Lori Victor receives the NBOG – Tontine award

:: Le français suit ::

Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau is proud to announce that it has partnered with Ottawa’s Tontine Award in order to support and honor a female artist and her project for this year’s “HYPE” festival.   This new initiative is in addition to two other micro-grants given yearly by the Tontine organization:

“The NBOG-Tontine award is a new initiative this year to support female artists in the region and we are excited to present Lori Victor as our first recipient. Lori Victor is consistently pushing herself to tell critical stories through her practice that question our cultural history, identity and our sense of respect within the environment. This is the fourth year she has produced engaging and important work for the Nuit Blanche program and it is an honour to work with Victor. “.  Dr. Megan Smith, Creative Director, Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau

Lori Victor is currently completing her MFA and contacted us from Vermont to accept the award:

“It is gratifying to be selected for the Tontine Award as it not only recognizes my effort as an artist but also because it reflects my work in terms of community. My art strives to make a statement and to create a dialogue regarding subject matter that affects us all.  By being selected by a group of like-minded women – the Tontine Committee – I feel together we are enriching our community through art.” Lori Victor, visual artist

The Tontine award, inspired by women in francophone Africa who support themselves, their families and each other through micro-finance cooperatives known as “tontines”, is similarly supporting art in our community, through women who also contribute through their artistic practice:

The Tontine Award members are delighted to be supporting Lori Victor with an award to contribute to Nuit Blanche 2015. The Tontine Awards create space for recognizing the specific talents of women artists in Ottawa-Gatineau, including how their voices contribute to the vibrancy of our community. Lori’s work pushes boundaries, challenges gender stereotypes and makes people stop and think about the world around them, and the people in it. We are eagerly anticipating her work for the forthcoming Nuit Blanche!Erin Leigh, Tontine Awards

Please join us in congratulating Lori Victor by stopping by to meet her and to see her project on the night of September 19th. Exhibiting with us for a fourth year, Lori is committed to her work and we promise you will not be disappointed with this year’s installment.

In the meantime, we invite you to visit the Tontine Awards website to learn more about this fantastic initiative in our community and the people who created it and support it:


And of course, don’t forget to visit the artist’s website to learn more about her artistic practice!


The Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau Team


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Photo courtesy of the artist and Patrick Mikhail Gallery.  Photo fournie par l'artiste elle-même et la Galerie Patrick Mikhail

Photo courtesy of the artist and Patrick Mikhail Gallery.
Photo fournie par l’artiste elle-même et la Galerie Patrick Mikhail

By: Simon Fuh

Based out of Ottawa, artist Cheryl Pagurek works across media, focusing mainly on photo and video-based art. Over the past two decades her work has been exhibited throughout Canada, including numerous artist-run-centres in Ottawa, Gatineau and Victoria, festivals such as Nuit Blanche Ottawa-Gatineau, Luminocity in Kamloops, and Art Souterrain in Montreal. In her own words her work “probes and disrupts our usual expectations of photography and video” and it manages to be diverse, entrancing, meticulous and ever-evolving.

Bodies of Water (2014) was selected for Nuit Blanche Ottawa-Gatineau’s curated section of the festival and engaged audience members visually through a large light box-like projection and audibly through large speakers that rested beneath, undulating sound throughout the area. The projection combined the “fluidity of gestural life drawing with urban reflections in water”, linking our human narrative of journey with the colour, energy, permanence and ephemerality of moving water. It was a fan favourite and was also presented at Luminocity.

Cheryl’s current project is an interactive video and audio installation that uses 3D depth sensing technology, encouraging us to contemplate our daily connections in the context of a widely digitized and networked world. The piece, though still in production, can be viewed at her website www.cherylpagurek.com and looks to be intimate, challenging and beautiful. This project is a leap into the world of new media for Pagurek and could be the start of something new and exciting in the artist’s career. “This is all very new to me so far” she said in a recent interview, “part of the practice is about discovering what can be done, which with digital media of course is always more… Each new project I try to challenge myself in some way. I’ll have an idea, try new things, and let the artwork guide me.” Artengine technologists Ray Gould and Jean-Claude Batista will be working on the project with Pagurek over the coming months, aiding with the sound design and software development respectively.

