Categories
Arts

Nuit Blanche: Thoughts en lumiere, a rush into a green utopia

We didn’t do Nuit Blanche together, but we might as well have. Two arts writers vs Nuit Blanche. The apathy is real. We were slightly amused. And we’re still thinking too much about the colour green (and outer space?

Chloë Lalonde, Arts Editor, etc., The Concordian 

Nuit Blanche only really came onto my radar when I was in CEGEP, I guess some would consider that a late discovery. My best friend and I visited the Musee d’Art Contemporain (MAC) for one of their fantastic nocturnes. We had special drinks, I don’t remember much of the exhibition (it might have been David Altmejd) and exited the museum directly on Ste-Catherine Street. Little did we know of the wonderland that waited for us outside. Ah, a time when you didn’t have to book your slide/ferris wheel/zipline experience in advance… It was the best surprise.

Since then, Nuit Blanche has been lackluster, ridden with food anxiety, too much beer, long lines and the wrong activities (yeah, I’m talking about “wand-making” at Lockhart).

This year I decided I would spend my Saturday evening after a long day of teaching and laying out the arts and opinions sections of the paper, visiting as many galleries as I could manage with my sister. We met up quite early at the Belgo building (372 Ste-Catherine St. W.), before things were popping, and managed to pass by every gallery that was open, before stopping by the very crowded MAC, UQAM’s art gallery, a surprise performance we weren’t expecting and finishing off with Le Livart.

The Belgo is unassuming, if you didn’t already know it was home to 27 galleries, several artist studios, savvy startups and dance studios, it would be hard for you to find out. The exterior isn’t necessarily inviting, neither is the lobby and the adjacent cafe (I found a hair in my crepe and they gave me a free latte.)

It was my sister’s first time there and she had no expectations, but I didn’t want to disappoint. I did force her to cancel her unmade plans with her friends to hang out with me, after all. We rode the elevator up to the fifth floor (which is truly the sixth), and wove our way in and out of galleries uninterested until I started to notice a grand theme. Every gallery featured some kind of moon print. Drawings or lithographs, etchings, paintings––like craters on the moon––everything felt geographical, alluding to the earth and the landscape.

AMER, an artist from Montreal, paints with rust in their exhibition at Galerie Luz, using hydrogen, oxygen and carbon—what AMER considers among the essential elements for the appearance of life. Their work returns to the origin of the medium, with natural hues and industrial materials to reference ancient cave paintings and transmit modern messages over time.

Past a wall separating Galerie Luz in two, lived fibre works that felt entirely alien to AMER’s practice. White and fluffy, interrupted by copper threads and plastics, Mariela Borello’s tapestries connect to the body.

Later, at UQAM’s art gallery, the moon prints returned. Only this time they were in the forms of massive paper tapestries and sculptures disappearing into the floor. These rooms of earth and stone, on until March 21, compiled the incredibly similar practices of Michel Boulanger and Katja Davar.

Boulanger’s Girations, Rouler 1 was absolutely mesmerizing. A jeep-esque vehicle sinks and resurfaces, only to sink again, creating new landscapes with each dip. Davar’s drawings resonate on the same frequency. Each piece is like witnessing the plans for a new earth, land and soil.

The theme this year was “vert,” and events and exhibitions generally referenced the colour, sustainability and the environment throughout. Green is symbolic for many things, most notably, growth, whether natural/environmental, economic or personal, it’s said to be healing and inspire creativity.

Some works were all too literal; Le Livart had an exhibition up the whole month of February based solely on the colour green, and others were just flat out unrelated and overpopulated (collection exhibitions at the MAC).

Oh, and I can’t forget the performance we walked into on our way home, which was, arguably, my sister’s favourite part. Mourning of the Living Past, performed by Inflatable Deities, Canadian artists Jessica Mensch and Emily Pelstring, shook their futuristic “organic sparkly energy” all over UQAM’s Judith-Jasmin pavilion. It truly infected my 18-year-old sister. She danced along with them (behind the crowd) as I filmed her. She also changed her Instagram bio to “organic sparkly energy,” which I’m pretty sure is what the glittery duo chanted into their electronic amplifiers.


