Nuit Blanche 2014 in review

At the end of the night, I turned to Sarah and we both said we that we were trying not to be disappointed. But the fact is that we were.

To start, it should be said that I love Nuit Blanche.  I do. It happens to be one of my favourite Toronto events of the year. I look forward to it every year. I have almost never had a disappointing night; only one that I can recall. This year adds a second.

Overall, I found the exhibits that I saw largely disappointing. I’m not someone who usually says this about Nuit Blanche. I can almost always find enough to say that I enjoyed the event overall. I rarely say that I was disappointed. But this year…I can’t do that.

So, what was the problem this year? There are a couple of things that stand out for me:

  1. With the exception of Walk Among Worlds and Between Doors, too many exhibits  that I saw did not invite interaction. Most of them required you to stand back and watch a thing, instead of being inside them. In past years, my favourite exhibits were ones that put you inside them, like Walk Among Worlds  and Between Doors did this year.
  2. The Night Circus under-utilized its space. The area the this zone used is huge. Exhibits were too spread out, and too few. And not many of them evoked a circus feel. I wanted so much to love this zone, but it felt like I was walking for far too long with too little payoff. If this area is used again, I hope that the curator makes better use of the available space.
  3. Unrealized promise. Open Mind looked interesting in the program. A maze designed in the shape of the human brain. But upon arriving, I was hugely disappointed. A maze means that you have to find your way through without being able to see where you’re going. That was not the case here.  Parade barriers on stilts, with no walls. This was no maze. It was a raised sculpture that seemed to leave everyone disappointed. While there, I heard most everyone say the same thing I did. It was no maze. It was nothing at all. Like so much, this could have been cool, but wasn’t.

Maybe I missed something that would have made the night amazing. I didn’t wait in line for the Screaming Booth, nor did I venture to the 8th Wonder. And I didn’t see any of the exhibits that were a part of  Performance Anxiety at City Hall. But what I did see disappointed me.

Were you out at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2014? What did you think?