Interesting Art Installation at Nuit Blanche 2014

I admit I am not an art connoisseur, however I did venture out to Toronto’s 9th Nuit Blanche festival. The city was transformed with dozens of contemporary art installations. There was one installation that struck a cord with me- Monument of North American Energy Security. This monument was found at Nathan Phillips Square and it depicted two large oil barrels joined by a pipeline to City Hall’s fountain. The fountain was spewing out black water, a representation of oil.

nuitMy feelings while watching the black water pollute the surrounding pool were only that of sadness. I was upset knowing that thousands of square kilometers of beautifully lush boreal forest were being forcibly stripped to allow access to tar sands. Dozens of extraction and refining plants spew out smoke and fire into the once fresh clean air. Water sheds are being polluted from run off water the is poisoned with chemicals. Not to mention all the species that must relocate as their homes become polluted and destroyed.

This was my interpretation of the art, but it turns out I got it all wrong. After going home intrigued by the strong message the installation had, I did some research on the piece. It turns out it was actually funded by CanAmerican Energy. According to them this was the message they were seeking to portray:

“In the spirit of great classical monuments commemorating historical events and leaders, the CanAmerican Energy Arts Team presents a monumental celebratory sculpture, consisting of two large oil barrels connected by a pipeline, to represent Canadian-American energy independence… celebrating the importance of oil independence and the successful partnership of Canada and the United States in bringing about a secure and sustainable future

I am disappointed and I don’t like this kind of propaganda. It is most definitely not a coincidence that this piece was installed right in front of city hall. I would like to hear from all of you! Did you see this piece and what do you think?

For all those that couldn’t make it last night, here is a list of the extended projects that will be up until the Thanksgiving weekend.


About michellebinczyk

A Yorku Student that is studying Environmental Biology!
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One Response to Interesting Art Installation at Nuit Blanche 2014


    Hi Michelle! Actually, your first interpretation was in line with what we were trying to do, and so was your second interpretation. We are a group of artists called Critical Art Ensemble. There is no CanAmerican Energy – we made that up for this theater/installation piece. We wanted to imitate the propaganda of the extraction industry but then have it contrasted with the ugliness of an oil spill in order to provoke dialogue about these issues. It seems to have been successful in doing this. You can also look at our website and see the other work we do.
    Best regards,
    Lucia Sommer
    (of CAE)


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