Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau 2014
The Nuit Blanche festivals, which happen in various cities all over the world throughout the year, are amazing opportunities to see innovative artists and a chance to bring the art to the streets, rather than hiding it away in a gallery. The cities of Ottawa and Gatineau made sure that their Nuit Blanche (NBOG) was both interactive and eclectic, encouraging audiences to not only look at the works, but be a part of their process.
What is unique about NBOG 2014 is that a majority of the interactive works focused on technology and engineering as artistic mediums.
Artists Christine Kim and Marcin Kedzior collaborated to design “PAPER ORBS" which visitors had to take off an intricate structure in order to wear in various fashions, creating a fluidity of the form. Similarly, Ingrid Dabringer also emphasized fluidity of form in her work with “Invisible Landscapes”, altering the structure of the works’ environment with string and optical illusion.
On the technological side, two artists focused primarily on the use of social media; 6artists and Jennifer Stewart. The collective known as 6artists performed the making of a sculpture, but the only communication between themselves and the audience all night was through Twitter. Jennifer Stewart also encouraged NBOG guests to communicate with her, but only through Snapchat. Another fun, interactive project was Krasimira Dimtchevska's “Free Speech & Free Art" which gave NBOG audiences free USB sticks of digital works created by the artist, a ‘souvenir’ piece, just like PAPER ORBS.
Interactive projections also were featured heavily in this year’s festival, such as Cheryl Pagurek's “Bodies of Water” (which appeared in her “Navigate" piece for NBOG), Galerie Montcalm's “PASSAGE PIXELLISÉ II”, Bear Witness' “Sentinels" which guarded the entrance to the Ottawa Art Gallery, and Jesse Stewart's “Passage”, to create unforgettable audio-visual experiences for all those attending NBOG.
As with every festival, there can be so much more to say. The eclectic mix of both professional and emerging artists, traditional arts and new media arts, made this year’s Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau among one of the most innovative and interactive Nuit Blanche festivals yet.