Set Your Clocks to Night\Shift

On November 5, the Night\Shift placehacking art and music festival will take over downtown Kitchener with light, sound and creativity for the fourth year in a row.

Taking place on the night of the autumnal time change, Night\Shift (or N\S) is a nocturnal art crawl that features “pop-up art and performance, participatory creativity and impulsive community building,” according to the N\S website. The intent is to hack the places where we spend time and reimagine them as pieces of art and music.

This year’s program hosts around 60 individual artists across 20 musical acts and 10 installations, spread throughout 15 different venues downtown. The festival organizers are deliberate in their goal to empower local artists and makers, and are financially supporting 12 acts this year through help from sponsors and contributing partners.

Since 2013, N\S has drawn out the hidden possibilities in our built environment through its participatory installations, community performances and mixed media exhibits – typically in familiar spaces. This year is no different, as a psychedelic theme has emerged throughout the program, and electricity and light pulses through all the acts.

Local artists and long time contributors to N\S, nik harron and Bernie Rohde will be presenting a “human-sized, sound activated, light-amplifying, psychedelic collision of art and technology.” Their infinity tunnel installation re-imagines a long interior hallway with infinity mirrors, providing a place to spend time exploring its never-ending space. Surrounded by sound responsive LED lights, the tunnel will respond to the sounds of the downtown audience and nearby musical acts by flashing and moving, creating a visual representation of community.


In the Kitchener city hall rotunda, Dylan Reibling will be presenting a 24 hour filming installation where a camera, placed on a dolly to be manually pushed around a circular track, will record for 24 hours, continuously capturing whatever enters its frame. Passersby are welcome to participate in whatever way they want – whether that be to stand in front of the lens and grin, utilize the performance opportunity or interact with the props on hand. The recording will be projected in the same space, transforming the rotunda into a dual temporality of the real time projection and a time capsule recording.

“[This piece] is a really interesting combination of an endurance test and a spontaneous participatory event,” festival director Eric Rumble proudly shares.

In a similar bid for community driven creativity, Night\Shift  is collaborating with the Kitchener Public Library, 100 Guitars for 100 Kids and School of Rock to present DTK Re-Axe, a project that reimagines guitars as multimedia canvases.  The group of artists are working with ten local tech companies to adopt old and unsalvageable guitars into  pieces of visual art. The reimagined instruments will be presented during the month of November at the KPL.

These three installations are just a preview of the multitude of place hacking projects that will occur on November 5.  Musical performance is also central to the program and (mostly) local groups including Jennifer Castle, Charlena Russell and Bjorn Borg Collective are all bringing their talents downtown. And for those who truly want to put in the distance in the wee hours of the night, there will be a venue open until 5 a.m., that will shift to a dance party after 2 a.m.

Night\Shift continues to foster the strong arts community in the Waterloo Region, this year promising to bring together creatives  from the library to breweries, art galleries and tech companies. The urgent and immersive drive of the festival thrusts the community into a new season with a reimagined and reinvigorated sense of the spaces where they live.