Sophia Arnold, Contributor for The Concordian and CUJAH Editor-in-Chief 

For the past five years, since I moved to Montreal, Nuit Blanche has been something to look forward to in the depths of your depressive episodes at the height of winter, mostly because the metro is open all night and the thought of riding public transit at 4 a.m. is overwhelming for a green-minded, uber-despising person. It gives a cosmopolitan New York vibe that Montreal aspires to everyday but can only afford to cave into twice a year (the other night being New Years Eve).

Nuit Blanche attracts all kinds of people: those who have kids and want to take them on the mini Ferris wheel at Place des Arts before retiring after “doing Nuit Blanche,” tourists who are just happy to be wherever they end up (admittedly, me the first two years…), and Montrealers who know where to be and will not give you the time of day if “you’re not from Montreal.”

My night started at Le Livart. I had been there a few times before but never on Nuit Blanche, although my partner had and was enamoured with the basement dance floor. The layout of the place reflects its roots as an old residential home, and still allows for artists-in-residence to use the upstairs rooms as studios. For Nuit Blanche, they had many artists exhibiting their works on the ground floor, and opened the upstairs, inviting you to speak with the gallery’s resident artists.

The exhibition went through all the various interpretations of this year’s theme, green, in all its facets. Livart expanded on the ideas presented in Vert, Histoire d’une couleur by Michel Pastoureau, who highlights green as a central colour in the role of art history. As you enter, Renaud Séguin’s green, ‘cabinet of curiosity’ style room welcomes you into a literal green space. Filled with found objects, from candy wrappers to paint colour samples, and some iconic references, like a picture of The Green Lady (@greenladyofbrooklyn), it’s like entering a commodity forest; our new image of green.

Other rooms in the gallery welcomed the interpretation of ‘green’ to be detourned headlights,  bricolage wreaths placed on the ground and large-scale photography. Due to the variety of mediums included, when you left Le Livart you were very aware what role the colour and ideology of green plays in contemporary art.

Next stop was Palais des Congrès, where we saw some of the works featured in this year’s Art Souterrain underground exhibitions, running until March 22. The piece we spent the most time with was the automated metro doors in sequence that opened as you walked through the hallway of them. It was an unexpected yet retrospectively predictable surprise seeing as the delapidated metro cars are the subject of many interactive installations throughout the city, highlighting the history and development of an iconic feature of Montreal daily life.

Next on the agenda; Phi Centre. I don’t really know where to begin with this one. As a self identifying ‘antenna,’ Phi Centre hosts a variety of events showcasing the latest tech developments, and this night was no exception. The show, Simulation/Acceleration, was built on the premise of human connectivity, digital capitalism and environmental degradation, exploring the topic with Virtual Reality (VR), augmented reality and a green screen interactive performance. DJ sets also took place throughout the night with visuals.

Life on the green screen was the highlight of the show. Mesmerized by the piercing gaze and dynamic movement of the performers in an array of outfits and positions, it was an ominous presence that rarely broke—apart from when viewers were invited to enter the green screen setup and the rare drunk guy did a peace sign. The screen showing the results of the green screen performance embodied the premise of the show, deconstructing the commonplace ideas of humans as apart from the environment and autonomous players in a hyperconnected world.

After a necessary food detour, we headed to Places des Arts, which was a short stop. Eying it through the crowds of people, we decided to skip it this year as it has an overdone, commercial vibe that we weren’t looking for (signified by the giant maple syrup cans).

Final stop: Eastern Bloc. The event aimed to create an urban oasis and safe space for freedom of expression and being, which it did through Allison Moore’s installation, The Enchanted Woods and various DJ sets with a dance floor in the usual exhibition space. Running until 4 a.m., it felt like a liberation from winter and greyness, taking you out of time and space to a utopic non-place—even though they ran out of drinks and you had to wait 30 minutes for the bathroom, which kind of brought you back down to earth.


All in all, it was an extensive, involved and jovial evening. But, we wish this programming was accessible at a substantial level throughout the year. In one evening, you go to four events before your corporeal limit is reached and you miss events that cannot be experienced again. In an ideal green utopia devoid of money, the metro would run 24 hours a day and every night would be an opportunity to engage with your local and international communities in such a monumental way, like the way you can on Nuit Blanche.

