The Canadian Art Database


scotiabank  nuit blanche
Toronto Canada 2009
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Zone A, Downtown North

Two separate Exhibitions, curated by Gregory Elgstrand and Thom Sokoloski, present a playful, participatory and interactive environment where a circus of ideas are met with a nocturnal urban fantasia that explores the present, past and future. Each Exhibition Project is mapped with a red square.

The Circle With A Hole In The Middle
Curated by Gregory Elgstrand

What were we before?
Curated by Thom Sokoloski

[Zone A] - Location Map

Curatorial Statement

Step right up to The Circle With A Hole In The Middle where the festival of the immediate future becomes nothing less than a circus of ideas. This is a circus where one thing does and does not lead to another and another to another. The circle describes a hole to be filled with an idea to be thought. But not just the one idea, rather, it is a place where the many ideas of the many people come together in celebration of ideas of celebration, death, philosophy, and parades in a play of interpretation to produce more ideas and so on.
Gregory Elgstrand

Curator Biography
Gregory Elgstrand is a curator, writer and producer. He has curated and organized numerous exhibitions across Canada including Happy Medium, a survey of Brian Jungen's drawings, Redwood Downs by David Hoffos, an exhibition of posters and publications produced by Portikus in Frankfurt and group exhibitions such as Futures with Garry Neill Kennedy, Louise Lawler and John Will, and Blue Calgary Sky. He recently curated the exhibitions Exhibitions and Exhibition in 2006 and 2008 respectively at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. Elgstrand has a number of upcoming curatorial projects in Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver and he is part of the organizing group behind Reverse Pedagogy 2 held in Venice in June 2009.

His writings have been published by Canadian Art, C, the Palais de Tokyo, YYZ, the Glenbow Museum, the University of Calgary and his jazz reviews were regularly published by The Coast, Halifax. Elgstrand recently served as Director of YYZ from 2004 to 2008 and as Director/Curator of the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC) from 1999 to 2003. Before joining the AGC, Elgstrand worked as Director of Truck in Calgary and from 1995 to 1998 he was Coordinator of Struts Gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick. In 1993, he and his brother, screenwriter, playwright and director Kris Elgstrand, co-founded AH UM Theatre in Vancouver. Elgstrand studied at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Simon Fraser University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Elgstrand is co-editor with Dave Dyment of One for Me and One to Share, a survey of artist multiples (YYZBOOKS, 2009). In the fall of 2009, Elgstrand will launch a lecture series in Toronto and he and his brother will launch their occasional publication, The Legstandard.

Commissioned Projects Anitra Hamilton  (Toronto, Canada) Audio Parade: Field Recording #4
Jeff Koons  (New York City, USA) Rabbit Balloon
Geoffrey Farmer (Vancouver, Canada) The Blinking Eyes of Everything
Katie Bethune-Leamen (Toronto, Canada) Ghost Chorus – Dirge for Dead Slang
Susie Burpee (Toronto, Canada) Dead Philosophers' Limbo

Open Call Projects
To encourage involvement by a wide range of artists - established and emerging -
each Zone included projects selected by the curators through an open call process.

Christine Duncan's Element Choir & Orchestra  (Toronto, Canada) The Sonic Fun House
Adrian Blackwell (Toronto, Canada) Night Equals Day
Dave Clarke, Chris Hanney, Morgan Russell, Sandi Becker, Jen Cameron  (Toronto, Burlington, Ottawa & Elliot Lake, Canada) Hey Dave!

Curatorial Statement

What Were We Before? The area around Yonge, Dundas and Bay Streets is an environment that is participatory, interactive and inclusive - a space where the public can become inspired and engaged in their own individual encounters with art. What were we before? will be a nocturnal urban fantasia through which the moving crowds will ponder their individual pasts and present within the context of Toronto’s own history and of the larger expression of art on a grand scale.

