New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, July 09, 2007


Figment was a one-day arts festival held on Governors Island - click here for more photos. There was a sense that this was to be a New York style Burning Man - many of yesterday's participants have attended and the organizers have themselves have referenced Burning Man as an influence. The event took place at Nolan Park, a historic district with a shaded green surrounded by period homes. Attendees were encouraged to bring projects, contribute and participate (at the Burning Man festival, being a spectator is discouraged in keeping with their 10 principles: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy.) Over 50 exhibitors attended with names like Misericordiam, Limbonade Stand, Krinkl-O-Torn, Groovehoops, Sisters, Earth Paint Tree, the Tub Project, Wish Tree, Zenbend Hanger Reuse Project, etc. From the Figment website: " Expect a dizzying array of fabulous art and activities, spanning a variety of imaginative possibilities ranging from ambitious sculptures to exquisite performance to wild costuming to edgy arts and crafts and beyond." The goals of Figment would not appear to be so ambitious for a first year festival, given NYC's large population and arts community. However, although having the fest on Governor's Island has its merits, having to transport everything and everyone by ferry definitely had a substantial impact. The free 10 minute ferry ride to Governors Island (the subject of a future posting) turned out to be somewhat harrowing. The lines for the ferry were huge, with waits of over an hour - by days end it was clear there would not be enough ferry space and crossings to carry everyone - only 6 ferries were scheduled between 10AM and 3PM. But I imagine this festival will build momentum and I look forward to seeing its growth in future years. Note: The events name "Figment" was inspired by an Andy Warhol quote stating that he would like his own tombstone to be blank: "No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I'd like it to say 'figment' " ...


RD said...

Surely there's no other place like NY. The pictures of the many festivals you've posted confirm that! What interesting (and unusual?) people inhabit that small island.

Brian said...

It's encouraging that non-mainstream
activities still exist in a city that is rapidly becoming so expensive that most of the participants for this type of thing can no longer afford to live in the city itself - or if they do they live a marginalized existence. For now, we import this type of event. It will be interesting to see where the future goes.

David Koren said...

Thanks Brian for your great photos and for coming to the event on Sunday! We had originally anticipated 200-500 people would come out, but then The New York Times published an article on Friday about the event, and the weather was superb--so we had over 2,800 people on the island, with possibly 1,000 more who could not get on the existing ferries. There was just no way to anticipate how many people would turn up, so there was no way to add additional ferry service or to accommodate in any way all the people who wanted to come. I think the attendance speaks to the hunger that people have for arts events like this. So, my apologies for the harrowing ferry ride and the time spent in line. We'll know what to expect next time, and we'll plan for it!

David Koren
Executive Producer

RD said...

I imagine it's every event planner's nightmare, not knowing how many people to expect! Good luck next year; I hope, Brian, that these kinds of unique communal events aren't done away with in a city like NY. There would be nothing sadder than a city full of only wealthy, disconnected people who had unintentionally run off the "real folk". How does a city plan for that?

Brian said...

David - It's speaks well of you to make an effort to apologize here (and seeing it was rather unpredictable).

rd - Good question. It's not that there is a conspiracy against the common person or artist. I believe it's just various market forces acting in confluence. Suddenly everyone wants to live here and affordable housing is relatively inelastic.