The Twin Cities gear up for an all-nighter
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The Twin Cities gear up for an all-nighter

From dusk on June 4 to the break of day June 5, the Twin Cities will be transformed by Northern Spark: A Nuit Blanche, a public arts festival spearheaded by Northern, featuring more than 100 creative projects by over 60 regional and national artists and a bevy of partner institutions through the metro area.

Not to be left out, and the Walker Art Center have joined forces to present Nightshift, our contribution to the Northern Spark Festival; this all-nighter will include interactive gatherings of the quiet, more intimate variety, exploring nocturnal activities within public and communal space. Nightshift presents a range of things to do, spread throughout the Walker Art Center and Open Field, including live headphone concerts in the James Turrell SkyPesher, bedtime stories with local writers, stargazing, choreographed and impromptu sleep position performances and a few surprises.  The Walker galleries and building amenities will also be open for late night viewing and relaxation. And what better way to wrap up the night than with fresh donuts delivered at sunrise?

Read a recent feature article on the Northern Spark Festival, written by Regan Smith, on >>

Below, find out more about a few of artists participating in the festival. Check back often between now and Twin Cities’ own ‘nuit blanche’ and we’ll introduce you to a sampling of the creative folks behind the projects you’ll find as you explore Northern Spark’s offerings on the big night.


Photo courtesy of the artist

Artist: Mike Hallenbeck
Project: Sound Spandrel — Science Museum
Project description: In the discipline of architecture, the V shape between two arches is called a ‘spandrel:’ negative space, but part of the design nonetheless. As a site-specific sonic event somewhere between performance and installation, the Sound Spandrel foregrounds the marginal and the parenthetical to integrate music as part of a location’s incidental soundscape. Exploring the intersection of sound, space, and human behavior, the performance responds to the acoustic character of a particular environment and becomes raw material for the creation of new audio structures. Anything from the tonalities of heating and cooling systems to the buzz of light bulbs to the percussive patterns of footsteps and door slams inspire a score fleshed out by live performers and electronically blended back into the soundscape.
Early Bird or Night Owl?: Dusky Duck
All-nighter survival kit secret weapon: Snacks
What were you doing last time you were up at 3 a.m.? Probably writing music or editing audio.
What are your go-to cures for insomnia? I think about my cats and how snuggly they can be. Especially my cat Blanche. She’s like a giant Tribble.
If you could choose anyone to stay up all night talking with, who would it be? Dostoevsky
Soundtrack for a midnight ramble?


Photo courtesy of the artists

Artists: Bridget Beck and Carissa Samaniego
Project: GLOW-a-BOUT
Project description: GLOW-a-BOUT is a nightlong city game which depends on large-scale public participation!  Join in on the fun, it’s accessible to all!  GLOW-a-BOUT combines the spirit of nostalgic neighborhood games and the Indian Holi Festival to create a new event celebrating the new Minnesota Festival, Northern Spark: A Nuit Blanche.  With your help, the game glows, sparkles, colors and excites the evening through an engaging process, high-energy game and stimulating visual experience.  There are fortresses, flags, pigmented powders, teams and glowing orbs.
Early Bird or Night Owl?: Bridget’s an Early Bird (with coffee in hand), and Carissa’s up as the occasion demands, “generally more productive in the mornings, but not one to miss out on late-night escapades.”
All-nighter survival kit secret weapons: Bridget’s bringing “directions to Loring Park, an outrageous neon costume, a flashlight, and the willingness to join in all sorts of fun;”
Carissa won’t leave home without “a flashy headdress, LOTS of glitter, glow in the dark earrings and running shoes.”
What were you doing last time you were up at 3 a.m.? Bridget: I go to bed early.  But, I’m pretty sure the last time I was up at 3am there was a dance party with a wig calling my name. Carissa: I was on a road trip exploring the Southwest listening to a cheesy, yet tear-jerking book on tape.
What meal is best when served at 2 a.m.? Bridget: A homemade plate of lightning bolt shaped pancakes with blueberry syrup and a big cup of coffee! Carissa: Mashed potato margaritas (yes, they are probably exactly what you think they are).
If you could choose anyone to stay up all night talking with, who would it be? Bridget: Gertrude Stein or Camille Claudel; Carissa: My grandma
Soundtrack for a midnight ramble?



Image by Andrea Steudel

Artist/Organization: Skewed Visions (respondent: Charles Campbell)
Project: Please Remain Seated
Project description: Please Remain Seated is a set of performances tailored for 15 festival buses and their drivers, along the routes and for the duration of Northern Spark: a Nuit Blanche.  Giving riders a glimpse into the inner life of driving and being driven as they navigate the city, Please Remain Seated explores the forgotten spaces of a system of public transit and the dynamics within a system of public service. Created by the three Skewed Visions principles, Please Remain Seated will range from short enigmatic pronouncements to longer monologues, from choreographed equipment to passenger dance lines, from the haiku of paying the fare to the historical epic of the cross-town journey. These performances provide rider-audiences with insight into the world of bus drivers, the routes of the buses, and an opportunity to experience the mystery, intimacy and the terror of missing your stop from the other side of the steering wheel.
Night Owl or Early Bird?: Yes
All-nighter survival kit secret weapon: A watch
What are your go-to cures for insomnia? Having a baby.
If you could choose anyone to stay up all night talking with, who would it be? I’d actually just listen, and it would be Tom Waits; given his voice, I’d love to hear him snore.
Soundtrack for a midnight ramble?


So, what’s on your Northern Spark itinerary? Share your own plans for the upcoming nuit blanche in the comments section.

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