Inaugural NIGHT\SHIFT a success

(Jessica Dik -- Staff Photographer)

(Jessica Dik — Staff Photographer)

Kitchener-Waterloo residents who had missed Scotiabanks’ Nuit Blanche in downtown Toronto on October 5 had a second chance to explore a night-long art festival with the first ever NIGHT\SHIFT. Created by Kitchener-based environmental magazine, Alternatives Journal (A\J), NIGHT\SHIFT allowed K-W residents to explore the area from Queen Street North at Otto Street to as far as Gaukel Street.

Typically, most festivals held in downtown Kitchener are based around City Hall or the King Street area.  NIGHT\SHIFT was located primarily along Queen Street with a few exhibits trailing down King Street. In an interview with The Cord, editor-in-chief of A\J Eric Rumble explained the unique locational focus.

“It’s really part of … re-envisioning the downtown. There are a lot of great events in downtown Kitchener throughout the course of the year. But I think most of them occupy the same kind of landscape,” he said. “That’s one of the things I definitely wanted to highlight… so having that King/Queen section and the K-W Art Gallery as the main anchor for the main route was essential for the idea of reintroducing downtown… I think that stretch of downtown is neglected as a space that you can wander around and enjoy,” said Rumble.

Aptly named for the “shift” in time with Daylight Savings Time occurring on November 2, NIGHT\SHIFT aimed to change how K-W residents interact and interpret the space around them with unique and local exhibits under an environmental theme. Despite aiming for an environmental theme, some of the themes may have been lost on the attendees.

“I think it’s very much about re-envisioning the downtown core. It became the major theme of [NIGHT\SHIFT]. For me, there is a really strong environmental message in that. Most people live in cities nowadays. The way that you’re going to change our life styles and the way we interact with things on a day-to-day basis is going to come down to how you see your city and how you make use of it,” Rumble mused on the exact theme of the night. “Whether or not there is an overt environmental message in that, I’m not super concerned with that. For me, it’s the idea that downtown Kitchener is not the expectation that is put on it.”

There were around 20 locations around downtown Kitchener that were home to multiple exhibits or installations which featured a wide range of subject matter and style.
Kim Ho and Chris Mosiadz embraced the spirit of community togetherness with their piece, Let’s Connect — thousands of business cards sewn together to create numerous large strands hanging down from a high ceiling. Attendees were encouraged to walk through the business cards, commenting on commonly known contacts in a hidden alley way. Similarly, the Walper Hotel was host to Jennifer Gough’s event entitled Clash. Clash consisted of two large, differing sculptures that had cymbals positioned behind them. Attendees had the opportunity to go behind the sculpture and play the cymbals in a back and forth manner to mimic a conversation to exchange ideas and thoughts.

As of right now, while the interest is strong for this to become a yearly event, according to Rumble, there are no solid plans for NIGHT\SHIFT 2014.

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