Pagurek’s practice has evolved materially and spatially over the years, moving from mainly artist run centres to now public spaces. “When you go into a gallery you’ve made a choice to go in” she notes, “but with public art it’s definitely a different way of thinking. It’s very rewarding to be able to affect people that don’t have a specialized education in art and can pause for a moment and have an experience”. Pagurek has participated in a number of festivals and one public video-art commission. It’s likely that we’ll see a publicly successful and exciting final product out of this new interactive artwork.

From her sculptural and installation work of the early 1990’s to photography to video to new media, Pagurek is unafraid of technological change and seems to flourish in the new possibilities that digital media created for artists. While the technical characteristics of her work have changed, her aesthetic voice has remained curious, caring and bold. In terms of the excitement that new media can bring Pagurek says: “I think the changes are great, but with any new technology one has to be aware of how it alters behaviour. As a gallery goer, what appeals to me are projects wherein the technology serves the artwork and not just technology for the sake of technology.”

Make sure to visit Cheryl Pagurek’s website and check out more of her work.

Simon Fuh is working on a BFA within the Department of Visual Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina.

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A post by Kolby Kostyniuk: Alejandra Vera and Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau 2013

Vera picture

By: Kolby Kostyniuk

For the viewer that takes out their phone to snap a pic, it’s unlikely that at the 2013 Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau (NBOG) they weren’t lit up by the giant lamp on William St. between York and George. Standing in the dark street, Alejandra Vera’s Nightlight was a highlight at the 2013 NBOG (pun intended). The alien object required the participation of wandering viewers, inviting them to take part in the art making process. In this case, using flash photography to activate the illumination of the lamp; adding light and energy to the sleepless night.

As an emerging Ottawa based artist, NBOG was a space for Vera’s to bring together her interest in community and her practise. Vera says, “I think festivals like Nuit Blanche are excellent for both artists and the community. It fosters space for people to learn about contemporary art, and for the artists to explore working on something ephemeral and hopefully outside their regular practice.” Born in Ecuador, Alejandra Vera travelled to Canada to receive her BFA from NSCAD University in painting and sculpture, and now her work mostly fluctuates between painting, sculpture and installation. However, Vera is more interested in the way ideas shift between media and types of art, and currently doesn’t find herself attached to any particular medium. Unbound, her focus is the holistic relationship between the medium, space, and viewer. Vera says, “I like exploring the preconceived ideas viewers bring to the works when they think about painting or sculpture; in other words I am interested in the space between what you see and what your mind knows.”

Driven by its participatory nature, Nightlight is exemplary in displaying Vera’s conscious consideration of the gap between what you see and know, relating shape and scale, location, material, and predicted behaviour based on popular culture. Interested in the materials and forms related to our urban environment, Nightlight was inspired by the reflective paper used in road signs. This reflective paper was something that caught Vera’s attention right away when walking the streets at night, but it seems more importantly Vera was “interested in creating an experience mediated by technology that would reflect on our everyday life and behaviours.”

Typically involved in gallery installation and display, Vera took to creating Nightlight for the public space with aptitude. Concerned with really knowing the space she works with, Vera enjoys the process of working outdoors or in public spaces. She says, “it requires that I take everything into consideration: the audience, the characteristics of the exact location, and the connection the work has to that time and place.” In the gallery, there can be more control over the space, and your audience is typically more directly engaged. When creating for public or outdoor spaces, it was important for Vera to understand the movement of the viewer, the dynamics of the environment, and the changing light in the space. In organizing her piece, Vera had to communicate with local business owners; getting them to turn off their lights and signs for a night. When setting up outdoors, the few complications were manageable; Vera had freedom to take control of the piece and space, and the festival was open to the process and change that naturally comes with developing such contemporary work. Participating in a pop-up festival like NBOG, and working with something ephemeral and somewhat outside her regular practise was an invaluable experience.

Make sure to visit Alejandra Vera’s website and check out more of her work.

Kolby Kostyniuk is working on a BFA within the Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina.

