Overall, I felt the event lacked a little. Specifically in the spectacle department. Last year, there were exhibits like the Museum at the End of the World which were really quite stunning and had that overall wow factor. This year, there were a couple of “wows” but nothing that quite equaled last year’s museum. Also, a couple of installations were no shows, specifically one that I was quite looking forward to: Howl. My intrepid Nuit Blanche companion, Sarah and I went searching for it, but Howl was nowhere to be found. And we weren’t the only ones. There were several groups of people with maps in hand circling around the building where Howl was supposed to be. I also felt like the Parade zone was particularly lacking. There were a significant number of what seemed like half-hearted attempts at creating wow, but almost all of them (with the exception of the clown factory) seemed to forget that the best Nuit Blanche installations involve the spectator in some way. Exhibits that require you to stand and look at a thing tend to be less impressive.
Standouts for me, however, were Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles. Just looking at the structure, while light and smoke emanated from it was impressive. But when we realized you could walk inside it, that put the whole thing over the top. Garden Tower in Toronto was also something to see. Those were the two major standouts for me.
My complaints aside, I did have a great time. I always enjoy Nuit Blanche, and sharing the event with Sarah was especially great.