My blue period in DTK–Blue Dot 2017

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Last Friday I went to church… the church of techno, art and social experience. I finally made it to my first Blue Dot party, which just happened to be in the former Zion Presbyterian Church on Weber at Ontario in DTK. This overnight jam was put together with a tremendous amount of vision and work by my friends Ian Newton and Mars Orlowska and their crew. So: thank you! It was a singular thing, a unique thing, right here.

I’m not versed in the nuances of the music. I’m an outlier from the median age of the crowd. I only really dance when I’m making dinner. And still, it was everything I hoped it would be, based on Ian’s description of connecting people socially in the context of a creative and chill medium.

Interlude: if you dig my community-building work through these stories, please consider supporting it with your pocket change. My awesome patrons help me pay for the gear, software and services I need to get this work in front of you. Shout out to Michelle Purchase, our newest makebright patron.  Ok, on with the story!


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A week later, I’m still sort of processing the experience. What I can share is a mostly visual, non-exhaustive walk-through, presented herein. The luxury of editorial freedom for all the community investment work I put here on makebright is that I can experiment, experience and enjoy.

The TL;DR: the most important takeaways from Blue Dot, for me, don’t show up in these photos at all. That’s because they are the conversations I had with friends new and old through the night. And sometimes it’s nice to drop the camera from my face and share some ideas.

More pics…

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I downed four coffees on my way downtown for a 10pm start. Nice to see Rumble and Tiffany on their way as I hit the Duke Street parking lot. Bumped into James Nye on Ontario, too. To Tessa, Russell, Michelle and everyone else who said “I should have known you’d be here with your camera”, I’m so glad you say hello when I’m in my socially oblivious photo-sphere. Long ago, friends and family gave up on riding to events with me, because I never know how long I’ll stay. Usually, it’s far longer than the collective patience allows.

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Probably driven by here a hundred times, never saw this church.

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I don’t usually drag out the 14-24mm lens because it adds another 3lbs to my bag,  but hey: experiments! Saw some other photogs toting tripods, but I decided just to do my best to be still.

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A blue dot in a green lightscape.

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A lounge…

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with a bar.

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This place, in the relative darkness, was labyrinthine. Designed for discovery.

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Techno chapel.

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Hey DJ! Feel free to tell me his name. There’s not really a program and even the location was secret until shortly before go-time. I like that.

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Caged balloons.

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A big piece of art by Ian Newton himself in a sort of semi-circular, balconied auditorium beneath the church. Somebody said “obviously phallic!” but I can’t help thinking about Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam and particularly the finger of God. You know, ‘cause we were in a church and all.

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Maybe some reference to stained glass. The filaments made me think of nerve fibers.

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The piece was lit with UV light and glowed delightfully. It created it’s own social gravity, drawing in visitors for yoga and dance and what-have-you.

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This is my buddy, Matt. He’s an interesting cat (rhyme!)

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Ah the stage. Lots of pillows for crashing here.

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This is a separate piece by Jordan Mandel, Colin Labadie and Nik Stewart. It’s an audio piece…

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with speakers positioned on three sides, emitting three different voices.

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The way Jordan explained it is that it’s based on the notion of the Library of Babel. In my coffee-addled state, I understood that the confluence of these three voices, like an infinite library, could create any conversation and even be self-referential. Super meta.

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Colin, Jordan and Nik.

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posing for documentary pics…

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shot by Matt and lit with mobile phones.

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Shouting from above “Hey Darin!” ‘Twas my friend Rob Gorbet, who along with his brother Matt Gorbet and Matt’s partner Susan Gorbet created this piece of great interested. These rare alphabetic nixie tubes (made from unobtanium) from an old stock exchange display invite participants to dial up a 4-letter word amid “I” and “YOU”.

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The word then automagically morphs to other words and our brains sort of overlay a narrative as the phrases change. So this might have changed to “I FELT YOU” and then maybe “I FELL YOU”, and so on. Had a great chat with the artists about technical, UX and esthetic aspects of the piece. Thanks!

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Back downstairs I ran into photog Brian (right).

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Started looking for Brohemus and thought the bar was a good place to start.

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A completely different music jam going on here in what I’ll call Techno Ballroom. High five to everyone who costumed up.

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Hey DJ!

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Lots of projections and some sculpture here.

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Arms up.

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Slow shutter. One of these blurs is Graham.

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Back into the cooler, quieter Zen space…

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where I found Robin and Cat and Melissa and… Brohemus!

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Ian Newton (centre) in a rare still moment chatting with the Gorbet brothers.

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Took it to a ho nutha level.

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Do you see the blue dot?

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Super-chill. I tapped out at 2:30am to give Dave and Melissa a ride home.

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Serene Rumble. I can’t imagine a better wrap-up to this post.

Again, thanks to Ian, Mars and all who make stuff happen.

This is us.


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2 Responses to My blue period in DTK–Blue Dot 2017

  1. Rob says:

    Thanks for another great photomentary, Darin!

    It was a great event, for sure.

    The artist of the phallic piece (I’ll admit I didn’t see it that way until you mentioned it) is none other than Ian Newton!

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