Nuit Blanche 2011

When asked to recap Nuit Blanche the next morning it often comes to me like an impressionist painting to an artist–I remember the colours, the gist, and the movement, but the factual detail is blurry.  A free all-night contemporary art event that is sponsored by Scotiabank, Nuit Blanche runs from 6:59PM to sunrise (approximately 7AM). In full discretion, I have never made it past 4AM, not because of exhaustion but mostly because of the cold.  Many people complain about the disorganization of the (free) event–but are we really in a position to complain (most likely on free services such as Facebook or Twitter) about it? Sure, there is room for improvement. Perhaps Nuit Blanche is the opportunity that lands on our door step, allowing us to take matters into our own hands.

There were two very distinct events / exhibitions that I visited this year that left an inspirational imprint:

1.  The Feast of Trimalchio (2009-2011) by EAS+F Group, Moscow, Russia.  This rotunda style exhibit featured 9 HD screens that enclosed the audience in an intimate outdoor setting.  Inspired by ‘Satyricon’ (by Gaius Petronius Arbiter), Trimalchio paints a vivid moving picture filled with 21st century luxuries and classist behaviours.  Unnaturally poetic, this three part piece is transformational and uncanny; allowing the audience to observe the translating roles of the ‘Masters’ and the ‘Servants’.  Visually,  Trimlachio is evocative of Renaissance paintings–the composition, the saturated colours, and the emphasis on the body and its surroundings.  The piece itself is quite erotic with an undeniable musical fluidity.

The Feast of Trimalchio is a modern masterpiece.

2.  The Gladstone Hotel never fails to impress me.  This year Fly By Night offered many performances, exhibits, and a good time.  The newly renovated Melody Bar was hopping with live music. Specifically, Lemon Bucket Orkestra kept the party going with its Eastern European tunes–they are a personal favourite gem that never fails to get the crowd riled up.

My favourite experience in the Gladstone was in Room 214.  As you walked up to the door two curtains blocked the door frame. You stood and waited. Suddenly, the curtains flew open and inside was a random group of people (fellow Nuit Blanche visitors) having a great time, happy to see you, and dancing away to loud music.  This experience encapsulated the exact moment of a party entrance and how one feels when walking into a really great house party.  Room 214 was a party that you never wanted to leave.

What were some of your favourite Nuit Blanche moments?

Button Mash This: Chiptunes Orchestra at Nuit Blanche 2011

Over the past month or so, the rad ass members of The Royal Canadian Chiptunes Orchestra have been rehearsing for their performance at the Tiff Bell Lightbox as part of Toronto’s annual Nuit Blanche all-night art event. I am honoured to say that I’ve been playing with this amazing group of talented people and we’re all very excited to share our music. Our set consists mostly of awesome cancon covers which have been given the 8-bit treatment. I assure you fun will be had by all and noise will be made by as many as possible as we will be highly encouraging audience participation. To entice you further, here’s a teaser of what you might expect to hear from the night.

Sunglasses At Night (KidKulit Remix) by KidKulit

Aside from The Royal Canadian Chiptunes Orchestra, there will also be a ton of fantastic 8-bit musicians slotted throughout the entire evening right up until the early morning. Performers include Battle Lava, Deadbeatblast, .exe, Radius and Helena, Oxvylu, Cybernetic Orchestra, Freque, Awesome Force, Jeff the World, Starpilot, Tetris Hold’em, bossFYTE, DJ Finish Him, Press Start 2 Play, and Spell ‘n Math. Now, that’s a LOT of chiptunes!

The Music of the Video Game! is on from 7pm to 7am on Saturday, October 1, 2011. So if you plan on heading out for Nuit Blanche tomorrow night, why not find a way to squeeze in a stopover at the Tiff Bell Lightbox [Cinema 1] onto your art-roaming schedules. You won’t regret it!

Button Mash This: Chiptunes

Earlier this week, an open call for submissions was announced for a rather unique art piece at this year’s Nuit Blanche in Toronto. TIFF’s Gaming and New Media Think Tank members, in collaboration with Site 3 coLaboratory, are curating an event called The Music of The Video Game! Their applicant search varies from musicians to visualists, ranging in expertise from hobbyists to seasoned pros. The ambitious evening will include performances from the newly created Royal Canadian Chiptunes Orchestra in addition to large format video game visuals to be displayed on the Cinema 1 screen of TIFF Bell Lightbox. If you’re interested in contributing or participating, more details can be found here.

Needless to say, the mere thought of this awesomeness has me beside myself with excitement! And when I’m all hyped up, I like to share that joy. So here are my Top Three Chiptune Albums

UPDATED: Learn more about how this growing genre of music is created here.

[Read more...]