When it comes to nightlife and contemporary art, Paris doesn't have much to teach London, but there's no denying that 'Nuit Blanche Video' fills an after-dark, art-shaped hole in the capital's calendar. The idea for this night of video art, which takes place across the West End, is simple. Take a smattering of high-profile galleries like White Cube and Victoria Miro, and boutiques, take over their windows after they've shut up shop and beam a selection of beautiful moving images into the city night.
'The title refers to "Nuit Blanche" in Paris, a dusk-till-dawn art festival that's a massive success and now takes place in cities around the world including Montreal, Madrid, New York, Chicago and Rome - basically everywhere except London,' says London-based French broadcaster and curator Maïa Morgensztern who, along with French curator Marie Shek and London art consultant Yasmine Datnow, is bringing this weekend's screenings to London.
The trio landed on the West End, Morgensztern explains, because 'we wanted a trail that would be manageable for people. You have the biggest concentration of galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs here, so it's perfect for art fans, locals, partygoers and tourists.' Part of their aim was to open up the gallery scene to a wider audience: 'Lots of people are too intimidated to walk into an art gallery,' explains Morgensztern. 'But with this there's chance to follow the map (available online) or just stumble upon some amazing art.'
If you've ever found yourself standing outside a gallery wondering a) if it's open, and b) how you get in, this illuminating event is definitely for you. Chances are, you'll find a gem. And if you don't, it's a great opportunity to practice your best Gallic shrug.Nuit Blanche Video takes place this Saturday Sep 20 from 7pm-7am at various central London galleries and shops. Find out more at nuitblanchevideo.com and discover the five we'd especially recommend in the gallery below.