Over the past five years, it’s become obvious to me that Nocturne is Halifax’s essential autumn event. In return, autumn helps us prepare for the winter ahead by dropping the temperature a few degrees and forcing everyone to re-learn how to dress in layers.
The weather just didn’t matter. Thousands of people (the number is still being counted as of this writing) took to the streets to see fun, unusual, or inexplicable experiences. The best thing about Nocturne, or any nuit blanche for that matter, is that everyone has a different night, and when you run into people you know (which happens a lot here, despite Canada’s immense size), you share tips and war stories, or make plans for a drink and catch up later. It’s a perfect night.
Here’s a sampler of my Nocturne 2012 experience. If you enjoy it, come visit us next October for Nocturne 2013! (Related: autumn is amazing in Nova Scotia, we’ll keep you busy for the whole month.)
Our night started at Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique & Letterpress Studio. This is a fun stop because you get to use a working letterpress to print a poster. This year, we got to print a replica of poster intended to bolster the city after is was devastated by the Halifax Explosion. The short version, it’s our “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
The next piece, Antic Art/Instar Variation was a theatre/performance piece featuring ants out looking for food.
We continued to encounter them throughout the night. At one point, a hungry ant made a play for a friend’s donair.
A favourite installation of mine was called “Neighbourhood Watch.” The bunnies had little eyes that glowed, and, presumably, saw everything.
Crowds were big, sometimes bigger than our sidewalks are used to accommodating. This dinner party/cocktail party gone wrong drew steady crowds as the drama unfolded.
There were crafters and artisans on hand, letting people help with their creations.
Dalhousie University computer science students put together a fun, interactive installation, where people could tweet pictures of themselves that would become the blocks on a Tetris game, where people used their whole bodies to move pieces of the puzzle around.
A large-scale spiderweb installation called “Capture” drew curious crowds wondering just how sticky it was. Very sticky.
The Halifax Public Gardens had a rare evening opening (an event unto itself) to celebrate the unveiling of the fountain celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
My last stop of the night was the Nova Scotia Archives, who featured “WANTED!! Thieves, forgers and murderers of the Victorian Age.” The exhibition was criminal apprehension posters from the 1860s to the 1890s that had been sent from police and detectives around North America and Europe. I loved the absurdly-detailed descriptions of the men and women at large.
Considering everything this guy had working against him, it’s remarkable he managed get away!
With that, my energy waning and a cold kicking in, I made my way home. It was another remarkable Nocturne for Halifax, and I’m already looking forward to 2013.
If you were there, how was your Nocturne?