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Literary-minded installations to check out at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017

Poet Gwen Benaway will be taking part in In Conversation: Becoming an Accomplice at Nuit Blanche this year

Nuit Blanche – the annual night art exhibitions when thousands of pedestrians take over Toronto – takes place at various locations across the city from sundown on Sept. 30 to sunrise on Oct. 1.

This year, there are several installations inspired by or incorporating literature and poetry:

  • The Waste Land will see T.S. Eliot’s famed poem “The Waste Land” translated into a knitted tapestry, offering comment on different types of coded language and the hidden labour and devaluation of “women’s work” versus fine arts.  (mixed-media artist Jessica Bebenek)
  • In The Forestfragments of poetry and archaic poetic text from around the globe will be communicated through the audience’s “human microphone” of voice-to-voice translation. (Will Kwan)
  • The Living Library will utilize the stories of local residents and Toronto storytellers as “living books.” (Scadding Court Community Centre, Theatre Passe Muraille, and the Toronto School of Art)
  • Where Once Stood a Bandstand for Cruising & Shelter will showcase strategically dropped, scaffold-hung banners of prose poems about the histories of Queen’s Park. (interdisciplinary artist Hazel Meyer)
  • China Revolution and the “The Little Red Book” of Revolutions will comment on the importance of Proletarian literature and art in revolutionary causes, as exemplified by the creation and dissemination of Mao’s Little Red Book during the Chinese Communist Revolution. (artists Dmitry Vilensky, Tsaplya Olga Egorova, and Nikolay Oleynikov)
  • Poetry, Performance & Protest: Let’s Talk Canadian Values will encourage audience engagement on the topic of Canadian values, as moderated by poets and performance artists who will punctuate the discussion with select spoken word and other pieces. (Diaspora Dialogues)
  • In Conversation: Becoming an Accomplice will join writers Siku Allooloo, T.L. Cowan, poet Gwen Benaway, and other authors and academics together in a conversation about what it means to “act in awakened solidarity with Indigenous peoples,” based on articles written by the performers. (Allooloo and scholar Jaskiran Dhillon)
  • Listen to the Chorus will combine poetry and music in an immersive video installation that speaks to current debates and conversations about women’s rights. (artist Nasim Asgari, art collective Madeleine Co., and composer Cecilia Livingston)
  • Serpent People will enact the Anishinaabe myth The Black Sturgeon as a theatrical performance emphasizing the importance of oral storytelling. (Nipissing First Nations arts group Aanmitaagzi Company)
  • Lukumi Dub Opera: 150 Years Before & After will meld poetry and mythology with music and other art forms for a performance piece about the legacy of Canada 150 years into both the past and the future. (multi-disciplinary writer-performer and poet d’bi.young anitafrika)
  • Colouring Outside the Box will bring the recent colouring book craze into three dimensions with a series of illustrated shoe boxes for spectators to colour in. (Bata Shoe Museum)