Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Book Review: Another by Yukito Ayatsuji

Translated by Karen McGillicuddy

Pros: tense, makes you second guess what’s going on, fascinating characters

Cons: repetition, some gore

Fifteen year old Koichi Sakakibara moves in with his grandparents at the beginning of his third year of middle school. A collapsed lung keeps him from attending the first week of class and he finds things… odd when he does start school. Everyone seems tense and there’s a girl who sits at the back that no one seems to acknowledge is there. He slowly learns of the third-year Class 3 curse, a phenomenon that leaves members of Class 3 and their immediate family dead.

I loved the two main protagonists, Koichi Sakakibara and Mei Misaki (note, following Japanese custom most characters are called by their last names, so I’ll be doing that in my review). It was interesting seeing Sakakibara’s illness, his hesitation when joining the class, trying to figure out what was happening, his consideration of and compassion towards Misaki, his gratitude towards his grandparents. He’s a highly sympathetic character going through difficult times. Misaki is equally interesting, and quite different, being standoffish and mysterious. Seeing their friendship bloom was great.

The book has a very tense atmosphere. You’re just as in the dark about what’s going on as Sakakibara and it makes for an eerie first half of the book, wondering what’s up with Misaki, wondering what the curse is. When things start going wrong it’s quite terrifying. There are a number of twists to the story, making you question and re-question what’s happening.  

The translation doesn’t clarify any social or cultural Japanese aspects of the book (aside from explicitly pointing out the meanings of the written characters (kanji) used for various people and place names. This doesn’t affect understanding of the story, though knowing some of this myself did add to my enjoyment of the book. 

I did notice there was a fair amount of repetition with regards to conversations and plot points. The afterward to the paperback edition (printed at the back of the English edition) mentions that the book was originally serialized, which probably accounts for that. 

There is some gore as several deaths are described. It’s a little graphic at times.

One thing that annoyed me was that the ending turned on a fact that the narrator (ie Sakakibara) knows, but you - the reader - do not. So it’s possible for him to figure out the final twist but much harder for you to do so.

On the whole, if you’re looking for a creepy read, this is a good choice.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Image Scan LED strip

After seeing the Photon Gallery 3.0 exhibit at Nuit Blanche a few weeks back, my husband decided to make his own image scan LED strip (the LED line that turned into hearts when you wave your head back and forth).

He did a couple designs before settling on the jack-o-lantern. The images themselves are blurry, due to low resolution, but in person you're seeing the picture so quickly (and more out of the corner of your eye than directly) you can't see that (but the camera could).

To the right is the strip (you can see hints of the yellow and orange that makes up the jack-o-lantern). Below are a few of the designs he tried.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Guillermo Del Toro Exhibit: At Home With Monsters

A few weeks ago I went to see the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Filled with items from Bleak House, one of Del Toro's homes in Los Angeles. His personal collection is quite remarkable, and huge. This exhibit represents a sampling and it's quite remarkable.

There are a lot of wax figures, many of characters from his movies (like the pale man from Pan's Labyrinth pictured below), though some are from other films or actual people. In a few cases there are blank forms showing off costumes, as with some of the dresses from Crimson Peak.

There are a lot of pictures and paintings and small sculptures. Two of my favourites were this miniature, "The Captain's Bed" by Teri Hardin, and reproductions of two of the skeleton warriors Ray Harryhausen created for Jason and the Argonauts.  

While I've not seen The Strain, I greatly enjoyed seeing the inspiration pieces, some props, and the gorgeous angel of death.

One of the last rooms has a couple of Frankenstein wax figures, along with more creepy artwork.

