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Figment* 2008 on Governors Island

This weekend, FIGMENT 2008, a free, non-profit art project, drew upwards of 10,000 people to Governors Island for a three day festival of performance, music and participatory art. Partnering with Governors Island, the producers of FIGMENT hope to increase the enjoyment of art by placing it in an under-utilized public space just minutes from downtown. Streetfilms was there to cover the event and speak to one of the creators on what it's all about.

[intro music]

David Koren: [00:22] This is the Figment event. It’s Saturday and we’ve got, I don’t know how many thousands of people here, but at least five thousand. It’s a participatory arts event. This is its second year and last year we had a one day event where about 2800 people made it to the Island. And this year it’s a three day event with something like 10,000 people. It’s a non commercial event. It’s a low budget event. It’s an entirely volunteer event. So the city really has… there’s no conflicting interest. It’s not like we’re trying to make ourselves statements or get our own art show, we just believe in this, we’re trying to make it happen. I think the Island has recognised that as one of their key goals is to bring more and more art out. And so I would like to think that Figment last year was a part of getting that agenda, personal agenda forward and I think what we’ve shown this weekend is that a lot of people will come out for an arts event. And that art is something the future of the Island can really be about. Our real goal is to bring as much art out that’s participatory in nature. So it’s less about here’s my canvas that I painted in my cave, please look at it, and more about work that’s been created by people collaboratively or work, that when you set it up, that people can engage with it and inspires dialogue and builds community around it. It’s kind of no secret that a lot of the people who created this event, you know, have experience with the burning man event in Nevada, and so we’re used to kind of the spirit of participation. We’re trying to show that to New York and kind of marry this participatory burning and energy with the arts community in New York to create something bigger. A couple of principles, you know, we’re following the same ten principles that burning man has set up and created. In a way we’re following them… we’re taking them further because it’s free to come here, you know, so it actually is inclusive. If you want to be a part of this, you can be. It’s not an expensive thing. It’s a totally free ticket. Because we have a partnership with the Island, it enables that to happen. We got three grants we received for the event, which is great, and we’re just hoping to see… receive some donations and do some fundraising so that it can grow next year and we sort of have a list of like what would we do with a little bit more money, what would we do first. And so that’s the kind of question, will people support this. Because we don’t want to be, you know, kind of throwing it in everybody’s face, like suggest a donation, you know, $10, please give it to us. So we have a donation box up front, that donation box will go back with the mini golf course after the event and spend the summer there. We have an online donation system and we have the event tonight in Castle Clinton, so we hope it’s a successful fundraiser to cover our costs for this year and sort of to build for the future. Our figment website is figmentnyc dot org and it’s got very clearly sort of four buttons on the bottom, I think, of every page. There’s participate, which means submit a project, so that’s obviously closed for this year and we’ll be opening up for next year later this year. There’s a… you can join our mailing list. There is a button to donate and there’s a button to volunteer. So we’ll be looking for volunteers throughout the year to help keep this going as well. Even if you don’t come out for Figment, come out to the Island and have a look at what’s out here cos there’s a lot of art going on all summer and the island is really making an effort to bring as much art out here as possible. Mini golf will be here till October 5th. The emergence exhibit that we have in building 14 will be there till the end of July, so there’s a lot going on.

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  • http://www.walkroll.com Lois Moss

    Hello Nick, I linked over from Urban Velo after watching the Bike-Lane Emergency video. I love what you're doing! Keep the creativity flowing.