Aura, the exhibit submitted to Nuit Blanche by a group of Ryerson architectural science students. PHOTO: Marissa Dederer

Rye takes on Nuit Blanche

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By Tara Deschamps

Come Saturday, Ryerson will be awash with colour as the university lights up the night with a series of art exhibits for this year’s Nuit Blanche festival.

This will be the sixth year the school is taking part in Scotiabank’s annual sunset-to-sunrise event that features contemporary art installations located across Toronto.

Ryerson’s exhibitions have become more organized and sophisticated since the school first got involved with Nuit Blanche in 2007, said Shirley Lewchuk, the director of outreach and communications for Ryerson’s Faculty of Communications and Design.

“The first year was very last minute,” she said. “It was hard to coordinate because the exhibits were both on and off campus.” But this year, all of Ryerson’s exhibits will be on campus. The Image Arts Centre will show a compilation of video confessionals from Nuit Blanche participants and other technology and art experts. In the same building, the gallery will exhibit works created by eight renowned Canadian artists in response to the Black Star collection of photojournalistic images.

Steps away, at Gould and Church streets, Light Seeds – a project by physics and engineering students will allow pedestrians to control luminous projections on the bridge above them connecting Kerr Hall and the Rogers Communications Centre.

The alleyway west of Ryerson’s Student Campus Centre will also be alight with a showcase called Aura.

The exhibit, organized by the school of architectural science, will feature large panels of backlit caps. Behind each cap, a series of syringes, lighting configurations and electrical units will control the installation so that when someone presses one cap, another lights up and pops out.

Antonio Cunha, a graduate of the school’s architectural program and one of the installation’s artists, said the project is “about being able to manipulate the environment and inspire interaction between people who might be standing beside each other pressing the caps.” Since the idea for the project was developed last October, Aura advisor Vincent Hui said students have become “an armada” as they work to test prototypes and design elements of the installation.

“The fourth-year students designed it but once the project was accepted [by Nuit Blanche organizers], students from first to fourth year started to help out and get more involved with it,” said Hui.

Cunha hopes the team’s exhibit becomes a sign of the school’s advanced technical and design abilities.

“We want to show that we have the technical skills to make projects like this happen,” said Cunha.

“We’re looking to put architectural science and Ryerson on the map as a cutting-edge campus that knows [its] stuff.”

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