Winnipeg’s Nuit Blanche back for 1-night-only engagement — as it’s meant to be

Winnipeg’s annual nightly free arts festival is back with more – and less.

Nuit Blanche 2022 will feature more interactive installations and performances than ever before, spread across the Exchange District, Downtown, The Forks and St Boniface, with trolleys offering free rides between these zones throughout Saturday night.

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But it’s also returning from a month-long event in 2020 and 2021 to a one-night event only.

Two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted organizers to scrap all live events and instead offer a full month of virtual shows.

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The 2021 version returned to live and outdoors but kept the month-long format to avoid large crowds gathering close together for a single night.

But a one-night event is what Nuit Blanche – an interplay of language, sound and light – is meant to be. Although the direct translation is “white night”, the name “Nuit Blanche” means “sleepless night” in French.

During Nuit Blanche 2019, people in The Forks walk through a tunnel of light tubes that change color. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Kurt Tittlemier, Nuit Blanche project manager, says it feels good to be back “after two years of something of a scaled-down event”.

“We’ve worked really hard this year to place the installations all over the city center but within walking distance of each other. So we’re hoping that people can park their car and take it all in,” he told CBC information radio Hostess Marcy Markusa.

The idea of ​​Nuit Blanche began in Paris in the 1980s as a celebration of contemporary art. While some of this took place in museums, private and public galleries, and other cultural institutions—all for free—other parts of the city were included as performance venues.

In Winnipeg, exhibitions and events occupy patios, river walks, parking lots and alleyways.

One of the performances in 2021, titled Waterline, was a dance projected in The Forks harbour, giving the impression that the dancers were on the surface of the water. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

“It’s something unexpected in that regard, and it’s actually spread to the major centers of the world after it started in France,” Tittlemier said.

Held annually on either the last Saturday in September or the first Saturday in October to coincide with the days of culture, Winnipeg’s Nuit Blanche debuted in 2010.

This year’s exhibits include a dancing, glowing forest, a giant screen that interacts with people through shape and color, bicycles hanging in the treetops, illuminated bacterial cellulose, and a fortune-telling salon.

This year’s installations also include a 1970s disco-inspired runway, a lighted sculpture inspired by mystically floating souls from Japanese folk tales, and a sculpture that transforms contorted-faced heads into television screens.

In 2016, The Cloud was an interactive light sculpture created from 6,000 light bulbs. As people tugged on the chains to turn the lightbulbs on and off, an image emerged of a thunderstorm brewing inside. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

There will also be a “pollination ceremony,” described as a “theatrical spectacle celebrating the bee,” which is part parade, part fertility rite, part nature documentary opera. It features a six meter tall queen bee sculpt/puppet as well as several smaller bees and a variety of flowers illuminated by LEDs.

Choirs, dance and a projection-based light installation focusing on mental health are also among the offerings at the event, which begins at 6 p.m. Most performances and exhibitions last until midnight.

New this year is a Kids Zone running from 6pm to 8pm in the Children’s Museum, with interactive workshops and artists.

“We’re hoping that maybe after the kids have played for a while, some families can go ahead and record something [of the other] installations that we have,” said Tittlemier.

People walk along an illuminated balance beam wall in the Stock Exchange District in 2019. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

More information about this year’s event is available on the event’s website, and a map of venues, public spaces and installations is also available online.

viral fashion

In addition to the exhibitions organized by Nuit Blanche, there are other offerings by independent curators at locations across the city.

These include an open-air concert of experimental electronic music near Portage and Main, video and film projections onto buildings outside the Graffiti Gallery, and a Wolseley art studio showcasing weaving, jewelry art and natural dyeing.

Another of these peripheral shows is a Costume Museum of Canada exhibit called Viral Fashion…In the wake of Pandemics, which compares the Spanish flu era and the COVID-19 era and examines how fashion has been affected by the two pandemics .

After the Spanish flu pandemic, women’s places in the world changed irrevocably, and with it came practical changes in fashion, including less restrictive styles and undergarments, according to the Costume Museum of Canada. (Costume Museum of Canada)

“One of the first things people will see when they walk in is a nurse’s uniform from the early 1900s,” Andrea Brown, president of the museum’s board of directors, told CBC At full speed Host Faith Fundal.

“It’s obviously a tribute to nurses and the medical field.”

Other items “pretty colorful and cheerful,” Brown said.

“What people are going to see are some amazing dresses from the Roaring ’20s,” including a crinoline that museum staff are calling a “social distancing dress” because its width makes it difficult for people to get close to, she said.

There’s also a chiffon flu veil that, according to Brown, “looks nice but doesn’t have too much in my opinion.” [effectiveness] for germs.”

During the current pandemic, the biggest influence on fashion has been technology, Brown said. With people able to work from home, convenience outweighs style, she said.

“We wear a lot of sweatshirts … and t-shirts and hoodies, and some people are okay with that.”

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