Night of Dread


in Daily updates, Photography, The outdoors, Toronto

Yesterday, I participated in the novel, engaging, and pleasantly pagan festivities at Toronto’s Night of Dread. Put on by the Clay and Paper Theatre Company (whose work I have photographed before), the evening involved both small and gigantic representations of fears including ‘corruption’, ‘nuclear war’, ‘selfish leadership’, and ‘lack of stability’.

Accompanied by drummers and brass instruments, a parade marched out from Dufferin Grove Park and out around the neighbourhood before people assembled to see some of the fears burned atop a massive bonfire, followed by more music and special bread. I can’t explain exactly why, but seeing families and children at the event was comforting and encouraging. It may have something to do with the act of physically coming together within a community, making art, and participating in a non-commercial spectacle together.

The sense of history that accompanies gathering around a fire is also a comforting reminder that humanity has always had troubles. It is easy to look at woes from nuclear meltdowns and tsunamis to wars and currency crises and think that we are living in the worst of times, or even the end of times. Gathering in a manner that would have been recognizable to people from thousands of years ago drives one to think about all the fears, misfortunes, and tragedies that have afflicted the world across that span, and it kindles a hope that we might overcome (or at least continue to contain) the dangers and sorrows that exist now.

The symbolism may not be sophisticated, but it is rather satisfying to see enormous representations of fears marched around and eventually burned. The pyrotechnic element reminded me of Luminox.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan October 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm

The last of my Night of Dread photos are uploading now. Given other commitments, I wasn’t able to custom process each RAW file and apply various Photoshop tinkerings. These are straight from the camera.

Still, the event seems appropriately represented using unmanipulated images:

Fire spinners

The ‘gravy boat’ aflame

Dancing with death

Bonfire up close

Luminous panda-child

. October 31, 2011 at 10:47 pm
. October 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm

The 12th annual Night of Dread
By Clay & Paper Theatre

Tristan November 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Looks like a great event!

. January 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm

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