canada

Film Installation

What?s going on inside Bay Street?s corporate boardrooms? Find out in this film installation starring comedian Roman Danylo as a CEO-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown riding the waves of today?s fragile economy. [The printed catalogue also included the following, but perhaps things have changed since its publication:] This comedic quadraphonic film installation projected outdoors in the heart of the financial district, ponders that question with outrageous results. Each screen depicts a standup comedian in executive attire projected several stories high.

Commerce Court is at 25 King Street West, and Gonick?s piece can be accessed from Jordan Street.

In keeping with appropriate locations, Business Class by Magnetic Laboratorium combine video projection, performance and prop to create what seems will be a relatively large spectacle of technology and people.


Magnetic Laboratorium / Marisela La Grave - New York City, USA

Performance Art, Multimedia Installation

Business Class is an inter-media installation set in a public space. The work is an investigation on contemporary issues in the fields of science, technology, art and design. The project depicts a group of contemporary leading thinkers discussing inside a futuristic aluminum air streamer carefully installed in the heart of Toronto?s financial district, while a crowd of business people line up outside waiting to have their luggage searched by agents.

Three large scale video projections on walls around the trailer show the thinkers conversing inside the capsule, close range details of the contents inside the luggage and the audience presence in space.

The Installation is time-based and highly audiovisual giving the audience the opportunity to be included visually in the spirit of the work.

Business Class will take place at the parking lot at Temperance Street and Sheppard Street.

And, although it doesn?t quite fit into the idea of performativity (unless you care to philosophize whether a tree that falls in the forest when no one hears it still makes a sound) I think it?s a must to check out Turbulence Sound Matrix: Signe by Steve Heimbecker at The Gallery at the Ontario Heritage Trust.

The Turbulence Sound Matrix (TSM), uses digital recordings of the wind created by Heimbecker?s Wind Array Cascade Machine (2003) in the form of continuous cascading wave patterns to amplify and diffuse any sound source through the powerful 64 channels of the TSM?s unique speaker array. This adaptation creates a vivid, highly articulated, and totally immersive sonic environment for the listener. For this presentation Heimbecker has created the spellbinding 64 channel composition ?Signe?, a composition of unlimited duration using the wind, all 88 notes of a grand piano, and 16 recordings of the artist typing stories to himself about himself and about his making the TSM over the past 5 years. Since the early 1980?s Steve Heimbecker has been creating art works for multi channel sound systems, multi channel data representation, audio performance, installation, large scale sculpture, and video montage. Conceptually his work is based upon his fascination with the architecture of space and the measurement of time within space. For more information about Steve Heimbecker?s works go to http://www3.sympatico.ca/qubeassm/

This Toronto premiere of TSM at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is presented by New Adventures in Sound Art as part of its SOUNDplay festival.

Stay tuned for Zone C recommendations.

[Originally posted on marissaneave.com]

Nuit Blanche: Recommendations (ZONE C)

Toronto?s Nuit Blanche is now just a day away. And although I?ve conducted my recommendations alphabetically, it also appears that I?ve saved the best for last. Zone C is looking good, and I can guarantee that the strongest concentration of Nuit Blanche visitors will be wandering in these parts.

My first recommendation comes out of pure curiosity. I can?t really visualize what this ?monumental structure? or ?towering installation? will look like, but if Brendan Fernandes?s Future (? ? ? - - - ? ? ?) Perfect evokes Moshe Safdie?s Habitat housing scheme like the catalogue says, it?s sure to be worth a visit.

FUTURE (? ? ? - - - ? ? ?) PERFECT

Brendan Fernandes - Toronto, Canada

Multimedia Installation

Pulsing with a dramatic lighting score indicating S-O-S in morse code, Brendan Fernandes? towering installation of shipping containers (diagram above) addresses the trauma of migration, displacement and change. Fernandes? sculptural installation evokes Moshe Safdie?s utopic Habitat housing scheme, produced for the 1967 Montreal Exposition, and designed to include all people regardless of class, race or gender. Fernandes? monumental structure, however, reflects on the failure of this ideology and the susceptibility of these social projects to capitalist forces. The work has a local relevance, reflecting on the politics of gentrification and the displacements inherent to the project of urban renewal.

Fernandes?s installation will be in the parking lot between Mowat and Fraser Avenues, South of Liberty Street.

Next up is Matt Suib?s Purified by Fire, partly because I love rear window projections but mainly because I?m interested in the anxiety of watching a building on fire. Suib?s piece incites a critical examination of our relationship to danger. Or, more aptly, our removal from it.


Matthew Suib - Philadelphia, USA

Installation, Visual Art, Video Installation

Continuing his exploration of the language, iconography and mythology of cinema, Matthew Suib creates the appearance of a building on fire by using seamless video loops as rear window projections. The work explores the physical and moral gap that separates the West from war and destruction and examines the notion of regeneration through violence.

Purified by Fire is at the Liberty Market Building and Toy Factory Lofts on Liberty Street, East of Hanna Avenue.

Finally, there is DK Photo Group?s Silent Witness. I?ve long been interested in the relationship between citizens and state in so far as our conditioning to order as it relates to private property and dangerous property. The notion of tresspassing is interesting and what?s more is that most of us abide by it.


Russell Brohier, Sean Galbraith, Steve Jacobs, Laurin Jeffrey, Mathew Merrett

Multimedia Installation

We prowl the areas where most will not go. We do this to bring back the images that we feel we must share with the world. We want others to be able to see what we have seen, what others do not want you to see. The rot, the neglect, the careless abandonment. Some would just bulldoze them into the earth, forever burying their stories.

