My happy 7-hour weekend wandering: Night\Shift

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My friend Eric Rumble runs Night\Shift, which for the uninitiated is a (now) multi-day installation/expression/performance of art/music/food/theatre. That went off Saturday night in downtown Kitchener. Between feet-on-the-street at 7pm and my delightfully exhausted collapse back into the car at 2am, I had a lot of interesting experiences quite unlike anything else that happens here. And even more important were the many serendipitous meetings and chats with the characters of WR. So the TL;DR here is simply: thanks a lot, Rumble & Co.

I lugged my gear around with me the whole night because, ya know: photography-as-community-building-tool. And maybe if I show you something, you’ll go next year. Or sponsor. Or high-five Rumble on King Street.

Interlude: if you dig my community-building work through these stories, please support it with your pocket change. Shout out to my new patrons Glenn Wurster and Donna Litt, who get what I’m doing. And heartfelt thanks to all my patrons: while we are small in number (19 out of 500000), we are big on vision. On with the story!

Above, in the Kitchener City Hall rotunda, was Dylan Reibling’s installation 24 Hour Dolly. (There’s Dylan, top left, in plaid) I spent more than 2 hours hovering on the fringes of this piece, just fascinated. Such a simple construct. I didn’t really get it until I saw it in action. You could just hop up on the plinth and the circling camera operator would film you in a most delightfully cinematic way with an enviable rig. There was this resonance with my own approach, reflecting back to the community images of everyday folks, so genuine. This is us.

Click through for not-the-most-outrageous-number of pics I’ve ever posted…

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I started the night at 44 Gaukel in the Infinity Tunnel by Bernie Rohde and nik harron. Here are housemates Denise, Bernie and Ursula who attract a lot of attention from their neighbours, what with all the flashing multi-coloured, sound-responsive lights of Bernie’s creation.

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Infinity meta.

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Artist/Maker and my good friend, Mr. Bernie Rohde. He shows up a lot here on makebright because he is a helluva nice guy and one of the most under-appreciated artists in the mix. I love his work.

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Seems I always photograph Bernie in near complete darkness since his LED-studded work shows best in low ambient light.

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Out came the participatory invitations to a performance piece in the tunnel…

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but I had to get back out on the street to see other stuff.

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One quick photo of Bernie’s wearable art Pixel. This mask of LED’s and circuitry is a vertical spectrum analyzer, showing the amplitude of various frequency bands of ambient sound. She’s a challenge to photograph.

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Here’s where I camped out for so much of Night\Shift. This crew started at 3am, and due to a communication snafu, they surprised the security guards when they showed up. The clock and the dolly got rolling in the wee hours and by the time I arrived there they had racked up 17 hours of orbits.

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I saw four camera operators and all were good, but this dude was my fave.

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Picasso (or someone) said “there is no art without constraint”. Within the constraint of this circular track and fixed lighting there was a surprising range of interpretation: pushing in for close-ups and tracking shots and a really great tilt that put the subject in the circular context of the room.

The real-time projection was also surprising. I guess we all look better with white-balanced, high CRI light shining on us. Someone better versed in video work will have to tell me about the effects of lens and camera choice, along with focal length and all rest. The result was that people looked pretty darned amazing.

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Here’s the most compelling variable in the piece: the people who took the stage.

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Hey, it’s Isaiah who I met at the Commons Studio. So very interesting how people chose to pose or interact with or ignore the camera.

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This headstand splits was pretty impressive.

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This fellow and I must have been on the same trajectory, because we both arrived at 44 Gaukel and then City Hall around the same time. The artifacts he started unpacking got me to my feet.

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I will need to lean on…

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my better informed readers to explain…

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the significance of…

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this ceremony.

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While most people stayed for one or two rounds of the camera, this fella stayed for a good 5 minutes and I’m glad he did. The artist, Dylan, came over to grab a still with his phone.

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This was powerful. This is us.

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My filmmakin’ friend Duncan and his little one.

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There is a certain light in the eyes when people hold their children. I later saw a Mom squeeze the stuffin’ out of her kid as they left the plinth. Quite a lovely expression.

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Waiting for a turn.

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I speculated aloud with James and Agnes, wondering if there was perhaps no recording happening at all and that maybe this experience itself was the whole deal. You know: you must be present.

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I was assured by several people that there was in fact recording of the video though nobody could say specifically what was to happen with the footage (if we still use that term). I didn’t ask Dylan because I sort of wanted it to remain a mystery.

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This was a platform…

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for passionate people…

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to send their message. Not an easy thing to do.

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Cheers to the pushers who pushed. I tagged along with James and Agnes back out into the street…

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Maker Brent was wrangling his Chattering Chimes

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in the Duke Street parking spiral. We do these things without a map and sometimes it doesn’t go exactly as planned. I learned that in my Night\Shift 2013 installation of LEDs+bikes+the people that I did up on Otto Street. Ya just figure it out.

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Agnes at the Mercury Café when we finally found it in the basement near the Apollo Cinema.

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Brent was there. (I’m getting a little Salvador Dali vibe off this photo. Also I must call this an homage to David Bebee’s photo in The Record)

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We had come in search of the window drawing of most excellent cartoonist Trevor Waurechen (not shown because he and I were too busy talking, I reckon). This drawing progressed through the week at the café and visitors were invited to add to it on Saturday night.

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One last swing, back through City Hall. The projection looked nothing like this: you’re seeing a collision of how the projector projects and my shutter speed.

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Regular readers know I pay attention to shoes and this, my friends, is best in shoe for Night\Shift 2016.

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And then I went…

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to a dance party around 1am. Well, it was actually the tail end of…

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the Analog Arsenal performance by VERSA’s Monika and Alex.

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Setting up for the next show…

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was my friend…

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the very photographable Ian “Spooloops” Newton. He started doing his thing…

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and the dancing was happening both in the room and in the adjacent Infinity Tunnel.

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To those friends who asked “What?! You’re leaving? This goes to 4am!” I appreciate your confidence in my stamina.

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And since the world is a circle, I made my way back through the Tunnel to depart, happy for what I had seen and not worried about what I missed (and there was a lot).

At Charles and Gaukel, this is Kitchener. This is us.


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