October 2, 2011
I ventured out into Brooklyn last night for the annual Nuit Blanche (“White Night”) NYC festival of light. Started last year in New York, the festival occurs on the same night as others in (mostly European) cities around the world, and brings together artists of all different flavors to light up the night in the industrial waterfront of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This year’s turnout of artists and installations, unfortunately, wasn’t as strong as last year‘s (most likely due to rain early in the night), however, the attendance was just as enthusiastic.
What is great about this festival is its timing. Falling on the first day of October on the first chilly night of the season, it is the essence of Fall in New York City. The shadowy, mysterious atmosphere at the festival also serves as a great introduction to the Halloween season — wide-eyed kids run around with glow sticks in hand, the first hints of costumes start to appear, leaves crunch underfoot, and everything around you is just a little bit off.
As far as the installations went, there were a few eye-popping installations (pun intended) to be seen, however, there were also a lot of repeat performances from last year. My favorite (aside from the water tower eyeball that constantly monitored the entire festival) was a video installation at a playground swing set, where multicolored representations of the kids on the swings were projected onto the wall in front of them.
There were a few others I enjoyed that I thought made good use of light, materials, and environment; however, there were some installations that mimicked ones from last year, and a few that really weren’t as apparently creative with their tools or environment as they could have been. Nevertheless, the festival was a fun way to spend a chilly Saturday night, and the comments I overheard from other visitors were both complementary and enthusiastic. It got me thinking, though, that maybe some professional lighting designers should enter into the mix next year. The results could be really fun to see!
See below for more photos, or click here to see my video from last year’s festival. Happy Fall!