Photo by Maddie Potter
FIGMENT is an “explosion of creative energy” that takes over Governor’s Island in New York City once a year. The festival is completely free, and run entirely by the efforts of volunteers. FIGMENT’s success is reliant on one thing: participation! We took to the FIGMENT festivities this weekend and explored the world of interactive and participatory art. The entire island was covered with interesting stories, performances, costumes, people, and our most favorite: art.
Siwon Park, a producer of FIGMENT NYC, explained to us that this festival is “a safe playground,” where everyone can play, interact, imagine, and explore themselves to the wildest extent. This beautiful description fully allowed us to experience the festival in an incredible way. While the island was filled with many different art installations, we managed to narrow it down to our 5 favorites.
1. Head in the Clouds, Studio Klimoski Chang Architects
Photo by Pamela Nguyen
Made of completely recyclable materials, Head in the Clouds gives visitors the chance to walk in the clouds and experience them from the inside out. It is constructed using aluminum tubing, water bottles, and milk jugs (53,780 to be exact). The jugs create the organic outer shape of a cloud, while water bottles filled with water and food dye create the cloud’s inner blue hue. With a DJ bumping music from inside of the structure, the installation was quite the hit. I mean, who can resist a cloud full of music?
2. It’s Not Food, Kimberly Bellinger
An artistic rebellion in toxic consumption, “It’s Not Food” is an installation designed to provoke you to ponder what is food, and what is simply just edible. The tree sculpture is created from a wood and wire armature, covered in McDonald’s french fries. The fries in the first image are over 2 years old, but look like they were just pulled out of a happy meal. These seemingly indestructible pieces dig in to your mind and prove a point. What am I actually eating?
3. PopDogs, Carlo Sampietro
PopDogs is an installation inspired by the concern of canine overpopulation, especially in urban areas. The term ‘consume’ isn’t a term you would often hear with describing pets. This piece “explores the global cycle of consumption and abandonment that happens when an object of desire becomes unwanted,” highlighting the immense crave for a new animal, then leaving it once disinterested. The metaphor relates back to popcorn, the smell is enticing, but if you abandon a popcorn maker, you can have a huge mess – overpopulation.
Photo by Maddie Potter
The Real Time Art Show is an experiment in social photography. This mini-gallery that at the festival was created and maintained in real time. Photographers roamed the festival grounds and reported back to drop off photos, where they would be printed and hung for visitors to view. Participants were invited to not just view the displayed art, but to interact with the photographers and photos, blurring the line between the artists and the subjects. If they liked a particular photo, they were welcome to take it home with them – thus becoming a curator of the gallery that deems what should be on display, and what should be taken down. Check out all the photos from the event at Real Time Art Show’s Flickr.
5. Congo, Hector Orellana
Photo by Stephen Stuart
Congo is a (fabulous) wooden elephant sculpture that now has a beautiful new pattern. Okay, we can’t lie, this one definitely scored some cute points. Anyone and everyone was invited to decorate and leave your mark on Congo – creating an entirely original piece with hundreds of artists. This installation highlighted the idea of team work and collaboration – something we all know the world wouldn’t exist without.
Be sure to visit the official FIGMENT Project website to learn how to get involved and where other festival locations are. We had an incredible time this weekend learning, playing, and imagining. Always remember, “…to live a creative live, you must first lose the fear of being wrong.”