Sleepless in Toronto: a Look at 4 Lighting Installations at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2015

Nuit Blanche


For one sleepless night last month, Toronto buzzed with excitement for the 10th edition of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. This popular all-nighter celebrating contemporary art featured more than 110 projects created by 400 artists.

Since lighting installations are often a big part of these nighttime festivities, let’s take a peek at four light art projects that were featured during Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2015. 

Light Cave, by FriendsWithYou

Light Cave is undoubtedly one of the most imposing and bold installations at Nuit Blanche Toronto. Elephant-like in its form, this inflatable structure represents a symbol of light and connectivity. The art collective describes the 55 x 25 x 14 ft. semi-translucent inflatable is a living breathing piece of architecture, pulsating with energy and light, creating a sensory rich experience that unifies viewers under its canopy.

According to FriendsWithYou, the main goal was “to open a dialogue that is inclusive of all people under one Light Cave.”

Light Cave, photo (c)



Time of the Empress, by Aziz + Cucher

Time of the Empress was shown as amonumental projection on the façade of the OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) building on Bloor St. West.

The artists say that this work depicts “the structural outlines of modernist buildings in varying stages of construction and demolition. It signifies the fragile state of many structures, especially those built in the 1950s and 1960’, which are being dismantled across the globe in favour of contemporary buildings.”

This process can also be interpreted as a reflection of the unstable flow of our economy, the cycles of nature, and the many changes we experience in life.

PHOTO: Time of the Empress, photo (c) Aziz-Cucher

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Light upon Light! By Abdullah M. I. Syed

According to Toronto’s Nuit Blanche organizers, this sculptural installation consists of a glowing spherical moon comprising hundreds of prayer caps emanating light.

As a light sculpture, the installation addresses Islamic consciousness using signs of divine beauty (jamal) and majesty (jalal). It reflects a lifelong pursuit of the transient nature of beauty and perfection, presenting the viewer with a physical experience of a concept that is abstract in nature. These qualities are created as a halo, inviting viewers to both contemplate and be surrounded by the work, which is reflected in a pool of ocean-blue glass below. The suspended sculpture and the reflective glass on the floor are expressions of the balancing act and harmonious spiritual dualities of the Islamic concepts of beauty and majesty, in an era when Islam finds itself constantly drawn towards narrative extremes.”

PHOTO: Light upon Light! photo (c) Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto
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Lost Giants, by Heather Schibli

Lost Giants is a 70-metre projection of a white-silhouetted pine that illuminated the southern facade of the Art Deco Commerce Court North office tower in the Financial District.

Schibli explains, “Toronto was covered in oak savannahs and pineries. Historic records indicate that white pines reached 70m in height, whereas today’s mature pines stretch a mere 30m. By 1910, these giants were completely removed from our landscape, and thus from our collective psyche.”

The towering projection takes place in an area where white oaks once stood high and proud just a 150 years ago.

 PHOTO: Lost Giants, photo (c) Heather Schibli

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Adapted from an article by Monique Cousineau, Social Media Manager for Philips Lighting North America, posted on Philips’ Lighting Blog,








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