Dance of the Cranes

900-tonne machines synchronized to instrumental music will take over Edmonton's night skies for inaugural Nuit Blanche

by emil tiedemann

"INITIALLY, when people hear about dancing cranes, they are thinking that it's a joke," Hamilton artist Brandon Vickerd told reporters at a recent media tour of his art installation "Dance of the Cranes Presented by Ice District," which will be one of the highlights of the upcoming Nuit Blanche event this Saturday (Sept. 26). 

The 'Dance of the Cranes Presented by Ice District' goes 11PM to midnight on Saturday, September 26th at the Ice District construction site.

"But when they actually experience the event it creates this huge communal [encounter] where people come together and share this esthetic experience, and it's usually very well received."

Picture four synchronized cranes stretched out into the night skies, "dancing" to instrumental music streaming from booming speakers that will fill the streets of downtown Edmonton for blocks surrounding Ice District. 

Although there are plenty of spots in which to view the 'Dance of the Cranes,' the best place might be the City Centre Parkade at 103rd & 103rd!

They will be operated by PCL staff who are already working onsite of Ice District, and who have never before had to train their 900-tonne machines to synchronize to choreographed routines. "It's fun, it's something different," admitted crane operator Kevin Bell, who has been training in four-hour sessions. "(I have) the best seat in the house!"

Vickerd came up with the concept one day while walking down the street listening to his iPod. "The music synched up with these cranes moving above me, and it struck me as a really beautiful, sublime experience." 

Hamilton-based artist Brandon Vickerd

His idea came to fruition for the first time in Toronto in 2009, and then again this past summer in Washington, D.C., but Edmonton's version will be the "largest and most ambitious" yet!

For anyone who is heading downtown next Saturday for the inaugural Nuit Blanche Edmonton - an art contemporary event that originated in Paris in 2002 - make sure you schedule your visit around this "massive spectacle," which kicks off at 11PM and runs for a full hour. 

Saturday will mark the first time Nuit Blanche comes to Edmonton!

The best place to view the show would be from atop the City Centre West Parkade (no parking in parkade) on 103rd and 103rd, though it will be visible from most places in the downtown core.

Nuit Blanche runs from 7PM until 4AM on September 26th, and will take over much of our downtown area. It is a free, all-ages event that will also include a Night Market until three in the morning. Click HERE for a full list of all art installations. See you there!


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