The 10th Annual Figment NYC participatory art festival got underway yesterday on Governors Island, though really the day was more about last-minute prepping for the weekend. Because although participants and performers were sparse on what was a drizzly afternoon, Figment historically draws huge crowds to the park, so expect thousands more people than what you see in these photos, plus all manner of freakily-dressed folks running around doing crazy arty things.
Yesterday was an excellent day to preview some of Figment's sculptural and architectural installations, however, most of which will remain on the island all summer long. There's a new treehouse, for example, located as usual at the south end of the massive Parade Ground. Designed and constructed by a dozen architecture graduate students, who call their creation FELIX, the treehouse consists of small, interconnected yurt-like rooms made from standard wood planks and two-by-fours. Frustratingly, climbing is not allowed (Figment's insurance sky-rocketed this year), and we don't envy whoever's job it will be to chase kids off these oh-so-inviting structures all summer.
Also on the Parade Ground is the new Figment Minigolf Course, 11 holes created by different artists with themes ranging from an iPhone charger to a watermelon picnic to a mousetrap. Figment's golf holes are usually more politically provocative than this year's bunch, but maybe they felt like we could all use a break during this endless election season. It's once again completely free, and will be open all summer.
Other highlights of the weekend festivities seem to be the Aqua Attack battle arena, back again for the eighth year in a row ("two teams enter, hurl sodden stuffed animals at each other, and everybody wins"); the Shaded Chambers "village" of domes in the center of the Parade Ground; and all of the kid-centric activities in the exceptionally pretty Nolan Park area. Also of note: the sound installation in Fort Jay's old Ammunition Storage Magazine, an underground warren not usually open to the public.
The Figment NYC art festival is happening Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. on Governors Island. Admission is free. Ferries for the island leave from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan.—Scott Lynch