An art installation that features an illuminated tent resting inside a boat which is sitting atop grass.

Courtesy of John Notten.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus this October 1 for the popular contemporary art event Nuit Blanche.

Lakeshore is preparing for an influx of more than 50,000 visitors to the campus to experience the 18 installations and projects there.

Nuit Blanche, which is free, starts at sunset on October 1 and continues to sunrise the next morning at locations across Toronto. Lakeshore is hosting Nuit Blanche's first-ever Etobicoke neighbourhood hub.

This year’s event is billed as being the most expansive to date with artwork by more than 150 local, national, and international artists.   

There will be a variety of media on display including textile, dance, multimedia, sound, video, sculpture, projection and more. Many of the projects are interactive.

One of the installations that visitors may want to check out is Vladimir Kanic’s "The Book of Waves." The “living sculpture” is located in the G Cottage Commons and, as spectators exhale carbon dioxide, bioluminescent algae within the sculpture absorb it and convert it into oxygen.

By removing pollution and toxins from the air and creating oxygen on site, the sculpture explores the relationship between human and non-human organisms and re-establishes our communication with not only the environment but each other through the invisible language of breath and its chemical composition.  

There’s also a collaborative weaving experience called “A point and a line, makes a curve, then a circle.” It’s billed as a 12-hour collaborative weaving performance that involves weavers responding to shared choreography, tension, and sound. The textiles they make use light-reflective yarn, allowing the threads and motions to glow at night.  

Jennifer Gordon, director, Centre for Creative Business Innovation (CCBI) and Galleries at Humber, said Nuit Blanche is going to be a feast for the senses.

Student work showcased

Humber offers several fellowships that have students work with industry partners on projects. Two of these – the Nuit Blanche Fellowship and the Indigenous Transmedia Fellowship – had Humber students create projects that will be part of this year’s festival.

“For our students to have their works included in such a highly professional event like Nuit Blanche, which is one of the largest contemporary art festivals in North America, is huge,” said Casey Norris, project lead with Humber Galleries and CCBI. “This is something that professional artists strive for. So being able to give students at the beginning of their careers this opportunity is a wonderful thing.”

An art installation projected onto a wall that has flashes of light and what appears to be the illuminated outline of a chair.

The theme for this year’s event is The Space Between Us and it invites artists to build bridges between cultures, communities, and the environment and to transform the city by sharing stories about their connections to place. It will explore shared experiences through Black, Indigenous, and Racialized communities globally and will amplify local voices in the international dialogue of art.  

Gordon said there will be a very strong Indigenous presence at Lakeshore as part of Nuit Blanche.  

She noted that Nuit Blanche’s artistic director Julie Nagam set the theme of the Etobicoke hub as “weaving” and that will be a prominent part of what’s happening at Lakeshore. She said the installations will showcase ancient Indigenous practices right up to modern interactive technology.
“We’re weaving together the past and the future,” said Gordon. “There are some very ancient methodologies being celebrated here along with cutting- edge, emerging technology.”

Nuit Blanche is exciting, she added, as it’s an early taste of what’s to come at Lakeshore with respect to the arts. She pointed to the Humber Cultural Hub, which is currently under construction at Lakeshore. It will have teaching and performing spaces – including a 500-seat performance hall, a 140-seat recital hall and professional-quality music, film, television, multimedia, and education facilities.  

“It’s very exciting to look at where Humber is going in its future with the arts,” said Gordon.

Tips to enjoy your Nuit Blanche experience at Lakeshore

Thinking about driving? Be aware road closures will be in effect and there will be limited parking in the area. Consider public transit as an option.

Dress appropriately for the weather. Comfortable shoes are also a must.

Food trucks will be on site for those looking for a snack.

Don’t forget to charge your phone as there will be plenty of Instagram-worthy moments.

For a list of the installation and projects at Lakeshore Campus, visit the Nuit Blanche website.