Vincent Cheung

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Nuit Blanche

"How to respond in an emergency"
"Cops" dancing on the street

Position Yourself in a Network of Possibilities"
Light up dance floor with Steve doing the robot

"Ballroom Dancing"
Thousands of rubber balls, 10-year-old DJs

Rubber balls everywhere! I think I'm about to get hit...

"Fog in Toronto #71624" - University of Toronto, Philosopher's Walk

Knitted Cupcakes (for Sarah)

More Pictures

So I have realized that I don't really understand contemporary art.

I woke up at 4 pm today after going to bed at 8 am. I was still pretty awake and up for breakfast after the sun began to rise, but Tina and Rob were pretty done :p. I had prepared for the night by staying up until like 5 am and sleeping until 2 pm the night before.

So, the evening started with me meeting up with Rostecki, who was visiting Toronto from Winnipeg for his last time as he's moving here in a month, near Yorkville around 10:30 pm, though that didn't turn out as easy as it should have been b/c the info booth wasn't where I thought it was supposed to be (it was on Cumberland instead of Bloor).

We then tracked down Jamie Ly (she needs page rank, and you can read Jamie Ly's post) by the "Garden of Light" (plastic water lillies that lit up when in the water, but not when they were out of the water, which we figured out to be b/c there were two electrodes at the bottom, which needed a conductor, like your finger, or the water). Turns out that she was part of a mob, an art mob if you will. They already had a group of 14 (16 with us), with no one person knowing more than like 5 people. I only knew Jamie and Rob, and knew of Richard. There wasn't much direction in the mob and were at the mercy of any one with a desire to see a particular exhibit. It was a blast with the wide diversity of people in the group.

I soon develop a reputation of being a source of unreliable information as Tahir tells me over the phone that there is a giant teddy bear on Baldwin, but it's just neon red signs of words from Elvis Presley's songs, such as "Let me be your teddy bear" in restaurant windows. I did run into Tahir on Baldwin b/c he heard people cursing my name for lying to them :p

One of the best exhibits were the dancing cops on the street. A car would just pull up at a street corner, roll down the windows, and blast music. Cops would approach the car in what looks like a take down, but then embrace each other and begin to dance. People start surrounding them blocking off traffic, people in passing buses plaster themselves against the window to see what's going on. And as quickly as it begins, it ends, and the cops walk off to some random location for another performance. I was fortunate to catch them twice.

We visited the Village Idiot Pub for a quick drink. Someone ordered 5 beers, and with 16 people we had to struggle to finish them! It was insane.

We saw a number of "projection" exhibits, which basically consists of a video projector and some random video sequence (blurry bugs, an ultra slowed down 3 Stooges video, sheep, random rectangles, shadows, water, a video of people puking white stuff and poking puking people, a video that gets you motion sick, and a crazy guy wanting to burn down Paris so his dad couldn't take him to get his hair cut). I didn't understand most of these, though I didn't really have the patience to watch much of them.

The light up dance floor was pretty cool. It was right by the corner of Queen and University. Part of the whole Nuit Blanche thing was to break down the barriers between art and public space, so it was cool to see a dance floor with people dancing outside in just a random corner in downtown.

Tina finally met up with us at this point, which was just after midnight. Rob remarked that it was weird b/c his last girlfriend was also Asian and named Tina.

There was a lot of talking with random strangers that night. Rob picked up 3 girls that he was playing dominos with (I was playing a giant game of twister). He got them to join our mob (~19 at that point). At the dance floor, we were talking about the ballroom and how long the line was and two people told us that it was only a 15 min. wait, so we went back.

The ballroom was amazing!!! Thousands of rubber balls in a gymnasium with 10-year-old DJs. If you stood in the main area, you just got constantly pelted with balls. It was great, though I'm sure that I'm going to develop some sort of eye disease since I got hit in the face so often and the balls were kinda nasty as you could feel grit on the balls when you picked them up. So much fun!

Funny part was when Rob was telling me how great it was to just pelt completely random strangers with balls and some girls just walking in were like shocked at his statement, but I told them that they'd understand once they got into the mayhem.

