Last Saturday Edmonton celebrated Nuit Blanche 2018, an all night celebration of public art. Tom and I have been participating in Nuit Blanche in Edmonton since it first came to Edmonton in 2015 when we were part of a drone pin drop photo shoot in Churchill Square used for advanced publicity.
The theme this year was illumination and it was great to explore the different ways that artists riffed on the theme. We spent three hours exploring the art installations around downtown Edmonton. It was a little cold, but we were dressed for the weather and the snow stayed away and the moon was beautiful. The kids were both there with their friends but we didn’t see them. Paris started exploring when we did but stayed later. James didn’t even arrive until several hours after we got home.
We started in the Light Gardens, beside Entre Les Rangs with Find Bob One projected on the side of the Epcor Tower. I liked how the vivid colours on the walls contrasted with the stark whiteness of the reflectors in the simulated wheat field. This contrast was amplified by the stillness of Entre Les Rangs (except when people tried to walk through it) compared to the ever changing images of Find Bob. I didn’t think the smaller scale Find Bob Two installation in Edmonton House Park had as much impact.
Then we walked through Churchill Square, past the big line ups at the Art Gallery of Alberta to view The Great One’s Back, Landmark & Hubert John, to the Harbin Gate Gentrification Party. I was tempted to join the Mah Jong party but it was too cold to take the time to learn how to play. I liked the simplicity of the projection art t-shirts, although the wording on mine is hard to read on my black jacket.
Our next stop was the back side of ATB Place where they were projecting Tess Martin’s Animated Shorts in the newly renovated back deck. Tom was impressed with the giant bar stools and deck chairs.
After viewing the giant origami rabbit we crossed MacDonald drive and admired the city lights above the North Saskatchewan River from where I view the sunrise over Grierson Hill most days on my way into work.
Our favourite installation was Les Luminuits in Veteran’s Park. Even though I had read about the installation and was looking forward to exploring it; it still took us a while to figure out that the only was to see the sculptures light up was by using your camera flash. I liked how the installation required viewer participation to fully appreciate them, and how it anticipates and harnesses the fact that most people will view the installation through a viewfinder. You really couldn’t fully appreciate the installation without taking a photo.
We arrived in Abbey Glenn Park to explore Dawn Marie Marchand’s The Longest Journey as the Round Dance was ending. Even when the music died out the park was full of energy and movement as people hung ribbons on tipi poles and horses ran across the side of the parkade where there normally are just clouds.
After a hot chocolate in the warming tent at Enbridge Centre, we walked through the Passage light tunnel, added our contribution to the balloons in Thought Drift and listened to BEAMS experimental music and then headed to City Centre Mall to check out Snow Wolf. It kept changing as we looked at it from different angles, but reminded me more of a sea anemone than a wolf.
Our final stop was the Vignettes Design Series. We were entertained while waiting in line by people playing the Eckzpress Yourselves music playing haptic sign.
We spent a long time exploring the different scenes that had been created by local designers and artists. It was a great way to end the night.