 

 

 

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

Photos by Chloë Lalonde and Sophia Arnold.

Categories
Arts

Vibrancy in the dull of winter

The 15th edition of Nuit Blanche saw artistic expression materialize across media

Although it’s unclear where the concept of all-night art festivals originated, Paris is credited with creating “Nuit Blanche” in the early 2000s. Other European cities hosted these types of festivals throughout the 90s, but the first night of Nuit Blanche was established in France and has since spread to other cities around the world.

The program for this year’s edition of Montreal’s Nuit Blanche was divided into six categories based on the type of event. Whether you were looking for “A Night of Stories” or “A Night on the Dancefloor,” you were guaranteed to find something you’d enjoy. With over 200 events and activities, from poetry readings and interactive installations to DJ and comedy performances, the festival promised a night of unabashed creativity.

Dozens of art-and-music lovers moved and grooved to upbeat house music by local DJs. Surrounded by flashing lights, deep bass and an aura of pulsating energy, many spectators danced until well after 3 a.m. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

A feeling of collective celebration permeated the city—even underground. The metro was open all night, encouraging people to explore and increase their chances of finding hidden gems—of which there were plenty. The metro also served as a performance venue at certain times throughout the night. Berri-UQAM hosted swing and salsa performances, and the St-Laurent station was the spot for local DJs to perform improvised scratch sessions.

Spectators gathered around pop-up fire pits in Esplanade de la Places des Arts to warm their chilled hands, recommend exhibits to newfound friends, roast delicious sausages and, of course, have obligatory photo-ops. Photo by Alex Hutchins.
Photo by Alex Hutchins.

The hub of the entire event was, of course, the Quartier des Spectacles, which hosted everything from free concerts to competitive games inspired by the Olympics. Place des Festivals transformed into a lively and crowded strip as people jumped from one activity to the next. Portraits of famous musicians illuminated an entire wall of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan building, and a huge zipline stretched over the expanse of the crowd.

Shattered glass illuminated with hues of green and yellow make up one of the exhibits at Eastern Bloc. Decorated with industrial-style string lights, an outdoor terrasse allowed spectators to chat with art-loving friends and strangers alike. Photo by Alex Hutchins.
Joffré Roy-Beauregard (above) is one of the seven artists featured in the (Dis)CONNECT exhibition. Other interactive multimedia installments invited spectators to listen to and watch the audio-visual representations of varying human emotions, such as fear and anxiety. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

For festival-goers who wanted a more relaxed experience, galleries all over the city kept their doors open well into the night. The Art Matters Festival, for example, took Nuit Blanche as the opportunity to open this year’s edition of student-run exhibitions. Espace POP hosted the festival’s opening night, with the artworks of its first exhibition, (Dis)CONNECT, on display. Eastern Bloc, a new media production and gallery space, collaborated with the non-profit organization Never Apart to showcase the talents of Latin-American artists in two parts. The night began with multimedia installations, and concluded with performances by local DJs, which saw visitors dropping by to warm up and shake off their fatigue.

Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Check out our video coverage of the event below.

Categories
Arts

Calling all art enthusiasts and night owls

What to catch at the 15th edition of Nuit Blanche on March 3

As part of the Montréal en Lumière festival, the annual celebration of Nuit Blanche encourages the Montreal community to see what local galleries and venues have to offer. The festivities extend well into the early hours of the morning, and almost all events and activities in collaboration with Nuit Blanche—over 200 in total—are offered free of charge. It also includes a seven-kilometre outdoor circuit lined with art installations and projects, called Art Souterrain. It’s definitely worth braving the cold for.

DHC/ART: thegiftsofthegifted with Projets hybris

451 and 465 St-Jean St.

Located in the heart of Old Montreal, DHC/ART is a must-see gallery during Nuit Blanche. The space sits at the end of a strip of galleries that run along the canal (Galerie Michel-Ange, M Galerie d’art and Galerie LeRoyer, to name a few), so it would be the perfect beginning or conclusion to a leisurely stroll down the cobblestones.

