15 RESTLESS NIGHTS at Harbourfront Centre's York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West), to November 5. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
15 Restless Nights is a winning art installation exploring Canadian identity.
The theme isn't new, but the work, using sound, text and image, is unique. Fifteen massive digital photographs of rumpled motel-room beds are accompanied by stories and original music.
Artist Derek Michael Besant has led an amazing collaboration with a diverse, mostly Alberta-based team that includes composer Paul Connolly, the Bent Spoon Ensemble jazz trio, Governor General's Award-winning writer Diane Schoemperlen and various readers in French and English.
Over the course of a year, Besant drove across Canada, spending every night in a different motel. Every morning he photographed the unmade beds in adjacent rooms, recording what Besant calls "metaphoric landscapes." The digital photos show rumpled sheets and pillows, but they represent the "distances of intimacy" between us.
The soundtrack is crafted from readings of Schoemperlen's haunting, heartbreaking stories. French and English are intermingled in tales of isolation, hope and longing, creating a truly bilingual experience. Connolly and the Bent Spoon Ensemble match these stories with a magical score that leads us through the artistic equivalent of a journey on the Trans-Canada Highway.