Bring to Light: Nuit Blanche

2019 isn’t that far away, and despite the fact that there are no robots to run my errands and later evolve to be smarter than me, New York was finally looking like the world of Blade Runner last night. The event was Nuit Blanche, an all night art happening that took place around the world, and New York’s edition, Bring to Light, took over a section of the Greenpoint waterfront in Brooklyn.

After meeting up with my friend Julie for insanely well-mixed drinks at the Manhattan Inn, we found the central light location. Someone was reading slam poetry below poetic projections on the bricks. Coincidentally, earlier in the week I had gone to the Tuesday night poetry slam at Bowery Poetry Club for the first time. What is the universe trying to tell me? If it wants me to be a slam poet, it is out of luck, and I think we are all better off that way.

One of the creepier, and therefore more awesome, installations was this blinking eye projected on the bottom of a water tower by Marcos Zotes Lopez. Mind-bending horror!

Inside a playground, there were some cool pieces like the above light pyramids by Jason Peters. (I like it even more with the one that appears to have fallen to the ground, intentional or not. I like clumsy things.)

Organelle Design with Elliott+Goodman created this sort of creepy light balloon thing called Heavy Breathing that pulsed and had a little universe of lights under its skin. I say “sort of creepy,” because after eye watertower you just can’t compete in that category.

Alyssa Taylor Wendt had this piece called Nomadic Alchemy inspired by hobo chalk markings and old alchemy symbols.

In Asalto by Daniel Canogar, people climbing on a green screen were projected on the side of a warehouse in a big, manic climbing mob.

Devan Harlan collaborated with street art knitter Olek on this bike sculpture, where some of her previous knit patterns were projected on the fabric-covered cycle.

Down near the water the Ugly Art Room had set up a “Peep Show” where you could flip through 3D viewfinders of art. I noticed that my friend Ian Addison Hall‘s work was included (hey, blog reader!), and he also happened at the festival. Actually, I have a feeling and know that many friends and acquaintances were also there, but it was impossible to find people standing in the dark even right beside you. At some point autumn decided to show up, this being the first of October, and brought a chilling wind and rain with it, making it even more like we were in a strange film noir set.

My favorite installations were in a warehouse down an almost secret alleyway by the water. Psaltery by Eli Keszler transformed one of the insanely high-ceilinged rooms into an instrument with an extensive network of piano wire and motorized beaters. It made a heavy, eerie sound, perfect for the space and rainy night.

In the next room of the warehouse was the stunning The Company by Ellis & Cuius. The arch of exposed light bulbs responded in patterns to the performers beneath it, including a singer with an acoustic guitar and a performance piece with electronic music, a rolling chair, and face paint.

That mysterious misting installation shown at the beginning of this post was Light Cloud on a Bender by Raphaele Shirley, definitely a striking image right before the water and the lights of Manhattan. Unfortunately, unlike the Nuit Blanches elsewhere, this one did not go all night, ending at midnight instead. Then again, it was quite cold, and I didn’t mind disappearing back into the bright shelter of the subway.

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