Category Writing

HYPE and Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau

By: Lydia Miliokas

This year’s festival theme calls on artists to creatively refigure the HYPE space. The very mention of the word hype stirs up a myriad of connotations and contradictions, from positive to negative notions of individual and collective anticipation, frenzy, exaggeration, illusion and, perhaps inevitably, disillusionment. As the festival’s creative team suggest in their curatorial statement, we only have to consider the theory of Gartner Inc.’s “hype cycle” to know that hype simultaneously functions as both a state and a process: a highly abstract concept made physically tangible through the outcomes of its performance. Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau 2015 challenges cultural producers to embrace the night and follow this hype to new sites of experimentation, where artists might freely exchange, evolve, edit and alter ideas to reveal innovative and exciting new potentials in their work.

For the artists, HYPE captures the energy of this one-night event and enables them to play within a more open network. Thematically, hype also speaks to the significance of the audience in the production of meaning-making. To understand hype is inherently a sensory experience, one that grows and multiplies in the liminal spaces of the temporary urban art festival. In his essay “The Tourist Affect: Escape and Syncresis on the Las Vegas Strip,” Dr. Rob Shields describes the immaterial quality of such affects as fluid and mobile, explaining that it “accomplishes a socialization of time and space at the same time as the social is spatialized. Affect brings space into the realm of the social in the sense of microgeography of territories and assembled interfacing bodies and objects” (Shields 121). In this way, hype is ever present, in a very material sense, as it informs the artwork displayed and, in a virtual sense, as the psychological threshold for audiences that anxiously wait for the night to begin.

HYPE is experienced by creators and viewers. Although it is true that this experience can be deeply personal and individual, the function of hype as a verb is one that implies sensationalism, publicity, and exposure. The feeling of hype rises and falls, waxing and waning as larger and larger crowds assemble and dissipate to engage with the work and each other in reimagined spaces. It is for this reason that HYPE implies the very social act central to festivals, in which people from all kinds of groups, neighbourhoods, and communities might come together to share not only in the experience, but to enhance its meaning and the meaning of the spaces that surround and contain it.

Works Cited:

Shields, Robert. “The Tourist Affect: Escape and Syncresis on the Las Vegas Strip.” Ecologies of Affect: Placing Nostalgia, Desire, and Hope. Ed. Tonya K. Davidson, Ondine Park, and Rob Shields. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press, 2011. 105 – 126. Print.

Lydia Miliokas is a MA Interdisciplinary Studies student, within the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina.

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Op – Ed – NBOG thanks you!! 21 September 2014

To the committed audiences and artists who braved the rain last weekend, thank you for coming out to celebrate Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau (NBOG) with us. To the 280 artists who put on 80 projects throughout the night, and the businesses and galleries in the ByWard Market, Arts Court, downtown Gatineau, and Wellington West who opened their doors to the thousands of revelers of all ages who took part in the evening, thank you. This free event is a success because of the generous support we receive from these hosts and hubs.

In his article, Peter Simpson has some valid points for improvement. We have seen these and a few others echoed in statements and in online postings from others involved in the event. Some of these arise from experiments made by a growing organization, many others however from trying to work a complex event in a system not designed to host it.

We are working with other Nuit Blanche organizations in the country (of which there are many) to address the funding policy structures in Canada that do not support the nature of the event that we run. Today, this event is run by volunteer staff, board, and artists. In time, we aim to not only compensate artists for their creative work at NBOG, but to help fund the creation of new work. Unfortunately, this is not the reality of our current budget, and with the lack of private and public funds available to us, it will likely be the case until corporate sponsors become committed to our program and funders at all levels are able to support these types of events.

Our theme this year was Bypass. We use annual themes as an integral part of our mission for growth. We are not only developing a spectacle event, but are trying to create a valuable contribution to cultural dialogue and programming in the region. Many artists responded to the theme with poignant, profound and playful installations.

In three years we have grown. We have built a tremendous network of NBOG artists; we have shaped a night of cultural presentation where art lovers and those who want to dip their toes into culture can enjoy a safe place to take that leap. We have built bridges between communities and given creative individuals a platform to test new ideas and to succeed.


This event is run by volunteers made up of passionate individuals who see the value of cultural growth tied hand-in-hand with economic growth. With an extremely modest budget and a dedicated team, we are creating unique opportunities for the public to discover and artists to experiment.