Societies create societal memories and history through their architecture. But these spaces do not stop telling stories simply because that same society shutters them away and asks itself to stop listening. DKPG unveils the isolation, desolation, and beauty found in unexpected places. Beyond the NO TRESPASSING signs. Beyond the fences and barbed wire into a world of abandonment and society?s architectural refuse.

galleryDK is at 1332 Queen Street West.

So that?s that! I?ll be back with reviews of work I didn?t recommend. Happy drifting?

[Originally posted on marissaneave.com]

Networked: A Networked_Book

Networked: a (networked_book) about (networked_art) - A Juried International Competition :: Call for Proposals - Deadline: December 15, 2008. Call for Proposals - Deadline: December 15, 2008

Five writers will be commissioned to develop chapters for a networked book about networked art. The chapters will be open for revision, commentary, and translation by online collaborators. Each commissioned writer will receive $3,000 (US).

Project Committee: Steve Dietz (Northern Lights, MN), Martha CC Gabriel (net artist, Brazil), Geert Lovink (Institute for Network Cultures, The Netherlands), Nick Montfort (Massachusetts Institute for Technology, MA); and Anne Bray (LA Freewaves, LA), Sean Dockray (Telic Arts Exchange, LA), Jo-Anne Green (NRPA, MA), Eduardo Navas (newmediaFIX), Helen Thorington (NRPA, NY)

Networked Partners: New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (NRPA) :: newmediaFIX :: LA Freewaves :: Telic Arts Exchange.

“A networked book is an open book designed to be written, edited and read in a networked environment.” - Institute for the Future of the Book

Networked Goals: (1) to commission five chapters and publish them online using Wiki/blog technology to enable the public to revise, update, debate and translate them; (2) to present public forums to publicize the online book and solicit participation in its development.

Networked Objectives:

? To develop and publish an online, trans-disciplinary book that will address recent artistic developments made possible by computers, networks, and mobile connectivity
? To present the book in an open, participatory and social form
? To document:

a) the collapse of the traditional distinction between artist, art work and audience
b) the shaping of creative practice that is open, contingent and participatory
c) the building of virtual communities which, in the words of Howard Rheingold, “becomes inevitable wherever computer mediated communications technology becomes available to people anywhere.” (The Virtual Community, 1993)

For more information please see the official call on Turbulence.

Tone Deaf 7: A Festival of Adventurous Sound Performance

For its seventh year of programming, Kingston?s unique festival of adventurous sound performance, TONE DEAF, will highlight the importance of smaller labels which promote the work of experimental composer-performers, sound artists and noisicians within Canada. Three independent labels of particular distinction will be featured: Alien8 Recordings, Rat-drifting, and Kingston?s own Apple Crisp Records. They have programmed three nights of performances by artists supported by these labels on October 24th, 25th, and 26th.

Featuring: Tim Hecker, Najda, The Guayaveras and The Gertrudes. An exhibition featuring several artists? critical interpretation of popular music forms will also run from October 21st to 26th at Modern Fuel Gallery. Modern Fuel Gallery will also host a closing party for the festival, featuring DJ Haircut on the evening of October 26th.

For more details see www.tone-deaf.org

Vague Terrain 12: Device Art - Call for Work

Call Extended! See details below:

In our daily lives, we are surrounded by electronic or electro-mechanical devices used as conduits to deliver ?content? ranging from televised operas to hip-hop ring-tones. Only rarely are the devices themselves considered to be the content. The tradition of high-tech devices as art, however, dates back to ancient machines known only from legends, through the golden ages of clockwork automata, through modern kinetic sculpture, up to the present time, when students in art colleges take courses in microcontroller programming and robotics.

Vague Terrain 12 is about the machine as art in the 21st century, with the understanding that ?machine? is no longer strictly defined as ?mechanical device?. We are interested in devices created as art objects, as platforms for art or performance, devices as unique objects, and mass produced devices, produced either as art multiples, or as tools for artistic pursuits.

We are seeking submissions in all formats- audio, video, photographic documentation, and text. Submissions can be documentation of work, or can deal with artistic or creative practice with respect to device art.
If you are interested in submitting work to be considered for inclusion in Vague Terrain 12: Device Art please contact guest curator Rob Cruickshank through his Vague Terrain user profile.

Additional Information

-please see http://vagueterrain.net/content/journal/submission-guidelines for full submission guidelines. Please consult this document as it is very important to read when considering the scope and deliverables of a submission.

Submission Deadline:
The submission deadline for Vague Terrain 12: Device Art is Sunday December 7th (this has been extended). Our tentative publication date is January 1st.

Curator Information:
Rob Cruickshank is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist. His work in various media including electronic, kinetic, and robotic installations, sound art, electroacoustic music, and photography have been exhibited in Toronto, and internationally. Much of his work is associated with InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre in Toronto, where he has developed a number of hands-on workshops for artists using electronics., and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. His work combines a knowledge of physical computing with an ongoing fascination with sound, light, and motion. It is as much informed by the kinetic art of the early 20th century as it is by contemporary new media art. Works such as Spiral Inscriber (2005) combine microcontrollers with intricate electromechanical systems, reminiscent of early clockwork and mechanical devices, and reflect his interest in obsolete technologies. Many of these works are collaborative in nature, and he has been part of several long-term collaborative projects at Interaccess, such as Space Probe (1998), SenseBus (1999), Art Interface Device (2001), as well as being a member of I/O media, a collective of sound and video artists exploring real-time improvised performance.