Nocturne 2012: Halifax hits the town for art at night

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.”

Halifax Nocturne 2012 Inkwell

Halifax Nocturne 2012 Inkwell

The next piece, Antic Art/Instar Variation was a theatre/performance piece featuring ants out looking for food.

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

We continued to encounter them throughout the night. At one point, a hungry ant made a play for a friend’s donair.

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia was open late, so we got to revisit the folk art exhibition I enjoyed back in the summer. Look who dropped by!

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

A favourite installation of mine was called “Neighbourhood Watch.” The bunnies had little eyes that glowed, and, presumably, saw everything.

Nocturne 2012 Halifax Nova Scotia

Robots Nocturne 2012 Halifax

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.

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

There were crafters and artisans on hand, letting people help with their creations.

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

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.

Tweetris Nocturne 2012 Halifax

A large-scale spiderweb installation called “Capture” drew curious crowds wondering just how sticky it was. Very sticky.

Nocturne 2012 Halifax

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.

Public Gardens Nocturne 2012 Halifax

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!

Public Archives Nocturne 2012 Halifax

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? 



  1. Great recap. I was there and had a great time! I wish I could have seen the dinner party performance and made it over to Inkwell but time got away with me. The HALIFAX posters are great! I completely agree that Nocturne is a must-see Fall event and that layers are a must. Feel free to check out my blog if you want to see which exhibits I saw.

  2. Thanks for this, Krista! I loved seeing Nocturne through other people’s eyes this year, since I wasn’t able to make it out myself.


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