NIGHT\SHIFT, November 2, 9pm to 3am. Presented by A\J.

On November 2nd, A\J is launching NIGHT\SHIFT, Kitchener’s inaugural nuit blanche-style festival of art, culture and nocturnal adventure. On the night of the autumn time change, come downtown to explore an unconventional showcase of arts, technology, bright ideas and nightlife on foot.

Shift your view of downtown with indoor and on-the-street visual creations, theatre, music, demonstrations and activities for everyone! Grab a bite to eat at the Duke Food Block headquarters starting at 7:00pm, help us kick things off in the lead-up to 9:00 and then check out all this and more throughout the night:

  • Installations and performances in downtown businesses, alleys and parks
  • An experiential music showcase by Weird Canada featuring Rich Aucoin
  • A spoken word showcase by K-W Poetry Slam & The New Quarterly
  • Local Focus Film Festival winners
  • Late night DJ’d yoga at Queen Street Yoga
  • Cycling-centric activities + bike gallery + more at BIKE\SHIFT on Otto St

Check out everything there is to see and do at NIGHT\SHIFT.

Why is an environmental magazine organizing an arts festival?

In an article profiling NIGHT\SHIFT in the Waterloo Region Record, arts columnist Martin DeGroot asked what an environmental magazine is doing “organizing a festival of art, culture and adventure along a downtown street?” Martin did a great job answering that question, but we figured we’d expand a little more.

Where did the idea come from?
The idea for a late-night event started with brainstorming for an issue launch event for our Night issue, which is out on newsstands right now. Through conversations with local artists and the City of Kitchener, it grew into something much bigger (and more exciting!) than we initially envisioned, and eventually turned into NIGHT\SHIFT.

Why the name NIGHT\SHIFT? Why not Nuit Blanche?
We like to think that the name sums up the goal of shifting common perceptions that people hold about Downtown Kitchener. We didn’t have anything against Nuit Blanche in particular, but we figured we’d see if we could come up with something else we liked, and NIGHT\SHIFT stuck. We're still using the 'light' theme of many other nighttime festivals in the language and imagery promoting the event. Our hope is that we can encourage people to see Kitchener in a different light and think about the city in new ways.

NIGHT\SHIFT also speaks to the time change happening the same night, the turning of seasons and the sense of possibility inherent in both gaining that extra hour and this somewhat magical, spooky time of year. It’s a bit of an homage to the city’s industrial history as well.

What does it have to do with the environment?
Envisioning change and a better future is a central goal at A\J. Exploration of the world around us is integral to achieving that goal.

We see NIGHT\SHIFT as encouraging people to engage differently with the built environment of downtown. The event and the artists involved are repurposing a number of pieces of downtown infrastructure, from roads and windows to trees and back alleys. We often forget that urban environments are still part of “the environment,” broadly speaking, and our approach to cities as a society will have vast implications for what our future looks like.

Plus, we love Downtown Kitchener and are constantly looking for ways to build relationships with other members of the downtown community. We also really like playing at the intersections of art and  environmental concerns, something you can see in a few of our previous issues, including this spring’s Art & Media.

Laura is a past A\J managing editor. She has an MA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, is an organizing aficionado, lackadaisical gardener, and former musical theatre producer. @inhabitings

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