If you like monsters, the macabre, movie props/memorabilia, or Del Toro's work it's a fantastic exhibit. It took me over two hours to go through (though I was taking a lot of photographs). There's a wide variety of objects to see and an interesting glimpse into a director's mind.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Shout-Out: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army.
Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.
Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations.
But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Video: Battlegrounds The Movie

This is a faux trailer by Ryan Higa for a movie adaptation of the online video game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (aka PUBG). I've never played the game myself, but I do enjoy watching some of my favourite youtubers play. From what I've seen, this movie trailer incorporates a lot of the stuff that happens in real games.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Book Review: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Pros: some interesting twists, great characters

Cons: somewhat predictable

Antonina Beaulieu is a rich 19 year old from the country, joining her cousin and his wife, Valerie, in the city of Loisail for the Grand Season. Quick to speak her mind and unable to remember proper city etiquette or the names of important society members, Nina also has telekinetic abilities, her poor control of which has caused her problems in the past. When she meets the telekinetic performer Hector Auvray at a party, they quickly grow closer and her dreams of a romantic marriage seem assured.

But Hector has a past with Valerie, the beautiful woman who criticizes Antonina’s failings at every turn. And his attentions towards Nina aren’t what they seem.

For the most part the book’s plot follows the traditional category romance beats. Set in a fantasy world that mimics the late 1800s/early 1900s, it reminded me at times of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and at others of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey.

The characters were wonderful. I started off the book liking everyone, even people I probably wasn’t supposed to. Though I knew Hector’s initial interest in Nina wasn’t real, I still liked him and thought that having your heart broken by a ‘good’ guy is better than some alternatives. I even felt some pity for Valerie, forced to marry someone for money to help her family despite having met the love of her life. The personal motivations and actions of the characters felt honest and the fallout of their decisions, earned.

While telekinesis isn’t a major part of the story, it does come up fairly often and it’s great seeing Nina learn more control over her abilities.

I really enjoyed this.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Coffin Vampire Hunter Kit

Last year I saw an article about vampire hunter kits in museums and thought they were super cool. Then I read other articles about how they're fake (like this one).

Fake or not, they're still cool, so when I was perusing the dollar store just after Halloween and came across a small wooden coffin, I thought I'd make my own.

I found one again today, so it's still a craft you can put together before Halloween depending on the pieces you use (mine took a while as I bought some items from China to flesh it out).

Now, to save time I decided not to remove the metal clasp and hinges. If I did this again I would definitely remove them as they cause complications when painting, but you can do this the 'lazy' way too.
 Step one is to paint your coffin. I primed mine first with gesso (it's a base for paintings that makes the wood/canvas not soak up as much paint). I then painted the outside and the inner walls with black acrylic paint. Once it was dry, I used a spray on varnish (this protects the paint so it doesn't chip off easily). Make sure not to close the coffin until the varnish is completely dry. I ended up chipping my paint by closing it early and had to do some touch ups.

To line the inside bottom and top of the coffin I cut out red velvet paper and glued it down. Felt or craft foam would work just as well for this.

I wanted a vial of 'holy water' and so took a small glass craft jar and filled it with water. I used regular wax to seal the cork and - because I wanted to be fancy - I tied a piece of cord around the jar and used red sealing wax to hold it in place. I carved a small seal out of stamping material and pressed it into the wax, but that's not really necessary (though it does look cool). If you want to do something similar potatoes make good temporary stamps. I'm sorry about the poor photo quality. The seal has a cross with some letters next to it (it's an old Medieval design I found online). Remember that if you carve something similar, any letters need to be backwards so they'll emboss the right way around.

 For the stake, I took a stick and whittled one end into a point. I sanded it smooth and then blended some black, red, and brown paint (to look like dried blood) and smeared it on the tip.

When my pieces from China arrived, I added a mini Bible and a silver cross to the case.

And here it is, my finished Vampire Hunter Kit, ready for this Halloween.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Shout-Out: The Innocence Treatment by Ari Goelman

You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.

Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her-and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?

Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, Ari Goelman's The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren's papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren's story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Video: Black Panther trailer

I'll admit that most of what I know about the Black Panther comes from the comic's intersection with X-Men 10 or so years ago. But this trailer looks incredible. I can't wait to see this film.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

History Book Review: African Zion: The Sacred Art of Ethiopia by Marilyn Heldman

Pros: deals with an under researched topic, lots of high quality images, excellent supporting information for catalogue items

Cons: parts are very dry and academic, a few catalogue items have no images, out of print

The book consists of the following chapters: 1) Introduction, 2) Dreaming of Jerusalem, 3) Ethiopia Revealed: Merchants, Travellers, and Scholars, 4) Church and State: 16th to 18th Centuries, 5) Ethiopic Literature, 6) Ethiopian Manuscripts and Paleography, 7) Linear Decoration in Ethiopian Manuscripts. 
After dealing with the background information, it continues with the Catalogue, consisting of 8) Maryam Seyon: Mary of Zion, 9) Aksumite Coinage, 10) the Heritage of Late Antiquity, 11) the Zagwe Dynasty: 1137-1270, 12) the Early Solomonic Period: 1270-1527, 13) the Late Solomaic Period: 1540-1769.

I found the introduction to be quite dry and academic. While the information was interesting, the delivery was such that I had trouble paying attention. This is followed by a section on Ethiopian contact with the outside world, that is, writings about Ethiopia by outsiders, which was quite interesting and engaging. Then follows several slightly more in depth chapters dealing with the Christian church in Ethiopia through the centuries. These give a bit more grounding in the monarchy and how it used the church to maintain cohesion and power. There’s a tiny bit of information on conflicts with Muslims and contact with Europe (and Jesuits) in later centuries. The chapters on literature and manuscripts were both very interesting. I was amazed by how many Ethiopian manuscripts have been preserved via microfilm and digitization, mainly by the HMML (Hill Museum and Manuscript Library). [If you’d like to see their collection, viewing manuscripts online requires a free account. Your application is reviewed by one of their librarians before being granted.] The final chapter before looking at the manuscripts themselves gives a cursory examination of harag decoration. Similar to Celtic knotwork in appearance, harag are “a type of illumination made of bands of colored lines interlaced in a geometrical pattern and used to frame the pages of Ethiopian manuscripts” (p.63). The artwork changed over the centuries.

The catalogue begins with a discussion of the importance of Mary, the mother of God, in Ethiopian devotion, and comprises numerous images of her. There are some comparison images that give local context for some of the elements (for example, a photo showing the entrance to a holy sanctuary with a checkered design around it that explains the checkered background for an icon of Mary). 

The second chapter of the catalogue goes over Aksumite coinage. I didn’t expect it to be as interesting as it was. It’s a great example of how historians must glean information from minimal sources. In this case, the Aksumite kingdom has left little trace, so much of what is known about their kings is due to their names on coins. The coins are shown to scale, which makes the images quite small and it’s sometimes hard to see details.

Most of the catalogue images are shown in colour on black backgrounds. The rest are inset with the descriptive text in black and white. In some cases more than one image of an object is used (both sides of a processional cross, several manuscript pages) but not always. With manuscripts, all of the miniatures are mentioned, even if only a few pages are displayed. Similarly, in cases where only one side of a double sided object is shown, the other side is described in the text. I love how some entries have supplementary images to help show how different aspects of art influence each other. Unfortunately, in a few cases images of the catalogue items themselves are omitted.

While there are a few things I disliked about this volume, on the whole it’s an exceptional collection of Ethiopian sacred artworks. It’s a real shame that this book, created for a specific exhibition, is now out of print, because it’s a much needed look at a rarely studied country. Ethiopia doesn’t get much mention in medieval (my focus) or other history textbooks, so this is a brilliant addition for anyone wanting to expand their understanding about the rich history and artistic traditions of this amazing country, if - like me - you can find it used.

Monday, 16 October 2017

2017 Sunburst Award Winners

Congratulations to this year's winners of the Sunburst Awards for excellence in Canadian literature of the fantastic. The winner of each category is in bold, followed by the other nominees. This information comes from their press release.

