By Maria Gotay

Nuit Blanche is a free annual One Night Only Light Extravaganza that took place this last Saturday night along the Greenpoint waterfront. The event takes place simultaneously all around the world in connection with other Nuit Blanche events. I personally have been looking forward to this event for about 364 days (since last year’s, which I also covered) and was so excited to experience a night of enthused hoola-hooping and glowstick-wearing crowds, incredible art installations, and of course, pretty lights.

Nuit Blanche aims to express to create a communal experience by utilizing interactive light exhibitions. According to their website, they accomplished this by “Inviting emerging and established artists to make site-specific installations of light, sound, performance and projection art, the event creates an immersive spectacle for thousands of visitors to re-imagine public space and civic life.”

Nuit Blanche expected 10,000 visitors this year and planned their spaces accordingly. The Festival Center took place at the lovely American Playground Park on Franklin Street and featured several beautiful large-scale pieces. The rest of the festival lined the blocks heading towards the waterfront and sprawled across several warehouse spaces. The park featured one of my favorite installations of the night, the very Dan Flavin-esque “Structural Light” (below) by Jason Peter, a geometric series of interconnected gradient-colored florescent light shapes which seemed to be hanging from branches of the magnificent tree above.

The festival might overstate its goals just a little. As far as reimagining civic life goes, there was little to lead me to drastically respect the other festival-goers with new eyes. However, there was a sort of neon comradare that guided the festival to greatness- an eagerness to see spaces, art, color, and Brooklyn in a new “light.” Others’ excellent costumes also enhanced the experience, from glow-in-the-dark hula hoops and facepaint to full-out body art- I met a very special “Glow Man” who was wearing a suit made of tens of tiny, solar-powered UV lights (below).

All in all, the festival was again a vibratingly beautiful, fantastic experience. Major props to the organizers and artists that make this night very special for thousands of people. Counting the days til Nuit Blanche 2011. Head over to their website to see more photos and learn more about the featured artists from the event.