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‘Tweet’ blanche: Social media plays huge role in all-night art fest

Call it Tweet Blanche: social media is expected to play a major role in this year’s Nuit Blanche, a free all-night art festival that takes over Toronto from sundown Saturday to sunrise Sunday.

While festival-goers have long posted their best photos to Facebook, mapped their favourite installations on FourSquare and met up with friends across the city using Twitter, this year, social media will be integrated into several of the festival’s 158 installations.

In Critical Race, artists Julian Higuerey Nunez (@performingspace) and Henry Adam Svec (@performingtime) will compete to see every project in Nuit Blanche – and they’ll be tweeting every step of the way.

In the most simplistic terms, Svec proposes that everything is performance art, a viewpoint that Nunez doesn’t share. The winner of Saturday night’s will, essentially, win the argument.

“Those are the stakes. They’re pretty high,” Svec laughed.

The race “is based on ideas of performance art that have been circulating since the ‘60s, like the idea of the extended theatre,” Nunez said.

It’s also about Nuit Blanche: Nunez said that the event engages viewers through individual exhibits but is rarely considered as a whole.

Their exhibit hopes to fill that void by critiquing other installations. The two will put on uniforms and set off – Nunez using a bike, Svec on foot and the TTC – from their exhibit and have given themselves precisely four minutes to see and critique each of the remaining works.

Their Tweets can be tracked online using the hashtag #racingforeverything and on an enormous split screen at the main site. By the end of the night, they’ll return to where they started.

“The last piece we critique will be our own,” Svec said.

Another artist using social media as part of his performance is Andrew Gunadie. In Like/Comment/Subscribe, Gunadie , known on YouTube as gunnarolla, and cohost musician Andrew Bravener will show hidden gems from the video hosting site.

“We’ll be screening a selection of clips that we’ve curated,” Gunadie told CityNews.

“Our goal with this show wasn’t to make the big videos bigger. We went into the community to find those hidden gems: rants, confessions, recuts, mashups lip-syncs & even that ‘weird’ part of YouTube.”

Gunadie is best known for his viral hit Canadian, Please!, which he’ll be performing twice over the course of the night.

The show will highlight independent content every hour on the hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  (after 1 a.m., it’s adults-only, Gunadie cautions) and musical guests will be featured each hour.

The show is heavy on audience participation, including sing-alongs. Follow the installation using the Twitter hashtag #YTTO.

In Outsiders2012, a group of five artists have created 25 life-sized paper-mache people that will be placed around the city. Those attending Nuit Blanche are encouraged to take one of the sculptures with them around the city, then leave them for someone else to find.

Ramune Luminaire, Judith Mason, Kim Renders, micky renders and Anne Renouf are encouraging those attending to post their photos to Twitter and Facebook.

“If you find me, take me with you, take a photo, pass me on,” the group writes.

Even CityNews is taking part in the social trend. One of the paper-mache sculptures made its way to the newsroom (see the photo above) and a version of CityNews Channel’s enhanced screen will be a part of a city hall exhibit created by author and artist Douglas Coupland.

The Museum of the Rapture will take place in an underground parking lot and will depict three separate environments – an office, a classroom and a living room on Christmas morning – just after the end of the world.

The seventh-annual Nuit Blanche includes 158 art projects created by more than 500 local, national and international artists.  Click here to see what else is on offer.

Rogers TV will be live streaming the two Nuit Blanche events in council chambers on their website.  Click here to watch.

Follow Nuit Blanche on Twitter