Walking over to the last zone in Queen St. West was a bit of a hike. Right when we got there (2-something), our group got severed in half as a bunch just jumped on a bus apparently wanting to go to the Drake Hotel and the other half didn't know what to do b/c some people didn't want to go and the girl that Rob had been flirting with for the past half an hour turned out to be 18! (Drinking age in Ontario is 19)

With our group now of just 5 people (Jamie and Richard, the Jeffs, and a few others left before we left for Queen St. W), we continued on. The two people in our group that I didn't know left when we were waiting to go into "Night Swim", supposedly a bath house, but really it was just a swimming pool and people swimming, and hardly worth the half hour wait. Monia's departure was a bit odd, as she said something about Rob being rude to her (which he was confused about) and didn't want to walk with him, which we thought she was joking, but she just took off, and her 18 year old roommate soon followed b/c Monia apparently didn't have the key to their place. So, with the clock somewhere between 2 and 3, it was just me, Rostecki, and Tina.

"Freeze" was pretty cool (ooh, brutal joke). It was a large ice sculpture of slabs of ice with letters cut out from each slab, that read "STONECHILD". It was in a car wash.

The point at which I really began to doubt the whole contemporary art thing was when I was listening to an artist talking about one of his works about the seductive nature of the States for artists in Canada and John A. Macdonald was portrayed and was said to have a lot of wax in his ears so that he didn't hear the seduction and wasn't lured down. I then go and see the piece and it's like a cutout of a skyscraper scene, with 3 naked girls cutout and pasted on top with balloon text above them and then a cutout of John A. Macdonald. I forget what they were saying, but I was like, "double-you tee eff???" and walked off.

We ran into the other half of the group (I think degraded to about 5) around 4 walking the other direction. We then stopped off at the Beaver Cafe for a small bite to eat. We then wanted to go back to Yorkville to check out some things there that we missed. Waiting at the Toronto Performance Transit System stop. Two girls were also waiting, and we found out that they wanted to go back to Yorkville too and also check out the fog at Philosopher's Walk, so we split a cab.

At Philosopher's Walk, they had installed a bunch of fog machines, which was pretty cool, but muddy.

The sites in Yorkville weren't that impressive, though the Dr. Mario exhibit (that's what I like to call it) was fun. It was around 6ish and it was pretty dead (Queen Street was pretty lively when we left at 5ish. I think the typical thing to do was progress from Yorkville, down University, and then across Queen). We went to this "Bedtime Tales: Fables and Fantasies" thing where someone was just reading and the entire audience was just passed out on the floor. It was pretty funny.

After visiting all 3 zones, seeing most of the exhibits, walking a hell of a lot (which is something I've been doing a lot lately, with the whole walking from the Distillery District to Korean town two weeks ago), and with the sun about to rise, we called it a night and headed home.


Sarah said...

I haven't finished reading this yet...but I plan to.

But first:

1. Thanks for the cupcake photo!
2. I need page rank 8o|

Vince said...

Page rank for what? Princess Sarah is already #1 and what use does your comm site have anymore? Anyways, no page rank until you post pictures b/c I need something to link to.

Sarah said...

comm site.

i want it to be #1 for my name...

Ms. Ly said...

nice! thanks for the help :) when i beat out that other jamie ly on google... i'll have you to thank. but first, i would do a little dance to celebrate. perhaps the robot like "aaron". hahaha.
you sure have a memory for detail - that was a great summary of the evening! the beer thing was so so so so sad!!! but we managed to down it ... and by we i mean you guys. i enjoyed my pint of ginger ale :)

Darren said...

hey Vincent,

I'm the artist who created Ballroom Dancing. So glad you had a great time!! I really like your account of the evening, it's really wonderful to hear that you hung out with so many strangers. That's the point of most of my work. Glad that - with Ballroom Dancing - you were able to whip a ball at a strangers eye!! the ambulance people had to deal with TEN (!!!) eye injuries that night. Luckily none were serious.

anyway, thanka again for your great account of the night. Take care,

Darren O'Donnell

Ms. Ly said...

uh totally cool that he commented!!!

Ms. Ly said...

I entered your link for this entry to a craft blog. Check it out here at

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