The participatory art festival FIGMENT NYC transformed large chunks of Governors Island into a sort of Burning Man Lite® this weekend, as families, artists, DJs, activists, club kids, regular-type kids, performers of all sorts—an estimated 25,000 folks in all—took the ferry on over for two spectacular days of free fun in the sun.
FIGMENT has been offering up its all-volunteer, non-commercial, unsponsored brand of amusements on Governors Island since 2007. Even though it's grown considerably since then, there remains a determined DIY aspect to the whole thing. One well-heeled man was observed trying, repeatedly, to buy one of the cool Akinori Matsumoto kinetic sculptures, for example, and couldn't seem to understand that the answer was "no".
In addition to a half-dozen dance "floors" scattered throughout, musical performances, a drum circle (in which the drum was a canoe), and several variations on the "write something involving your feelings and hang it here with all the others" interactive type of installation, there's always an overall festive feeling to FIGMENT thanks in part to Kostume Kult, which brings a tent-load of random get-ups and hands them out to all comers. The lines between artists and participants are blurred until they become, in the best pieces, non-existent.
Though the FIGMENT NYC Festival is over, all of the primary structures and installations built for the weekend will remain up all summer. That includes the colorful TreeHouse filled secret nooks, interactive sculptural pieces and a slide; Oreen Cohen's tele-kaleidoscopes, A Touch of Modern's giraffe, and the rest of the sculpture garden at the bottom of the Parade Ground. And of course there's the free mini-golf course, where each hole is created by a different artist or collective; here Bloomberg and Christie are freely mocked, and Occupy Wall Street and Bike Lanes held in high esteem.