Adult Fiction Award
Young Adult Fiction Award
Short Story Award
This year's jury consisted of: Nancy Baker, Michel Basilières, Rebecca Bradley, Dominick Grace, and Sean Moreland

Friday, 13 October 2017

Movie Review: Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon)

Directed by Fritz Lang, 1929

Pros: good science fiction

Cons: slow, overly expressive acting

Professor Manfeldt’s theory that mountains on the moon are made of gold prompts a group of powerful businessmen to hijack the moon mission planned by Wolf Helius.

This is a long (two hours and fifty minutes!) and slow moving film. The first hour deals with the theft of Helius’ plans and the insinuation of a new member on the mission. The flight to the moon is interesting, showing the first countdown to launch and a few scenes in zero gravity (while they show the need to hold on and a few people floating around, they didn’t have small items - like items in the mouse cage, aside from the mouse - float), as well as a two stage rocket. The scenes on the moon were entertaining, if in no way scientifically accurate.

The sets were pretty good. And while the rocket ship doesn’t look much like what actually took people to space (inside or outside), it’s a decent attempt at guessing the future.

As a silent film the actors made up for the lack of explanation through dialogue by using overly expressive hand and facial gestures. At times this worked, while at others the actions seemed to contradict the text cards.

The music on the Kino Classics edition was excellent and really heightened tension in some areas of the film.

I wasn’t really sold on the romance. Wolf Helius obviously likes Friede Velten and his jealousy over her choosing Hans Windegger makes him avoid their engagement party. There are hints that Friede likes Wolf more than Hans, though Hans is - at first - more inclined to let her follow her dreams. When Hans later falls apart, I didn’t like him as much, though I’m not sure Wolf fares much better with his stern demeanor.

 Given how little time is spent on the moon compared to the rest of the film, I’m surprised by the title. “Mission Moon” or some such (recognizing it would be in German) would have been more accurate. 

It’s a great film if you’re interested in the history of science fiction or silent films. It’s more involved than I’d expected, and kept my attention despite its length.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Shout-Out: The Last Amazon Kickstarter

I got an email about this kickstarter project for a near future post-apocalyptic photo realistic graphic novel. It's written by Jamison Stone and illustrated by David Granjo.

In a near future, World War 3 lasted only three minutes. The world was ravaged by the fallout with two major opposing factions rising from the chaos: The Denver Denizens and The Azureus Islands.
Danni Winters was chosen to live on The Azureus Islands, a place advertised as the last oasis on our war torn planet. At first Danni was ecstatic about moving away from the troubles of the world, but she wasn’t selected by chance. Danni soon discovers she has mysterious powers and abilities which can tip the balance of power in this precarious post-apocalyptic world.
After a terrible event, Danni’s new life is destroyed, pushing her to use her newfound strength to face a brutal encounter with the “Amazons,” an army of killer robots created to not only protect Azureus Islands, but become the next generation of military force upon planet Earth. Only through determination, power, and trust in her new abilities will Danni have what it takes to uncover the truth of her past and defeat The Last Amazon.

You don't get the book until the $30 hardcover pledge (and oddly enough there's no PDF only tier).

There's more artwork and a video on the website if you're interested in learning more.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Video: Historical Body Mechanics: Walk Medieval

Roland Warzecha from the History Park Bärnau in Bavaria, Germany, talks about differences between how we walk now (with thick heeled shoes on paved roads) vs how people walked in the past (ball to heel in thin leather shoes). He also mentions what that means for posture.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Book Review: The Core by Peter Brett

Pros: lots of action, character development, satisfying series ending

Cons: at a disadvantage if haven’t read the novellas

This is the fifth and final volume of the Demon Cycle. A lot has happened as Arlen and Jardir finally take their party down to the core. Their captured mind demon alerts them that the hive is close to swarm, but it’s too late for them to help their friends and loved ones who are about to be overrun at the new moon. All they can do as they journey below is hope they’ve prepared those they leave behind well enough to survive on their own.

There are a lot of point of view characters, some for the first time. This allows the reader to see events all over Thesa as the demons attack. And they attack hard. The book does a fantastic job of consolidating all of the people and places that have been visited in the series. 

