[-empyre-] NIGHTSENSE

Ashley Ferro-Murray aferromurray at berkeley.edu
Wed Apr 4 02:30:41 EST 2012

Hi Jim and Jennifer,

Looking forward to hearing more on your experience curating NIGHTSENSE. I
was lucky enough to encounter this project via your presentation at
Performance Studies International conference a few years back and I
remember images of large scale art installations covering the public city
spaces of Toronto. Some projects take place outside while others take place
inside of landmark buildings around Toronto, is this right?

I am interested in the question you closed with about mass subjectivity and
I wonder if we want to extend that question to also consider an
intersubjective relationship that might arise out of such participatory
events. I remember from your images of the events a good deal of
participation between artists and viewers, and between viewers themselves.
At this point, are there certain people who are excluded from the city when
such large art events bring thousands of people to the downtown area? If
so, I wonder what kind of privilege the subjectivities that are created
carry to the artworks. In other words, I wonder whose "public" or maybe
counter-public we expect when thinking in terms of large scale and public
curatorial and installation projects. In thinking about this can we use
these mass art events to curate counter-movements - literally the movement
of people between city buildings for purposes other than their ordinary use
- in a city and include those who are often left out of the ordinary city
space in one way or another?


On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 6:12 PM, Renate Ferro <rtf9 at cornell.edu> wrote:

> Dear Jim and Jennifer,
> Thanks so much for giving our readers and subscribers the url to
> NIGHTSENSE on the displaycult website
> http://www.displaycult.com/exhibitions/NIGHTSENSE.html
> Your post brings up so many issues that I want to ask you about but I
> think I'll just begin with two basic ones.  Many of our international
> subscribers may not know the Toronto Nuitblanche is.  Can you give us
> a bit more information? ( How did you come to curate the event? Who
> funds these spectacular projects? Is there an all call for artist
> participants or do you mine them from your own networks? Who in the
> world orchestrates the masses of people?  Given the duration I figure
> that is more of a arts festival? Do you think that NIghtsense is
> Toronto specific? Could it migrate to another location or would that
> be impossible? )  Well too many questions but if each of you could
> take a few of these and tell empyre more about the event then perhaps
> we can wrap our heads around the statement I pulled off the
> DisplayCult website.
> "DisplayCult is a curatorial collaborative that aims to rethink
> exhibition prototypes by amplifying sensory aesthetics, interrogating
> the diverse histories of display, and engaging with the performative
> aspects of presentation."
> Looking forward to hearing more about Nightsense and how do you
> characterize the word "curating" in your own practices.  Thanks so
> much.  Renate
> On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM, Jim Drobnick <displaycult at sympatico.ca>
> wrote:
> > Dear Renate and Tim,
> >
> > Thanks for inviting us to participate in this month’s series of
> > conversations.
> >
> > To start one thread, we thought we would begin with a relatively recent
> > project of ours, NIGHTSENSE, that formed part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche
> in
> > 2009. We are revisiting this project at this time because we are editing
> a
> > special issue of Public magazine on the topic of “Art and Civic
> Spectacle.”
> >
> > NIGHTSENSE featured visual and extra-visual artworks within the shadowy
> > world of Toronto’s financial district. Addressing the spectre of market
> > destabilization, the invisible transmission of broadcast signals, as
> well as
> > hauntings from a locale where early Toronto history has been all but
> erased,
> > these projects to engaged the audience in both critical and ludic
> > participation. NIGHTSENSE invited a reconsideration of the normal sensory
> > economy by intensifying the subtle but powerful links between bodies,
> > aesthetic perception and shifts in capital. (Images can be found
> > at http://www.displaycult.com/exhibitions/NIGHTSENSE.html)
> >
> > The overall context in which NIGHTSENSE appeared was Nuit Blanche, which
> we
> > hope list members have experienced or read about. These events last all
> > night long in a number of cities worldwide, and typically involve
> thousands
> > of visitors (1,000,000 or so in Toronto for each of the past couple of
> > years). Artists produce large-scale performances and interventions that
> > engage, critique and reconceptualize the urban context.
> >
> > Our issue of Public will address ­­­­the dynamics and significance of
> these
> > popular mass events. How do the monumental artworks of city-wide
> exhibitions
> > relate to the diverse histories of spectacle? What are the opportunities
> and
> > challenges of such events? When audience levels reach into the hundreds
> of
> > thousands, what issues are raised about spectatorship and participation?
> > What impact can curating have on mass subjectivities?
> >
> > We’re interested in starting a discussion based on these questions, and
> any
> > others that may arise from the list. We look forward to hearing your
> > thoughts.
> >
> > All the best,
> > Jennifer and Jim
> >
> > Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher
> > DisplayCult
> > www.displaycult.com
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> --
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
> Cornell University
> Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
> Ithaca, NY  14853
> Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
> URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
>       http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
> Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net
> Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu/
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empyre
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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Ashley Ferro-Murray
PhD Student
Dept. Theater, Dance & Performance Studies
University of California, Berkeley
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