Nuit Blance Toronto
Crystal is sincerely honoured to have worked with incredibly talented artists over our first fifty years. Our experience with public art expressions dates back to the 1967 Montreal Exposition. Since then, artistic collaborations have led us to work with a number of remarkable individuals, including Gerald Gladstone, Sasa Ulbricht, Doug Duff and Jaume Plensa. Crystal has also participated in the works of famous artists such as Mark di Suvero, Marco Balich and Idris Khan.
This year, Crystal had the opportunity to provide expertise and innovative product support to not one, but two distinguished artists contributing to Nuit Blanche Toronto: an annual city-wide celebration of contemporary art, running from sunset to sunrise, that transforms the streets of Toronto into an artistic playground. Since 2006, this award-winning event has featured nearly 1,300 art installations by approximately 4,600 artists, generating over $268 million in economic impact for Toronto. For 2016, Nathan Phillips Square was completely transformed by Floria Sigismondi’s main attraction, featuring a transcendent film projected onto water, and Zzilla’s Rainbow Serpent wowed guests at site #37 with a combination of augmented reality technology, water, light, and sound.
Floria Sigismondi, an Italian-Canadian artist and director of music videos for the likes of Rihanna and David Bowie, created a breathtaking installation that Crystal was fortunate enough to take part in bringing to life. As somewhat of a personal project, Sigismondi recalls that she “had been in the past more preoccupied with the body, so it was a natural progression to go to the spirit.” Pneuma is a short, mystical film, set to a Boards of Canada track, with flowing visuals projected on to a 33ft-high waterscreen fueled by Crystal’s company fire truck hidden off to the side. Taking into consideration the shallow depth of the pool, lighting, wind, and other environmental factors, the team was able to customize the installation to the specifications of Nathan Phillips Square, tying in a DMX network throughout the components. Over 30 of Crystal's lights with RBBACL technology were used to augment the video. The servo motor control throttle system also tapped into the firetruck, giving complete creative control over the entire installation directly from a macbook. The display is running nightly, along with Death of the Sun, until October 11th.
Zzilla is an Australian born artist and landscape architect who, having grown up along the coast of the Great Barrier Reef, has always derived inspiration from a deep appreciation for natural scenery and the power and wonder of mother earth. Motivated to spread awareness of environmental preservation through creativity and imagination, the Rainbow Serpent provides a captivating visual performance with a powerful message. With water voids to represent municipal water consumption, a Toronto skyline with water rushing over it to depict natural rainfall and changing seasons, and an orbiting image of our earth as it was first seen from space, the Rainbow Serpent experience instills in us a strong sense of duty to act as stewards of the planet. An underlying message of the exhibit lies in the fact that with the technological and scientific advances that we have made as a collective, we can continue to strive towards a brighter tomorrow for future generations. Crystal was fortunate enough to contribute to Zzila’s exhibit with some technology of our own; with the installation using 12 of Crystal’s brand new 2 foot linear RGBACL capable lights, 30 WaterVoids, a three speaker 1000 watt commercial grade audio system, a prototype Augmented Reality system deployed on IOS and Android platforms, and a 4k 3200 lumen projection system.
It was a truly rewarding experience to be involved in both of these projects and to help bring these talented artists’ visions to life. Nuit Blanche is altogether an incredible collaboration of art, fun, inspiration and true innovation, and the experience was well worth a night of no sleep!