My Nuit Blanche Adventure: The Storm before the Storm

In the days leading up to Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2010, and during the day of the event itself, I was making random notes to capture my thoughts and experiences during the lead up to, the actual event, and the aftermath of Nuit Blanche. Although these entries are are going to be typed up and posted after the event took place, they are based on notes made in the heat of the moment.

My Nuit Blanche Adventure: Part 2: The Storm Before the Storm.

I had been asleep for about 20 minutes when the phone rang. It looks like I’m going to be a little late getting to the venue for the final touches of our set up. It’s a good thing I did most of my packing the night before. Breakfast consists of an apple that is starting to go soft from sitting too long, and a cup of what I call a ‘triple instant’. A triple instant is 3 cups of instant coffee in one cup. It’s far from tasty, but very much needed this morning.

The brisk walk isn’t enough to jump start my body, but I do manage to arrive in a reasonable amount of time, 5 minutes faster than expected. We get to work. The wires are being cut to size, and I have Brad replace every single one of them with speaker wire. it is a needless cosmetic change, but I think it’s one of those subtle extras that will make a difference. Brad doesn’t put up much of an argument, and in the end, he agrees with me. Usually, I’m the one saying “it’s good enough” while Brad is demanding more unnecessary cosmetic changes. I guess he realized that if I’m the one saying it needs to be changed to look good, then it must really need to be changed to look good. So, Brad starts doing his thing, and it’s time for me to start doing mine…only my exhausted mind never thought to pack my tools last night. All those tools are still at home, on the table by the door. So, less than an hour after walking to the venue, I have to walk the 2.4km back to my house, pick up my tools, then walk another 2.4km back to the venue, and get to work.

We tape up the wires and get everything looking great. I don’t mean to sound egotistical by this, but I really do think we did a great job of setting up, and they did an excellent job with preparing the venue. The room that Levack Block was providing for us is fantastic. The elegant decor and colour scheme fit our work better than any museum wall could have. The lights were dimmed to just the right level to maximize the ‘Take a Picture’ effect without making it look like darkness was necessary for the images to be seen. hide the wires perfectly. This is why I like working with Brad on projects. With some teamwork, we can achieve heights I don’t think either one of us could reach on our own. In that moment when all of our hard work comes together, and I see the project in a finished state for the first time, I am stunned that I had a part in making this.

We finish the setup just before 1:30. With nothing to do between now and 6:30, Brad suggests napping before the show. This is a great idea, but there was one little problem: in the last minute rush to pick up some final supplies, I had left my credit card at a store and had to retrieve it. And the store is in the opposite direction to my apartment. So I walk another 2.4km to the store, pick up my lost card, then start the 4.8km walk back to my place.

If you have been keeping a tally of my mileage for the day, you’ll know that I’m now at 14.4km. What I haven’t told you up until this point is that all of that walking has taken place in the rain.

It is now 3:30. By the time I finish eating my first (and only) proper meal of the day, it’s 4:00, so I will be able to work in about one hour of sleep. For once in my life, I’m out the minute my head hits the pillow.

Show time is fast approaching. I find my suit: too big. I search for my nice dress pants: damn, too big. My other dress pants….well, they’re good enough. I put on my ugly black and white shirt. The intricate geometric black and white pattern on this shirt causes digital cameras to show random moiré patterns. I think this is somehow appropriate for the “Take a Picture” project, since the art itself is also about messing with the way digital cameras record the world.

I check the time, it looks like I’m going to be a little late getting to the venue. I promised to be there 30 minutes before the official opening (6:57pm), and I don’t want to break a sweat while I’m in my nice clothes. I walk the 2.4km to the venue with a nice, relaxing, leisurely pace, and this time, it is not raining. I arrive 20 minutes before show time.

Kev arrives, along with a friend of his I haven’t met before. They are our volunteers for the night; our plants. If the audience can’t figure out what they are supposed to do, they will pretend to be audience members, holding up their cameras, pointing out the results. Brad’s brother Adam has also offered to help us for a good portion of the evening.

Everything is in its place.
Everything is working perfectly and looking great.
Hundreds of hours of labour, months of paperwork, and years of anticipation are all about to come into fruition.
It’s show time.

Published by

Kyle Clements

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based artist and nerd. During his thesis at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Kyle began working on his Urban Landscapes series, a body of work that aims to capture the energy and excitement of life in the fast-paced urban environment. After graduating from OCAD in 2006, Kyle spent a year living in Asia to gather source material and experience in a different kind or urban environment. His work is vibrant and colourful. Whether painting the harsh Northern landscape, or capturing the overwhelming buzz of life in the city, his acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.