Our operational plans evolve as we learn how to navigate and produce our event within a complex space, where the curb is run by the City, the courtyard by the NCC, the walls by a property management group and the sidewalk by a business association. While it is a challenge navigating through the various levels of approvals, we thank all those offices who were open to our creative ideas even when we told them that we wanted to close streets to bring in steamrollers to do monster printmaking, build domes, project onto walls and do all this in the middle of the night and disappear without a trace by sunrise.


NBOG is made possible through partnerships with local business, arts groups and business associations. Through their willingness to open their doors and minds to this event, we are able to do things for one night that were previously not done in the city. As we begin planning NBOG 2015 we welcome more businesses, arts groups and sponsors to join us with their creative ideas so that we can work together to build our dusk-until-dawn celebration of multidisciplinary arts and culture in the National Capital Region.

We believe that this event has been, and will continue to be, a shining success for the region. Each accomplishment paves a path for positive growth, one that we are dedicated to forging. While the Byward Market, Downtown Rideau and Arts Court certainly saw a record number of audiences, things were by no means quiet in Gatineau or Wellington West. We are proud of the projects in both these regions and look forward to developing further relationships and programming in these zones. Part of our mission at NBOG is to promote the region and build community. We saw a significant increase in the number of people who took the free NBOG shuttle service to Gatineau this year. This is a huge accomplishment to us.

Large scale events like NBOG are produced and developed in a vortex of factors, which get a little easier to work within every year. We welcome the entire community, with all its support and criticism, to join us in helping to build the NBOG into a robust, multi-disciplinary, cross neighborhood, bi-province event it continues to be.

Dr. Megan Leigh Smith, Creative Director & Curator
Ariane Nazroo, Managing Director
Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau


Megan Smith (left), Creative Director, Mayor Jim Watson (centre) and Ariane Nazroo (right) Managing Director, at the NBOG 2014 Launch Party
Megan Smith (left), Creative Director, Mayor Jim Watson (centre) and Ariane Nazroo (right) Managing Director, at the NBOG 2014 Launch Party
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The Birth and Death of Stars by Sanjeev Sivarulrasa


For Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau, Sanjeev Sivarulrasa will be showing his installation of six long-exposure astro-photographic works printed on aluminum. These images will depict star-birth and star-death regions of the night sky.

The images are from Sivarulrasa’s visits to Eastern Ontario. As he describes leaving the city: “For me, the pristine night sky is a meditative space that engages the senses and the mind. In cities, the night sky appears bland and almost featureless – most people don’t even bother to look up. That’s the reality of living under light pollution. By driving an hour or more away from the city lights of Ottawa, I get to see a panorama of stars from horizon to horizon, which invites observation and awareness.”

In his works, Sivalrurasa is interested in the subjective experience rather than the presumed objective reality. His tools are a telescope, lenses, oculars and a digital camera, but he captures his images over several hours, or sometimes even several nights, and then combines the images digitally in his studio to create the final composite work.

For Nuit Blanche on September 21st, his works will be on display at the Fritzi Gallery on Wellington Street.

– Lee Jones

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Neon Forestation by O-Town Bombers

nbogpoppinAt night, nothing is more ignored than trees. For Nuit Blanche Ottawa-Gatineau, O-Town Bombers are going to change all that by bringing trees out of the shadows. For this project the group will be covering 18 trees with neon crochet. Using neon colours and glowing wire woven into the fabric, the team will light up the night forest from Sussex to the Clarendon Courtyard.

The O-Town Bombers group began with last years Nuit Blanche when artist Justy Dennis wanted to cover a bus in crochet. The group has since grown to over 22 members who all seek to liven up the city while also giving back. The yarn used for each installation doesn’t go to waste. As Dennis states, “With each torn down installation, blankets are made and distributed to High Jinx, a local business that provides social assistance to the vulnerable in our community.”

– Lee Jones

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“Self-Reflection” by Luminartists


Technology is often characterized as cold and lonely, but when done right the thing we see as so un-human can actually have the opposite effect. In his work the artist Anthony Scavarelli, who completed his masters in Human-Computer Interaction at Carleton University, uses technology to explore human emotional response and attachment.

