The ferry from lower Manhattan to Governors Island was filled with excited children and adults wearing feathers, sequins and other outlandish pieces of clothing this weekend, setting the tone for the playground of colors, sounds, and movement that marked Figment NYC. Running June 8th-June 9th, the festival grounds on Governors Island was transformed into a fantastical wonderland worthy of Seuss and Dali, a colorful and immaginative exhibition of arts, costumes, performances, and other sights, including a petting zoo and free clothing tent, which provided a helpful hand to those who arrived in less motley apparel.
Involving over 200 partcipatory art projects, some of which will remain on the island for the rest of the summer, Figment welcomed the crowds of eclectic and interested visitors to interact with practically every imaginable medium, including sculptures, installations, improvisation, meditations and music. One meditative piece, the Love Yourself Project, attempted to promote positive self-image and self-improvement through a multi-step process, where one contemplates both their bad and good qualities. The piece culminated in the audience making origami hearts, which will be assembled together in a freestanding sculpture.
Another project, entitled The Wishing Tree, involved writing wishes on pieces of ribbon and tying them to a plastic tree structure. These positive activities combined with the gorgeous weather perfectly complemented the festival’s aims of promoting communal sharing and camaraderie. Visitors played mini golf together in an artist-designed course, and acted alongside one another in spontaneous Shakespearean performances. What’s more, the events of the weekend were constantly being photographed by the in-house photography team, Real Time Art Show,who edited, printed and displayed the photographs as the festival went on.
Two of the most popular attractions on view included Head in the Cloud, and the large, colorfully painted TreeHouse. Head in the Cloud was a large interactive sculpture made of plastic bottles, designed by Studio Klimoski Chang Architects. Inside the cloud, visitors danced to the music of two DJs whilst gazing at the ceiling of bottles partially filled with blue liquid surrounding them. Vaguely reminiscent of the playful light sculptures of the Gutai, the work offered a wide-eyed, engaging space for dancing and relaxation.
TreeHouse, by Benjamin Jones, is a cornucopia of reclaimed items and curated artworks addressing the topics of sustainability. Inside the construction’s various rooms, viewers can peer through plastic domes filled with natural and man-made materials, thanks to Anastasiya Gutnik’s Biomorphs. In another section of TreeHouse, Suprina Kenney’s Strata is displayed. This work involved a fictional cross-section of a landmine in the future year of 2123. The piece explores the question of what a culture deems useless, and therefore discards and buries, relegating it to a space where it may stand as man’s sole evidence of existence. The structure of the tree house itself is a work of art, thanks in part to Brooklyn Artistry. Every inch of wood has been painted with patterns, pictures and words. There is a wealth of things to see and read, and will only increase over the course of the summer as the groups of artists continue to paint the structure’s intricate dreamscape.
Offering an imaginative and engaging take on sculptural and public art, Figment NYC’s series of innovative and peculiar works provided a unique experience for its visitors, who will surely wait eagerly for next year’s edition of the event.