Nuit Blanche Takes Over SSMU Building

Nuit Blanche

McGill’s fifth annual “Nuit Blanche: Constellations” took place on Thursday night in the SSMU Building from 8pm to 12am. This showcase was presented by the Fine Arts Council (FAC), who were inspired by the worldwide, all night Nuit-Blanche festival that aims at bringing culture and art together.

The coordinators of the event were AUS VP Internal and newly elected AUS President Justin Fletcher, along with representatives of FAC to the AUS, Catherine Wilson and Vivian Gu.

The event was initially intended to be closer to Montreal’s actual Nuit Blanche, but due to logistical problems, the date was changed. Fletcher reflected on this adjustment. “While we may have missed out on some people because it is a holiday weekend, I think we also may have benefited from students not having class the next morning.”

The turnout was high, with 400 people showing up when only 250 were expected. This was most likely due to several improvements made by the planning committee, which was spurred by the declining attendance over the past two years.

One change included fusing the roles of FAC Commissioner and Nuit Blanche coordinator. Fletcher also described that the organization of the event was made simpler, yet more cohesive this year. He stated, “We decided to have fewer acts and make sure that each act had better attendance. I think this was successful and may explain the better participation within each of the rooms.”

Acts at the event ranged from the making of tape sculptures to an array of live performances. Each floor of the SSMU building had different activities for attendees.

Starting in the basement at Gert’s, the AUS collaborated with CKUT’s Thurdays {live} Live event to provide musical entertainment by showcasing local bands. Moving upstairs, the energy changed as acoustic performances and poetry readings, sponsored by VEG and STEPS magazines, filled the lobby.

On the second floor was the Fridge Door Art Gallery exhibit that featured student artists in the “Mise-en-abyme” vernissage. Next door, in the Lev Buckman room, was the “Tape Friends” live art production where participants constructed tape molds of their friends in various poses. At the end of the night, event coordinator Carlyn Hopkins strung the tape molds off of a frame to create one sculpture. Hopkins remarked that this encouraged participation. “I wanted to do something that got people involved in making art with one another.”

There was also a culinary aspect to the event with Justin Fletcher teaching attendees how to make latkes, and Keven Joyal-Desmarais making Sucre à la crème in Midnight Kitchen.

In the ballroom, many student groups showcased their unique acts, including performances by the a cappella groups Tonal Ecstasy, McSWAY, Chromatones, and Soulstice. Brown University’s Fusion Dance Company opened the show with a routine followed by a preview of The McGill Theatre Company’s West Side Story.

Overall, a key component for those executing Nuit Blanche was keeping the event free of charge. The central focus of the evening was the students and their art. Fletcher explained that “since McGill does not have a formal fine arts program, we want to create an opportunity for fine arts groups on campus to showcase their talents.”

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