Having said that, I was surprised that the people and events of some of the novellas were referenced without preamble. Derek from Brayan’s Gold shows up with no introduction and I’m assuming the novella Messenger’s Legacy (which I haven’t read) explains why Ragen and Elissa aren’t in Miln when The Core begins. While I felt Briar was properly introduced in The Skull Throne, when Regan and Elissa showed up it felt like I’d missed a chapter, as there’s no explanation of what they’ve been doing though there are a few cryptic hints that they were in Laktown looking for Briar. Once they were back in Miln I found their political situation quite interesting.

There is a lot of action both with the defenders up top and those penetrating the deeps. The battles are varied, as the mind demons fight dirty. Once or twice we’re shown the after effects of a scene rather than a scene itself, which lessened the impact of some tragedies. But on the whole it’s a whirlwind of battles intercut with preparations for surviving the next battle. 

I liked that Arlen and Jardir continue to develop as people. Seeing Jardir start to question his beliefs as he learns more about Kaji’s own descent while Arlen starts to realize there may in fact be a Creator after all, was kind of neat. I thought that the birth of Leesha’s child and the politics surrounding its identity were handled well.

There are a number of touching, heartfelt moments in the book. I particularly liked when Jardir says his goodbyes.

The final battle was hard fought and gave a very satisfying ending for the series.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Nuit Blanche 2017

In addition to the Netflix Red Forest installation, here are some other things my husband and I saw at this year's Nuit Blanche in Toronto. This year's theme was "Many Possible Futures" so there was a definite SF twist to some of the exhibits.

The first one we went to was the Nature Deficit Disorder Clinic. After meeting with reception we got to look at the various posters explaining the dangers of this future where interacting with nature is at a destructive minimum. Brought into the first treatment room, we watched a short video that led to us deciding if we were best served by interacting with a tree, water, or rock. We could see other treatment rooms where some people were given a second 'treatment' with those items, but were told we didn't require immediate treatment and were sent on our way.

On the left is  Manitowapow,
speaking to the moon, an exhibit with dome tents lit up with nature scenes instide.

On the right is Laxa’ine’ gigukwdzikasi’ gigukwas Hayałiligase’, The Many Large Houses of the Ghosts, a light display on Old City Hall's clock tower.
At City Hall we found the Hendrick's Gin hot air balloon, giving rides to people who won golden tickets. This is where we lined up for 2+ hours for the Red Forest, after which we didn't feel much like waiting in another line. Which is why I only have an outside photo of the Monument to the Century of Revolution - an installation made up of several shipping crates that discussed specific revolutions as well as aspects of revolution (printing flyers, feminism, prisons, etc). 

The final installation we saw was Photon Gallery 3.0. 

There were several cool things to see here, like an audio modulated gas fire display (more base = higher fire).

Nuit Blanche: Photon Gallery 3.0 fire from Jessica Strider on Vimeo.

They also had a strobe powered falling water display.

Nuit Blanche: Photon Gallery 3.0 water from Jessica Strider on Vimeo.

And this really cool artwork by Alex Poutiainen.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Shout-Out: The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.
Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.
It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Waiting for The Core

I spent all of September rereading Peter V. Brett's Demon Cycle. That's four books of demon awesome. I planned my reading so that I would finish just before book five, The Core, came out on October 3rd.

On September 26th I got a shipping notification from Indigo saying my pre-ordered book was on its way. I was half way through The Skull Throne, so it was perfect. I'd get the book a bit early and be able to start reading it on Monday (I don't generally read on the weekends and I wanted a good stretch of uninterrupted time to read this).

Three days passed and the book, which started out in Toronto, which is where I live, hadn't been scanned at the Toronto depot yet or arrived at my home. Strange... Friday night I finally see an update. My package was scanned at the depot in Richmond, British Columbia. I live in Ontario. For some reason my package was sent to the other side of the country.

At this point I realize that if I'd just gone to a store to buy the book I'd have it already and my pre-order started to feel like a teasing punishment.

