October 9, 2013 § 1 Comment
La Nuit Blanche is an annual all-night arts festival. It is the best excuse to mark a night out. Most of the museums and art galleries are open all through the night free for all public. There are various art installations, performances, social activities scheduled throughout the host city. Along with Paris (first Saturday of every October since 2002) , this event also takes place in the cities of Rome, Montreal, Toronto, Brussels, Madrid and Leeds. In Paris, public transport is accessible all along the night, which is a rare.
The first time I checked out this festival was last year but my experience was not the best, because I did absolute zero planning. That was unintelligent and, it rained! This year I started browsing the program long ago and took tips from various blogs for the must see exhibits. I made a concrete plan to navigate through Paris on this eventful night. And I had company of a few friends to enjoy La Nuit.
At 22h00 began my adventurous night at the terrace of Arab World Institute. This beautiful building, located on the left bank of Seine, houses the organization to promote and diffuse information about the Arab World. The view during the night was special, where one could see Notre Dame Cathedral as well as the Bastille Tower illuminated by the various La Nuit Blanche expositions. My photo can’t describe it at all. A friend remarked, “what our eyes see can’t be captured by any camera”.
The next stop was the fireworks show, by contemporary pyrotechnic artist Cai Guo-Qiang, on the banks of Seine, in front of Orsay Museum. When I reached the place along with loads of other people, there was not an inch left along the two bridges between which the show was about to happen. Still hopeful, I and my friends stayed until the show began but we couldn’t see the real thing except the huge amount of smoke that engulfed the Orsay Museum façade. That took the fun out of the show for me but my friends were excited. You can find a video worth a watch shared on Paris’ official page here.
It started getting a little cold which gave some of my friends a good excuse to leave. But one friend was as enthusiastic as me and so we charged towards our next destination in the famous Jewish quarter, Le Marais. At Library Forney, Elena Paroucheva, an electric art environmentalist, had put up a mini electricity tower transformed into an haute couture electric dress. It was magnificent, a dream so beautiful and well placed. I talked to Elena and she explained how her creative art transforms the ugly electricity/mobile towers into amazing artworks. She made me feel less bad about my profession which puts up such towers everywhere and ruins nature’s beauty. I can sleep with some peace now.
Nearby at Saint Paul Saint Louis Church was an artwork which impressed me the most. Dominique Lacloche is a visual artist who uses leaves of Gunnera from Amazon for his work. He hanged forty-six such leaves of various sizes from the church’s dome. Lying under these organic leaves, which oscillated tenderly with air, I could spend my whole Nuit Blanche under them. But of course there were many people like me who wanted the little space I was lying on. I came out of the church inspired to do something similar in my room.
It was almost 03h00 but I wasn’t tired yet, not unless I had seen the Fog Square at Place de la République. I and my friend took line 5 from Bastille to Jacues Bonsergert to our penultimate destination. That was the only disappointment of the night, the fog was all gone and what was left was wet floor and drunken people all over the square trying to mount the Lady Republic statue. But I guess, fog is the last thing that Parisians would miss, winter is coming!
The last stop was at Quai de Valmy for an orchestra pit installation at the Canal Saint-Martin. I was very tired but this artwork made me happy, very happy. Water jumping out from the sound device was funny. Sound devices, placed underwater, created an electronic music composition vibrating the surface of water. The acoustic waves invisible to human eyes, reflected as water waves, was awesome. I don’t have a good photo so I am borrowing this one from Paris’ official page on Facebook.
I reached home at 05h00. Seven hours of blissful Nuit Blanche. Content with my artful adventure, I slept well through Sunday morning.
“A work of art is above all an adventure in mind.” – Eugene Ionesco, one of the foremost playwright of Theatre of Absurd.