For its contribution to the festivities, DHC/ART is teaming up with local “interdisciplinary creation company” Projets hybris. Their collaborative exhibition, which was inspired by the gallery’s past exhibitions, L’OFFRE and Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours, will be interactive and performative. According to the gallery’s press release, “throughout the evening, the audience’s participation will have an impact on the performers’ gestures. Materials and objects will be fiddled with, deconstructed, assembled; fragments of conversations will be noted and transformed.” This unique exhibition will only be on display for a week following Nuit Blanche, so be sure to catch it while it’s up!

Ymuno Exhibitions: The Dollhouse at the End of the World

372 Ste-Catherine St. W., Studio #530

Ymuno Exhibitions, a gallery space run by two Concordia alumni, will be opening its doors for the public to experience its current exhibition, The Dollhouse at the End of the World. This installation was created by the IFPP Collective (Incubator for Phantom Pregnancies), which is comprised of local artists Dana Dal Bo, Emily Jan, Csenge Kolozsvari, Tammy Salzl and Sandra Smirle. The all-female group met while completing their MFAs at Concordia, and have since been combining forces to produce unique and engaging content. Each of the women specializes in a different type of art practice, which makes their collective work especially intriguing. The exhibition’s press release boasts that “the work tackles the state of the world today, […] to give birth to a recombined apocalyptic aesthetic.”

Espace POP: (Dis)CONNECT: Alienation and Art

5587 Park Ave.

As part of this year’s edition of the Art Matters festival, Espace POP will host an exhibition featuring the work of Joffré Roy-Beauregard, Sarah Da Silva Marques, Diana Lazzaro (Gar), Matthew Halpenny, Gabrielle Marin, Timothy Thomasson and Owen Coolidge. Nuit Blanche will serve as the exhibition’s vernissage, which will run from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. The event’s description invites visitors to engage in “an interactive space for creativity and dialogue.” This event will kick off the Art Matters festival, which will include a variety of exhibitions and events running until March 27. More information can be found on the festival’s website.

Eastern Bloc & Never Apart: Noche en Blanco, Latinx (Re)mix

7240 Clark St.

Eastern Bloc, a new media production and gallery space, is teaming up with the non-profit organization Never Apart to showcase the talents of Latin-American artists in two parts. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be two multimedia installations; the first is a video titled 1000 by photographer and artist Andrés Salas, and the second is a multimedia installation titled Holy Numbers made by artist Claude Périard. From 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., the space will transition into the aural portion of the evening. DJs, including DEBIT, Pituca Putica, Teo Zamudio and Rodrigo Velasco, will create a lively and warm environment featuring “Latino and club beats,” according to the gallery’s press release. This would be a great place to warm up and recharge after a night out in the cold!

For more information about Nuit Blanche and a full list of participating venues, visit the festival’s website.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

Categories
Student Life

Mim meets Montreal: Never too cold for a party

Episode 13: In which the weather is cold and the wine is hot

Sadly, I missed out on going to Igloofest (which gives me all the more reason to come back to Montreal, right?). So when Nuit Blanche came around I made sure to go. It was an event where, yet again, I witnessed Montrealers’ innate ability to turn such brutally inhospitable weather into a party.

Mim tries maple taffy for the first time during Nuit Blanche. Photo by Sara Baron-Goodman.

I went to the Quartier des Spectacles first on Thursday for the Festival Montreal en Lumières and then on Saturday for Nuit Blanche. There were pulsing neon lights, a giant stage with a band, campfires, countless food kiosks, theme park rides and igloo-shaped transparent tents that housed mini bars or restaurants. The moment that I arrived and saw the spectacular scene my inner tourist came out as I jumped with cringe-worthy awe and joy. Delirious with excitement and mind-numbed from the cold, I exclaimed “I wish I lived here!” My friend had to remind me that I did, in fact, live here.

Like many of my other night time outings in Montreal, these two were filled with gluttony. The culprits were two melted chocolate-dripping waffles; a cheese platter complemented by two glasses of warmed wine; a hollowed baguette filled with fondue cheese; and a Swiss sausage on a stick (fire-cooked). Maple and bacon pretzels were also on the cards, as well as a hot chocolate with rum. However, reality set in when my stomach reminded me that I wasn’t a growing six-foot teenage boy.