In order to send in a service ticket with Canada Post to figure out why my package was sent on a scenic detour, I needed the sender's postal code. So I called Indigo customer service where I was told they couldn't give out that information (really not sure why). The lady looked at the shipping info and was just as confused as I was as to why my package had been sent to BC. So she told me she could ship a replacement copy if I wanted (with the understanding that if both showed up I'd return one to a a store). I said sure, and she shipped copy 2.

Copy 2 was picked up on October 2nd, to be delivered on the 3rd. Yesterday I waited at home for my package. Usually my Indigo packages are just left at the door so I figured I'd have to wait for regular delivery, which comes around 4:30. Just after that I check the mail and find a pick-up slip for getting my package at a local post office on the 4th after 1pm. The mailman didn't even try to deliver the package, which it seems requires a signature (it was sent by a more expensive means than the other one) (ETA Got a message saying it's on its way to the post office today, so it may not have even been in the postal van).

Now, I know packages arrive at the post office the night the notices go out, so I tried calling in the evening on the off hope that it had been scanned there already. But I was told that their system was down and they couldn't do anything until tomorrow when their tech person could come and fix the problem.

So here we are, October 4th. Copy 1 is set to arrive today (will probably be left at my door), while I'm hoping to collect copy 2 at the post office just after 1pm. With any luck a few hours from now I'll be happily reading The Core. Assuming nothing else goes wrong...


At 1:30 I walked to the post office to learn that they'd JUST gotten their system running again. I handed in the notice and gave an approximate package size and the worker found it lickety split! I am now going to sit down and read this beautiful book (I mean, what a cover! I love that there's a second image under the dust jacket).

And at 2:30 copy 1 arrived at my door.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Book Review: The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais

Pros: adorable wolf, pretty artwork 

Cons: some scary images 

A little wolf cub is given a rabbit to bring to his ailing grandmother and warned away from an area of the forest where humans live. But little wolves, like little girls, don’t always follow instructions.

I’m not sure how to describe the artwork. It looks like watercolours, with most pages having a slight fantasy look to them. There’s lush greenery of the forest and strangely stylistic birds and bunnies. The wolves walk upright and have adorable cloaks. The wolf cub himself often poses in ways that show both attitude and emotion. The guard looks rather terrifying and there are a few scarier images though it’s on par with other fairytales in this respect.

I liked the little wolf a lot. While he’s portrayed as arrogant, he’s pretty typical of a child who wants to show some independence but isn’t quite as aware of the dangers of the world as he’d like to appear. He also faces some consequences for actions he chooses and has a dreadful moment when he’s done something bad and is worried his family will hate him for it. I felt for the little guy.

The story is very much in line with other fairytales. Obviously this one draws upon Little Red Riding Hood, but includes some innovations to the story. You can draw several messages from it or read it for fun. 

As an adult I enjoyed this and I suspect children will too.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Nuit Blanche 2017: Stranger Things "Red Forest" Installation

Last night Toronto had its all night modern art celebration, Nuit Blanche. As part of the event, Netflix set up a Stranger Things interactive installation of the upside down called Red Forest. My husband and I showed up about an hour into the program only to find a huge line - that got longer as we stood in it. We thought it might take 1-1 1/2 hours to get to the front, but we ended up in line for over 2 hours.

Towards the front we started seeing people wearing haz mat suits - which they then handed out to us (we got to keep them). This is when the exhibit got my heart pounding. Trying to stand and put this thing on was funny, but being in costume made it feel more sinister and real. This increased the closer we got to the exhibit proper.

Finally it was our turn! The exhibit was built in an underpass bridge between two buildings. There were three paths, one lit up blue in the middle with reds ones to either side. Hidden in the trees were bicycles, maple sap buckets and other oddities. Around the bases of the trees were a number of eggo waffles. 

Here's a short video I took walking around. All in all it was a really cool installation. Not sure I'd have stood in line knowing how long it would finally take, but it was a lot of fun once we were there. I'll upload some photos of the other exhibits we saw later this week.

Nuit Blanche 2017: Red Forest from Jessica Strider on Vimeo.