I molested approximately six hours of my life at last year’s Fascist Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Canada. Fascist Nuit Blanche is the city’s self-proclaimed “all-night contemporary art thing.” While the city managed to squeeze several marvelous exhibits out of its Totalitarian stranglehold on the night, most notably the work of D. A. Therrien, the artwork largely remained gasping, grasping, or militantly handicapped. Most of my energy was spent acutely aware of Fascist Nuit Blanche’s staggering shortfalls, and its ever-looming curse of infertility.
(Photo by: Eugene Grishko)
Two things that don’t mix particularly well are The Arts and police forces; Fascist Nuit Blanche miserably makes a futile attempt to defy this law of nature. While I struggled to maintain the free, borderless, idyllic spirit that all we Creative Geniuses share, I was overwhelmed by the ominous presence of ‘authroity figures,’ ‘rule makers’ and the spiritually inept. Policemen, squad vehicles, and security guards stood in the middle of exhibits, directing the public and I, partially blocking walkways while looking at me very aggressively. Would these Gestapos of The Soul not see a problem with Judi Dench sports-casting the Super Bowl? Or… Steven Hawking writing episodes of ‘Conan’? Or… a creature named Satan guarding the gates to Christian “Heaven”? These policemen are ogres, senseless villains, and dumb reapers, paid to patrol in prevention of The Revolution. One even went so far as to verbally assault me for my facial hair style. (I hid from sight, and lay a quick curse on him). My point, which I believe is quite clear if not blatantly obvious is that as feces do not belong in children’s drinking water, policemen don’t belong in Art.
I am angered by the limits of ‘safe distance’ and controlled ‘participation’ imposed on audiences and myself. And I am disappointed by the general public’s complacency. They looked at me as if I broke universal law when I attempted to dance on stage with musicians, make music of my own using pieces of garbage I found around me, speak loudly and directly to actors during their performances, and gallantly contribute to the art around me by breaking all the other audience created barriers (the thought that the natural and life-affirming act of urination should be a crime in any place, ‘public’ or not, is difficult for a person of my constitution to accept and obey). The general public’s complacency and lack of understanding made feelings of pity toward them for their subjection to the city’s Fascism difficult to justify. Most Torontonians seem to be plugged-in backseat drivers of their Fascist city. Maybe I was too hardy and naive to expect much Real Art in such a setting. As usual when I enter the public, I was surrounded by somnambulists, retarded peasants who would rather use vinegar as lubricant for their masturbation than witness Real Art.
Most of the Real Art I saw during Fascist Nuit Blanche was behind the tiny basement office windows lining forgotten streets; underneath the food-stands, covered in dust; and in the awkward steps of an obese man in his lumberman’s sweater: his inner thigh chafed raw – how did he get here? Where were those steps leading him? I couldn’t answer these questions due to the Roaring idiocy of the world around me.
At roughly 5:00AM I curled up beneath the Bloor Viaduct, where my Spirit sealed a slumber. I awoke to feelings of quiet, giant despair, and guilt. Fascist Nuit Blanche is ignominious and it will steal your Flower.
About the author: Arts Lüber is an artist and art critic from Toronto. He is concerned with censorship in the arts, and what he calls a ‘prevailing fascism in the art world.’ He describes himself as ‘an activist, alchemist, wizard, and art mongrel.’ In addition to Provocative Penguin, Arts writes for his own blog, Arts Lüber’s Republic.
You can read Arts’ other posts on PP [here]