My Nuit Blanche Adventure: The Calm 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.

Part One: The Calm Before The Storm

3:41am
October 2nd, 2010

(Yea, I know that is a clichéd expression, but I’m a painter, not a poet, and that phrase captures the mood I’m in, so it stays.)

The lead up to this day has been intense. Weeks of steady 14-hour workdays have given way to a roller coaster oscillating between periods of insane last-minute busyness, followed by hours of empty free time.
In the mad rush to get everything done, there was little time for anxiety, for nervousness, anticipation, or for excitement. My attention was so focused on the work in front of me that I didn’t have room to worry about anything else. The small windows of free time that have opened up during these past few days have allowed all those previously ignored emotions to flood my senses. Throughly unhelpful worries and worst-case-scenario situations have overtaken my mind.

Will it work?
What if it doesn’t work?
What if everyone hates it?
What if no one brings a camera?
What if it doesn’t live up to the hype?

These nagging negative thoughts only left me when I was busy working on other jobs, like the promo videos, cards, planning, etc.

All those things are out of the way. Other than some last minute re-wiring on Brad’s part, we are ready for show time. There isn’t any work left to occupy my mind and push out those self-doubts. Yet, as I sit here, pen in hand, sipping decaf Earl Grey at 4:01 am, I realize I’m not really feeling anything. I am not aware of any anxiety, anticipation, fear, excitement, joy, depression, or anything else. There is just a feeling of blank emptiness. It’s not a feeling of “I just want this to be over”, nor am I thinking “I don’t want to do this”, I’m just filled with an overall feeling of indifference at the moment.

I’m doing the math in my head. I have to be up at 7am. It’s past 4am right now, and I’ve never been a good sleeper. It always takes me an hour or so to finally manage to pass out. I’ll be lucky to get two hours tonight. Those two hours will likely be all I get for the next 28 hours. It will be 9am Sunday morning before I will sleep again.

6 hours of sleep over the last 96 hours has led to some interesting experiences. I can actually feel my attention running out. Someone will be talking to me, and within minutes, I tune them out. I lack the ability to focus my attention to go where I want it to go. My hearing seems clear, sounds somehow seem more distinct than usual, like a music sequencer program, it is almost as if I can mute or turn up certain channels. This is a good thing, because visual hallucinations have left my peripheral vision unreliable. As I walk, shadows become stray cats and buildings dance to my footsteps. A caffeine surplus and sleep deficit only works for so long before it catches up with you, and I’m pretty sure it has caught up with me.

All I can do at this point is put the pen down, lay down, and try to trick my body into believing that it wants sleep.

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.

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