Over the next week I will be reviewing the instillation's I had the opportunity to experience during Nuit Blanche. I will attempt to answer the question is Nuit Blanche a successful positive influence on the city and the art world or a massive spectacle of corporate influence over artists.
My inspiration for this review is thanks to a talk I attended at OCAD University asking the very same question. I was especially struck by the opinions of Murray Whyte the art critic for the Toronto Star. He lamented that he had no way of reviewing the exhibits before the night and could therefore not be expected to report on them, he said his editor didn't believe it was important to cover any of the art after the fact because it was to late and no one would get to see them now anyway. I was appalled by this assertion, I would ask; is Mr. Whyte an event column or an art critic? I was inspired to fill the void he so easily leaves over the next few weeks. Perhaps if the art is given the exposure it deserves it will cast some light on the worth of this festival.
This was one of my favourite instillations of the night. I watched person after person walk through a very similar path. Choosing doors that would lead them to be hero’s. It reminded me of online dating sites. You fill out question after question filing yourself into a category with hundreds of others, feeling unique but in fact limiting oneself to the structure of the questionnaire. It was incredibly satisfying to be able to put your choices on display. While everyone watches you can choose Truth over Fiction showing yourself to be a champion of justice and human rights. You can show everyone how you have ‘Some Regrets’, you’re not perfect, you want everyone to see your humility.
It was a reminder of the intense attraction of personality tests, the need to have who we are reflected back at ourselves. I recently signed up for a pottermore.com account, a bit behind the times I know, but I wanted to know which house I would be in. I answered a series of questions similar to the questions on the doors to discover I belong in Gryfindor, brave and bold. Are we limiting ourselves by consciously creating a persona for based on someone elses rules? Or are we simply enjoying an escape into a choose your own adventure?
What is it that makes us feel that our answers are so unique? I believe it is the false assumption that having a set of choices means that we have to make one. There is always the choice not to choose as well as the choice to create our own set of choices. This instillation reminded me of the limits of choices, that having a nicely laid out selection of shows to watch on Netflix may be convenient, but it also limits the range of my experience.