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2008 White Night in Paris – 4th October *** UPDATED ***

Art and Culture

From 7pm to 7am, a night of art installations and projections all around Paris, this year concentrating on the city’s train stations, but with quite a few events in some amazing churches too…



It’s the seventh year of this unusual and generally entertaining festival (depending on the weather of course; a night of rain is no fun for anyone). This year’s programme has been devised by two gentlemen that you’ve probably never heard of (so I won’t even mention them), but one is a film producer/distributor and the other is DG of the Fondation Cartier. Pretty posh stuff!

The full programme has yet to be announced, but here are some of the major events planned.

Shaad Ali at the Gare de Lyon

You’ll be able to watch Shaad Ali, a young Bollywood filmmaker, film a song and dance number for his next project. Could be grandiose!

Gi Dexin at Saint Sulpice

Gu Dexin is a Chinese artist born in 1962 who will be amplifying the spiritual atmosphere of the Saint Sulpice church with a bright light that will « escape from the wall towards the sky or the heart of the church. » Sounds interesting…

Pierrick Sorin at Gare de l’Est

Pierrick Sorin’s installation « You are all my friends » will be orchestrated by the man himself together with the hep of the public. Five « optical theatres » will project miniature people onto the glass at the front of the station, with each little interlude being projected onto the building just opposite.

UPDATE: Saint Lazare will also be used during the night, with british duo Semiconductor « bringing in the sun, » (???) and electrically-assisted tricycles will be available to get between the stations!

Javier Tellez at the Eglise Saint-Eustache

His film « Letter On The Blind For The Use Of Those Who See », based on an Indian parable called « The blind man and the elephant » will be shown on a big screen. Intriguing…

Jeremy Blake at the Eglise Saint-Paul

This work from 2001 (the artist committed suicide last year, aged 36) is made up of five plasma screens showing a succession of abstract, pixelised images inspired by public transport.

Tony Oursler at Gare du Nord

(top photo). More projections, made this time with the help of forty pupils from a local school, who will be seen singing or whispering giant-sized on the building’s façade. Other « surprising visuals » are to be seen on the platforms too.

UPDATE: A couple of Paris’ towers are also getting in on the act. The freshly-restored Tour Saint Jacques, a 63m Gothic edifice at Chatelet, will be illuminated by Chinese artist Gu Dexin. And the modern (and many would say ‘ugly’) Tour Montparnasse, polluting the Paris skyline at 210 metres high, will be the subject of a son et lumière by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda.

Also, a bamboo stage will be erected in front of the Comédie Française at Palais Royal, where a troupe of opera singers from Guangzhou will be accompanied by projections by Hong Kong film-maker Johnnie To.

Patti Smith at the Eglise Saint-Germain

photo: Annie Leibovitz

Our favourite art-rocker will be back in Paris after her recent great exhibition and just a few streets down from our Jardin de l’Odéon hotel, with a musical performance based on texts by Saint Francis of Assisi. Her family will be helping her out too, with son Jesse on piano and son Jackson on guitar. Apparently she will be playing « all night, with a few intermissions. » Should be packed.

UPDATE: It has also been confirmed that the metro will be open until 2am for the night, with the line 14 open all night.

There are a few more details (in French only unfortunately) on the official site.

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