My favourite treat by far was the maple syrup tire. So simple: throw some maple syrup on the ice, chuck a stick in it, wait a little, and voila, you’ve got toffee-esque joy on a stick. Before arriving in Canada, I was one of those health freak weirdos who equated sugar with the devil. But Montreal, you’ve made me a changed woman.

On Thursday I rode the ferris wheel with my two acrophobic friends who had a splendid time. On Saturday we danced to electro music amongst hundreds of people. Aside from the fact that I am almost less than five foot tall and couldn’t see, I had a lot of fun. It got better when my friend offered me a shoulder ride. I would have loved to go on the zipline but it somehow just never happened. Probably because by 2 a.m. the novelty of the wintery weather was wearing off. Instead, we opted for salsa dancing in the Musee de l’art contemporain, where a DJ duo played upbeat Latin-inspired tunes in front of projected footage of what appeared to be Hawaii. For those short, glorious moments I remembered the one thing I’ve begun to miss most—the beach.

Nuit Blanche was a blast. On Sunday my hair smelt like campfire and chocolate and was knotted with frozen maple syrup. Nuit Blanche reminded me of camping, but a hyped-up version minus the kind of weather that is conducive to staying outdoors for long periods of time.

Montrealers, how do you do it? Long ago, people told me that I was crazy to stay here for the winter. While I may be half frozen (with two more months to endure), Montreal, your charms continue to warm my heart. Oh, and thanks for making a sentimental tourist out of me.

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Arts

The quieter side of Montreal’s party night

Winter’s biggest party hides colorful gems underground

Written by Jocelyn Beaudet and Nathalie Laflamme

While the streets of downtown Montreal are flooded with people – dancing, drinking, socializing and otherwise having a good time, a quieter expression forms, under the concrete where thousands party.  Nuit Blanche happens once a year; the metros are open all night, and festivities are thrown all around the city. This is also host to one of the largest art exhibits, spanning the entire ‘underground city’, and beyond. This year, like every other year, I’d opted out of partying all night in favor of tasting the artistic diversity of our local artists. My journey began at metro Places-des-Arts, where the first exhibit that would catch my eye was.

Amidst the sea of people, this brightly lit contraption was colorful, and odd enough to make me double-take. There was something that felt so out of place, and yet belonged exactly where it was. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

No further than a few meters away, there was the sound of endlessly echoing human voices, equally unnerving and yet, strangely reminiscent of whale ‘songs’. The sound came from this dome, made entirely out of speakers. Several microphones hung from the inside, where those who climbed in could speak, sing or hum. Usually, this proximity would cause horrible audio feedback, but for some reason, all that escaped was the strange sounds that caught my attention in the first place. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

As I walked further into places-des-arts, I was greeted by what can only be described as a life-sized version of Lite-Brite. The crowd was having fun organizing the pieces around before moving further into the larger part of the ARTV Studio exhibit. I decided to make a small detour into the exhibit and explore it a bit further. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

There was something oddly enchanting about the whole thing, but I didn’t stay put for very long, and moved on deeper inside. Where someone was painting. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

Now this isn’t something I’ve seen very often in my past attendances of Nuit Blanche. Two artists were painting separate pieces. This was the first I saw in action. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

On my way to the second painter though, I was stopped by this ‘statue’. Although hardly made of earthen materials, it reminded me oddly of a clay statue, and some vague recollections of Indiana Jones. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

And here stood the second painter. Equally as impressive as the one before him. I stood by to watch him paint a little further, and moved out of the ARTV Studio exhibit, and made my way towards Complexe Desjardins after making this small detour. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

There’s always some sort of interesting looped film playing in the hallway of place-des-arts, this in itself isn’t particularly new. But this particular looped animation, reminiscent of older cartoons, made me smile and brought back some fonder memories. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

I took a short break once I was inside Complexe Desjardins, for a bit of coffee and because a crowd was gathering around the fountain at the center. By the fountain though, was this ominous monolith. Admittedly, I wasn’t impressed with it at first and opted out of taking a picture of it. But over the few minutes I stood by it, the looming presence of the exhibit grew on me. I barely had the time to snag a picture before the lights dimmed, and the fountain began ‘misting’. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