“Any revolutionary project today, whether utopian or realistic, must if it is to avoid banality, make the re-appropriation of the body, in association with the re-appropriation of space into a negotiable part of its agenda” - The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre, 1974.
Thom Sokoloski

Curator Biography
Thom Sokoloski trained in New York City and Paris as an artist, producer and curator. He produced Sid’s Kids - the punk musical, Michael Nyman and band, the Master Musicians of Jajouka (because the ghost of Brian Jones told him to), worked with R. Murray Schafer, created his own works and directed site-specific opera and theatre (in a train station, science centre, swimming pool, castle, canals, abandoned cirque d’hiver, etc.). His work has been presented by the Holland Festival, Toronto’s WorldStage, Ars Musica Brussels, Strasbourg’s Musica, Musique-en-scène Festival, Huddersfield Festival, Opéra de Lyon, the Canadian Opera Company and Opéra de Montréal. In 2004, he left the performing arts to focus on large-scale public art installations. He premiered Confinement of the Intellect at the inaugural edition of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in 2006, and then as The Encampment in New York City in 2007 and Ottawa in 2008. He also curated for the McLuhan International Festival of the Future (2004), Toronto International Art Fair (Interactive 2005) and Contact (2007).

Paulette Phillips  (Toronto, Canada) AS COULD BE
Gordon Monahan  (Meaford, Canada / Berlin, Germnay) Space Becomes The Instrument
Erwin Redl (Bowling Green, USA) SPEED SHIFT Toronto
Bill Viola (Long Beach, USA) The Reflecting Pool & Ancient of Day
Shaun El C. Leonardo (New York City, USA) Battle Royal

Open Call Projects
To encourage involvement by a wide range of artists - established and emerging -
each Zone included projects selected by the curators through an open call process.

Cara Spooner, Robin Lasser, Adrienne Pao  (Toronto, Canada; Oakland & Richmond, USA)
    Glacial Retreat Dress Tent
Graffiti Research Lab (Montreal, Canada) Pwn the Wall - Graffiti Research Lab

Independent Projects

Art for Commuters and Onestop Media Group Words Travel Fast 09
Art Gallery of Ontario Window to Whatever
Artist Cooperative of Canada "Wild!" at Spadina Museum
Artscape Wychwood Barns Allende Arts Festival, Home Sweet Hogar
Artscape Wychwood Barns Charmaine Lurch, Things with Wings
Artscape Wychwood Barns New Adventures in Sound Art, sound(e)scape (NAISA)
& Tree Prosthetic Project (Jane Tingley)

Artscape Wychwood Barns Peter Horvath, Memoir
Artscape Wychwood Barns Storytelling Toronto, 1001 Stories
Bata Shoe Museum & Diaspora Dialogues Where Have You Been In These Shoesy
Blackcurrant Productions Things Fall Apart
Blackwood Gallery Drop Out
Cabbagetown Cabbagetown Nuit Blanche
Cabbagetown Brian T. Moore, Cubemmunity
Cabbagetown Jason Leaver, Mobius
Cabbagetown Will Hudson , Gateway Project
Campbell House Museum and Joanna Strong Light and Dark
Canadian Music Centre Skyharp / Miasma
Canadian Polish Art Initiatives ConcurrenceII
Casa Loma Corpus Dance, Le Grand Peep Show by Corpus at the Stables of Casa Loma
Cathy Gordon and The Theatre Centre BOUNCING BRIDE: What Goes Down Must Go Up
Gardiner Museum Fresh Clay
Holly Jordan Revival
Jenny-Anne McCowan, Bert and Tony's Block Party
John Shipman, Adrienne Coffey and Jihee Min In Search of a Wife In Search of a Husband
Matthew Vare Modern Documentation Series
Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) Moon-een on McCaul
Peggy Baker Dance Projects and Canada's National Ballet School move
Ryerson University, Faculty of Communication & Design LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
St. Thomas's Anglican Church, Huron Street Through a Glass Darkly
Stand Up Dance dance like no one is watching
The Other GalleryArt Move
The Royal Conservatory Music Inside/Out
TIFF Cinematheque A Trip to the Moon
Toronto Public Librar Dance Dance Evolution!

The following institutions opened their doors all-night long to enable viewing of ongoing shows and installations.

Institute for Contemporary Culture at the ROM Vanity Fair Portraits, Photographs 1913-2008
The Japan Foundation, Toronto Overture to PARALLEL NIPPON

  City of Toronto Special Events Toronto Culture / Soctiabank