For reasons still not completely clear to me, my entire body was sore the morning after Figment, an annual grassroots participatory art festival that is touring the United States.
soreness might have been brought on by dancing to the music blaring out of a
giant roaming toad, or maybe it was biking around the festival or perhaps it
was the questionable decision to roll down a hill. But it was probably just my
body trying to tell my brain I wasn’t a child anymore, because after spending
the day at Figment, my brain forgot.
Figment is a free festival that began on New
York City’s Governor’s Island in 2007, and has since moved to a
handful of other US cities. Jackson, Mississippi and New York City hosted
events earlier this year, and the festival will travel to Detroit, Boston,
Washington DC and Pittsburgh through October, with Detroit up next on 21 and 22
producer David Koren and other founders began Figment, they wanted to bring the
Burning Man ethos — or as Koren
wrote, the idea of working “collaboratively together to make great things happen” — to a space that all New Yorkers could
enjoy. Now in every city that hosts a Figment event, hundreds of volunteers
offer their time to ensure that this can happen. And though the founders did
not create Figment with children in mind, they did intend for it to be fun, and
as such, the festival is an amazing place for kids
for sale at Figment: one of the tenets of the festival is unconditional gifting.
For example, Aqua Attack is an installation involving costume-clad heroes and
villains hurling soaked stuffed animals at each other in a war of good and
evil. Afterward, participants can keep the costumes they chose to wear.
are a couple of sculptures not meant for climbing, “no touching” signs are not
to be seen. Everything is meant to be played with. If Figment were a country,
it would be the happiest in the world – and I would apply for citizenship
pieces will make their way around the country, each event is unique to its
city. In New York, adults and children ran around the interactive sculpture garden,
banged on a set of plastic industrial drums, painted silk tapestries and played
this year’s version of the annual minigolf course, a project where different
artists created each of the nine imaginative holes, some of which reinvent the
game’s basic principles.
Many of the
will remain on Governor’s Island throughout the summer, including the free
city, Figment is about local artists coming together to building a temporary
community, where smiling people are willingly launched into interaction with
the art and each other.