Oct 3rd, 2016, 12:57 PM

Nuit Blanche: Experiencing The Weird And The Wonderful

By Ariana Coleman
Image Credit: Ariana Coleman
Nuit Blanche proved to be just as inspiring and confusing as I thought it would be.

Where We Started

October first at 7 pm, I (along with my camera and a group of friends willing to lose sleep for a night) ventured into the Parisian night to experience Nuit Blanche. So with the help of GoogleMaps, we ventured to the nearest arrondissement: the sixth. 

This Is Weirdly Peaceful

At Pont Des Arts, we reached our first installation. The Seine was lit green with lights to reflect the underwater life of the river.  Along with the radioactive-esque glow coming from the Seine, sounds were playing in the background.  These sounds were supposed to be "from the depth of the river." It was low-key weird, but also relaxing.  We were so content with the expo that we stayed for about ten minutes. 

Well This Is Interesting

The guidebook told us to continue walking along the Seine, so we came across a projection of a video.  The video was projected on the front of the Monnaie De Paris and showed a transatlantic boat voyage.  Even though it was projected onto a building, the video was oddly fitting since we were on the Seine. It was all good... but we decided to move on once the guy in the video vomited like four times on the boat. 

Follow The Pink Line

We decided to leave the sixth and move on the the eighth arrondissement, because I wanted to see Le Crazy Horse. SPOILER ALERT! We didn't end up seeing it because the line literally went down the street and around the corner.  I, and my friends who were surprisingly still with me, decided to look for other art pieces rather than spend the whole night in line.  This led us to the illusive pink line.

According to the guidebook we were following, you could follow a pink line that connects and leads you to different exhibits throughout Nuit Blanche.  I honestly thought it was a myth because we had been walking for about two hours, and saw no pink line whatsoever. But since we avoided that terrible line for Le Crazy Horse we were able to find the line.  We were especially happy about this mainly because we no longer had to make decisions about where to go next. We just had to follow the pink line.

An Abstract Sketch In A Waterfall

We followed the pink line, and also what sounded like whale calls, down some stairs and ended up on Port Des Champs-Elysées, staring at a picture of an abstract drawing projected on a screen, along with a continuous stream of water.  The drawing was supposed to be some sort of animal, but what exactly? A dog? A rabbit? Why were there whale noises? We had no clue. The plot thickened when it turned into a video: The images playing on the screen went from serene and peaceful drawings to some intense cave paintings.  It was mesmerizing, but also really confusing.  Was it a dream? Or was this some sort of retelling of evolution through art? And why did they choose jazz music? Again more unanswered questions. My friends and I came to the conclusion that the dog in the video, was dreaming, and that this was a representation of his dreams.  

Image Credit: Ariana Coleman

This Is When I Cried

On the other side of the port, we followed the pink line to a huge wooden platform. Already I was excited for what was about to happen, even though I had no clue what could be going on, but it turned out to be my favorite part of the night: A man and a women step onto a platform that starts to spin as the sweet and sad voice of Nina Simone sang "Wild Is The Wind" and the couple begins to dance on the spinning platform. The whole dance reflected their need to reach each other, but just always missing one another.  In the end, they went separate ways.  The audience, myself included, were completely put under the dancers' spell.  The piece was so touching, and I definitely shed a tear or two.

Good Night (Morning?)

We ended the night eating crepes in front of a moving installation of a giant silver helium balloon at three in the morning - yeah it felt just as surreal and trippy as it sounds. The atmosphere was complete with instrumental music that made me feel weirdly introspective.  A weird feeling to have while eating a crepe. 

I sat there in the grass with my crepe, and my friends, who were total troopers for sticking with me that night, and was completely in awe of what I had seen at Nuit Blanche. I was also wondering how anyone could stay up until 7 am (I'm pretty sure that's impossible). 

Nuit Blanche was truly a completely surreal experience: The expositions paired with the nighttime setting of Paris left me amazed and often really confused.  In the end, I wouldn't have traded this experience for anything in the world.  Even though I spent most of my Sunday sleeping.