For Nuit Blanche Ottawa and Gatineau, an all night event on September 21st, Scavarelli will be presenting “Self-Reflection”. The work is an experiment in affective touch, which is touch that elicits an emotional reaction or connection. In the installation audience members will touch a structure covered in soft fabric. The silhouette of a small child will react to the viewer with happiness, anger, sadness or indifference depending on how they touch the artwork.

“I have always been fascinated by the concept of an inner or forgotten child,” said Scavarelli. “When we were children we had so many dreams, and into adulthood we have either done that child proud, forgotten them, or possibly failed them. By allowing a simple method for us to interact with this child in a more literal sense, I hope to build an emotional connection between the child silhouette and the viewer.”

Scavarelli views this work as an experiment in self-discovery. As he questions, “Does the audience’s interaction with the child silhouette possibly become a reflection of how they view themselves?”

The structure will be made with some help from Henri Kuschkowitz, who with Scavarelli forms the artistic group, the Luminartists. The group is known for developing interactive installations in public spaces that aim to visualize messages, but also draw the audience to become part of the experience. Scavarelli has a history of impressive installations throughout Ottawa (with one even going up at Art & Science Journal’s summer residence – Invest Ottawa), so “Self-Reflections” will no doubt be an exciting addition to the Nuit Blanche lineup.

– Lee Jones

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99 Red Beacons by Britta Evans-Fenton

99 Red Beacons pictureToday’s widespread use of the Internet and evolving forms of digital and social media has allowed us to be constantly plugged into our various communicative devices. This dependence on the web has essentially blurred the lines between the individual and the collective. As our devices allow us to become digital beacons, we shed our anonymity and remain in constant contact with the world around us.

Where would we be without the Internet?

With many of these issues in mind, Ottawa-based artist Britta Evans-Fenton (who we have featured on our blog before) has proposed an installation/performance piece that highlights the ubiquity of digital communication and sheds light on the unusual history of the Internet. The installation will be part of this year’s installment of Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau.

Britta’s inspiration for this project comes from the German Cold War protest song, “99 Luftballons” by Nena. As Britta discovered in her research, the technology that has developed into the World Wide Web was originally developed through Cold War military funding. The song references the military’s influence over lines of communication and comments on the paranoia and hysteria associated with war.

99 Red Beacons is a roaming installation featuring 99 blinking red balloons. Volunteers will carry the balloons around the city as they emit anonymous Morse code messages written by members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The physical presence of the balloons, gliding in the air, is likened to the image of the millions of messages that “float” through the air as they travel between phones, computers, tablets, and e-readers. In this sense, the balloons serve as a reminder of the prevalence of digital messaging, while the messages written by Canadian soldiers refer to the Internet’s origins as a military-funded form of communication.

Look for 99 Red Beacons on September 21, 2013 during Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau!

– Victoria Nolte

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Firefly by Lumipendant



Engineers have attempted to recreate animals through man-made objects for years, whether as bird-like flying machines or fly-sized surveillance camera’s (that also fly!). What about an exact replication of an animal? What if someone was to build a device mimicking a life form in shape and concept, its sole purpose being humans taking care of it to keep it alive, and not manipulating it for their own benefit? The artist’s collective Lumipendant, comprised of Mark StephensonMichael Grant and Darcy White, have created just a device like that for this year’s Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau! ‘Firefly’ is an Arduino-activated, firefly-shaped pendant in which participants during the festival, carry it around, allowing the device to respond to its surroundings.

Lights indicate when the bug is sick, and it is up to the participants to find ‘hot spots’ where they can share data to keep their little friend alive.

This social game not only engages participants with each other and new media practices, but with their own self-expression, as each firefly will project a unique pattern and light sequence, according to the level of nurturing they receive from their caregivers.

Like in biology, the survival of living things, in this case a firefly, depends on its environment and the amount of energy it receives from its nutrients. With Lumipendant’s ‘Firefly’, the muscles and veins are exchanged for circuit boards; the energy, a signal.

The fireflies will be ready for ‘adoption’ September 21st, 2013 during Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau, so come down to the ByWard Market, and get ready to join in the art celebration!

Anna Paluch

(Source: artandsciencejournal.com)

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