Accompanied by some beautiful music in the background, the scene felt almost like a fairy tale, straight out of a live-action Disney movie. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

Predictably, the fountain’s spout shot the water all the way to the shopping mall’s high ceiling. Although nothing out of the ordinary for those familiar with the fountain, the colored lights and music made for a more meaningful experience, almost building the whole thing like a crescendo.
As the presentation ended, I began to make my way out of the mall, and further away from Places-des-Arts. Also predictably, this is where things started becoming a little less interesting. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

A bit past Complexe Guy-Favreau’s underground was a piece of wireframe which, when illuminated and projected to the wall behind, created an interesting perception trick. The exhibit itself though, felt ill-placed and easy to pass by, should its presentation not be underway. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

On the way to the Palais des Congres, in the brightly lit tunnels, was this. The odd combination of geometry and art felt like it spoke out me, almost begged for my attention. With that being said, I’m still unsure as to what exactly it represented. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

As we climbed out of the underground, giant replicas of cigarettes piled together like a campfire stood in my way. I’m sure there was a message to convey here, but I’ve missed the point completely. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

Through another hallway, the projection of walking silhouettes on crumpled paper was on display. With the sounds of a busy crowd playing in the background, the shadows on the paper continued along their merry way, even when the hallway was deserted. For some reason, it felt oddly creepy, like seeing and hearing ghosts in the city’s often silent tunnels. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

In the Palais des Congres now, there danced a strange yarn-clad figure. Not seen in the picture is the headphones protruding from its side. After some time spent fearing ghosts in the city’s underground, I didn’t quite feel comfortable around this exhibit and promptly walked away. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

My trip towards the Eaton Centre from here remained fairly uneventful. Exhibits were plenty, but at this point, I felt disenchanted. When we arrived at the city’s busiest mall, the yearly ‘crowd-sourced’ art exhibit was well underway. As the crowd was encouraged to participate and draw its own art on different-shaped canvases. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

And here, my journey came to an end. After spending three hours mulling over several dozen presentations and exhibits, I was about ready to call it a night.
There were several other exhibits that I’ve seen, but not presented, and these represent my favorites – both good and bad – among the ones that I’d seen this year.
As usual though, the furthest I was from places-des-arts, the less impressed I was with the exhibits themselves. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet

At the end of the day though, the whole thing was a fun experience, and many of the exhibits are still available for art lovers to browse until March 14th. That being said, the exhibits may end up being just as busy as this one in the end. Photo by Jocelyn Beaudet.

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Meanwhile, on campus…

Concordia took part in Nuit blanche with their event, Crystaline. Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

 

At the VAV Gallery in the VA building, three artists were given twp square feet of an “interactive film strip” to create pieces that respond to winter in Montreal. This piece was created by Keir MacDonald, and is called Flip-Strip No. 1. Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

 

“Montréal la belle”, by Audrey Dandenault. This piece is made of silk. Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

Many projections took place inside and outside the gallery. Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

In the MFA gallery, participants were able to try their hand at animations, learning from students as well as professionals, like Concordia professor Erik Goulet. Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

Participants got to try animating with puppets, different colors of sand, and cutout papers. Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

Participants also got to learn to animate with 35 mm film and sharpies from professor Goulet. The animation projects were later projected, and participants got to keep their ribbons. Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

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Arts

Photo caption: Concordia students light up Nuit Blanche

Concordia students were featured at Art Matters, in collaboration with Mainline Theatre at Nuit Blanche this Last Saturday. They performed an original contemporary dance piece by Jess Alley (Center) accompanied by an Original soundscape piece by Mallika Guhan (Right) and Daniel Marquez (Left). The performance was bluesy, romantic, and visually stunning.

Photo by writer.

Categories
Arts

A midwinter night’s dream

It’s common knowledge that Montreal is a mecca for all things art. But on Nuit Blanche, happening this year on Feb. 25, the creativity often confined to galleries is set loose among the streets and social inhibitions are dropped as people mingle and proudly come out as fanatical art lovers. It’s also a chance for those hoping to break the schoolwork cycle and, for one night, eschew the lack of time excuse that hinders them from taking in art. So behold, our picks to make the most out of your Nuit Blanche.

