This open-ended inquiry is meant to revolutionize the way that we view art festivals. By keeping all restrictions at bay, Blackout Fest allows artists to use any medium under the sun while creating an interactive experience for the observer. For their first season, Blackout Fest incorporates film, theatre, photography, drawings, installation, music, fashion, multi-media, comedy, prints and poetry featuring 35+ artists during a ten day festival.
TheSceneinTO attended the Blackout Fest launch party on Thursday, August 9th at The Ice Factory – one of the unassuming late 1800’s factory spaces located just below the bustling West Queen West strip. Trying to find the venue was an interesting experience in itself, and we found ourselves wandering down Walnut Ave hot on the trail of purposeful fashionistas. After following them into an alley way, we found ourselves at a large set of black doors and entered a building without any signage.
Once in The Ice Factory, we were greeted by Blackout Fest volunteers with sinisterly painted faces before we were led up a flight of candlelit stairs into a brick-lined gallery space. The soiree, which offered a glimpse into the festival, treated party-goers to complimentary beverages; most notably the “Dark Lord” and “Blackout Punch” concoctions served in homemade tetra packs.
The night kicked off with a performance from multidisciplinary dance company Artists in Motion –whose ultimate question was “is evil born or made?” Attempting to answer this age-old question through the myth of “Pandora’s box”, the performers explored the conscious mind via contemporary, hip hop and African dance which promptly blew the audience’s minds with their palpable passion and dedication to their craft. Delivering an intensely visually and emotionally-charged performance, Artists in Motion explored the spectrum of evils that exist in not only our minds, but in all of humanity.
As DJ Volta drove the soundtrack for the evening, JessGo, a visual pop and abstract artist took over the gallery space with a live art piece called “Sex on Canvas” which answered her ultimate question: “what is human nature?” Using an attractive female muse as her canvas, JessGo raised eyebrows and drove male observers into a frenzy with various techniques such as spray, hand and action painting (randomized paint splashing, pouring and smearing).
All in all, the Blackout Fest launch party was a glimpse into a risqué and genre-defying festival experience that’s bound to change your preconceived notions about art.
Blackout Fest runs everyday (except for the 13th) until the 19th and you can purchase tickets here (http://www.ticketweb.ca/snl/Search.action?query=BLACKOUT+FEST).
All photos courtesy of: Maja Rabasovic