The third annual Nuit Blanche arts festival took place in Toronto on Saturday night and the city was transformed into an outdoor art and performance gallery.
Art was showcased all over the city as many different types of events took place and some streets were even shut down. One particular event that seemed to be a favourite took place at College Park and was called Zombies in Condoland.
From 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. hundreds of people came out to take a part in this unusual event which was directed by Jillian Mcdonald. Mcdonald, 35, is a multimedia artist whose work includes films, videos, photographs and interactive performances.
Zombies in Condoland is a low budget “film” with the idea that anybody interested could come out and participate. There were make-up teams on-site, zombie clothes available and even lessons so people could act more like zombies. Mcdonald wanted people to be able to experience what a film shoot was like.
“It’s not really a movie, it’s a project … and it’s really more of a spectacle of a film than an actual film,” Mcdonald says.
Mcdonald says that Nuit Blanche contacted her about doing an event and thought it would be a great opportunity. She publicized it on her website and created a Zombie in Condoland blog where she wrote about updates for the event.
“I wanted people to know that everyone was welcome to come and participate in this event, and I’m really happy with the way it all turned out,” Mcdonald says.
Throughout the night, the film crew ran around College Park screaming for the zombies to come gather. Everyone clad in zombie gear who wanted to participate would then gather at a large circle in the park.
They would disperse to the edges of the circle and when Mcdonald called for action they all walked towards the centre of the circle where the cameras were set up, the whole while acting like zombies.
Eric Breiel and Phil Dunhill were two of the participants and after they became “zombified” decided to walk around to other events at Nuit Blanche to see what people would think of them.
“I wanted to see people’s reactions to someone walking around Toronto like a zombie,” Dunhill said. “A lot of people gave us some pretty weird looks.”
At College Park, there were more non-zombies than zombies, so when people did spot a zombie a lot of them would gather around taking pictures, with some even had their pictures taken with the zombies.
The more like a zombie the person was acting like, the more attention they got.
“I like film. I really like film and decided I wanted to be a part of it, and getting dressed up like a zombie just seemed like a lot of fun,” Breiel said.
Dunhill added that “I found out about it just the other day. And then when I found out you actually got to become a zombie I was even more excited.”
Mcdonald said that Toronto is a lot different than Brooklyn which is where she lives because in Toronto there are giant condos sprouting up all over the place including one being built right beside College Park.
She said that when a condo goes up, people are instantly drawn to it. They gather like zombies. This was part of her inspiration for the event.
“I think Nuit Blanche is a great idea; you get to do things that you normally wouldn’t do,” Mcdonald said. “I’m thrilled with how it all turned out. I’m really grateful to all of the people who showed up and are willing to be zombies and it’s been a lot of fun so far.”