VISUAL ART
The staple of every teenage girl’s wall, collages are one of the most self-satisfying and least frustrating art forms you can partake in. What better way to get down with crafting than a party? Galerie Monastiraki is throwing its third annual collage bash, where they invite people to fulfill all their collage whims and enjoy art by Jaynus O’Donnell at the same time.

The collage party goes from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Galerie Monastiraki (5478 St-Laurent). Admission is free.

If you’re looking to really cover some ground, make like Alice and explore the wonderland that is Art Souterrain. With hundreds of installations and performances trickled along the six-kilometre passageway between Place des Arts and Complexe Les Ailes, you can turn your night into the artsy explorer’s trip of your choice. Not sure where to start? Diana Thorneycroft’s Chuckie flashback-inducing Doll Mouth Series will be at McGill metro; Martine Frossard and Isabelle Guichard’s hopscotch game installation will be at Square Victoria; and Paul Abraham’s Du rêve à la réalité installation, evoking a POP sensibility with its depictions of Superman, will also be at McGill metro. Lace up your shoes and don’t limit yourself, because with the hundreds of other exhibitions, it seems more is better.

Take a look through all of Art Souterrain’s offerings at www.montrealenlumiere.com and create your own map for your underground arts journey through the city.

CINEMA
No-show at last year’s SPASM? No problem! The festival will be taking over Café Cléopâtre, presenting a best-of showcase from their 2011 edition. With categories including the expected comedy and horror fare, to more intriguing films that fall under “WTF” and “Trash,” SPASM will colour your Nuit Blanche weird, gory and exhilarating all at once. If the film roster doesn’t win you over, the presenters will—the night will be hosted by the café’s drag queens.
Café Cléopâtre (1230 St-Laurent Blvd.) opens its doors for La Nuit SPASM at 8 p.m. Entrance is $5.

PERFORMANCE
When it comes to boxing—and other gruelling, teeth-clenching sports, albeit this may be a generalization—artists will usually stay in the sidelines. The closest they’ll come to those sweat-stained gloves is to maybe make a film about it (here’s looking at you, Clint Eastwood). Well, the Art Matters folk are not only getting up and close, they’re stepping right into the rink with In Our Time, a late-night dance, film theatre and music performance being held at a boxing club. Oh, and just to completely bust your art radar with anticipation, there will be visual art, too.
Load up on the energy-boosting substance of your choice and head over to Blue Cat Boxing Club (435 Beaubien St. W.) at midnight. Admission is free.

THEATRE
Are you looking to be amazed? Maybe you’d like a dose of laughter to cure that stubborn winter cold? Look no further than the selection of free theatre performances available at this year’s Nuit Blanche. First on the docket from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., Animagie presents a magical nighttime voyage guided by the Knights of the Order of Templars, where you’ll meet fantastical creatures straight out of Quebec folktales. The show takes place at the Olympic Park and promises to be a larger-than-life experience.
Starting at 8 p.m., you can choose between an evening of madness with the Ligue d’improvisation montréalaise or an evening with vengeful lovers and the crimes that made them famous at the Musée du Chateau Ramezay. LIM is promising electrified sketches and continuous live performances featuring the best and wildest performers of song, intimate theatre and collective madness. The Musée, on the other hand, wishes for you to step into history with them as they remake three historical murder trials that scandalized Montreal between 1658 and 1702. LIM will be done largely in French and takes place at the Lion d’Or (1676 Ontario St. E.) and the madness lasts until 3 am. The Musée du Château Ramezay’s trials will go on until 11:30 p.m., with representations every 30 minutes at 280 Notre-Dame St. E.
All shows are free.

COMEDY
If straight up rolling on the floor laughing is what you’re looking for out of your Nuit Blanche experience, then French speakers will be satisfied with this year’s comedy selections. En français, Rocambolesque is offering theatrical improvisation featuring competitive matches, humourous performances, improv, puppet shows and guaranteed magical moments. The laughs start at 7 p.m. and go until 3 a.m. at the Union Française (429 Viger Ave. E.) Also in French at the Place Deschamps, an evening of comedy and wine has been promised. Check out the laughter at 175 Ste-Catherine St. W. Both shows are free.

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