Remember the quotes from the event I attended in New York? That last one - "So..what will you bring?" was from David Koren's concluding speech. Otherwise in architecture, he's also the founder of Figment - a "participatory arts festival" that brought Governor's Island alive again in NYC. Everyone who submits a project to be part of it has to have something that involves others, and their senses, in more than a "here is my art, admire it" kind of way. It's also a completely non-commercial event. The thing is, I like admiring art and art projects, and I'm the type of person that's more comfortable admiring from the outside. I don't need to be in it, but in the spirit of getting outside of my usual box, I decided that if a Figment festival every came around where I was, I would check it out.
Figment was in DC this weekend - unlike the one in NYC which goes on for weeks, DC's was just a day, held out in Yards Park. And unlike the one in NYC which now gets all sorts of press coverage because of the sheer number of people it draws in. In fact, I almost missed it - I just caught it in a weekend write up at the last minute.
The festival is just starting in DC so it's still pretty petite but that doesn't mean there wasn't enough to do. A lot of projects reminded me of the more experimental things that are usually reserved for college students but then again, is growing out of experimentalism always a bad thing? Part crafts fair, part hippie-ish get together, part festival and part utopia is how I would describe it. This is place where wigs, wings and tutus are totally appropriate even if its not Halloween, so of course diplo-tot and I showed up in collared shirts and matching marinieres - ha!. A field of painted paper plates, fencing with swimming pool noodles on bicycles, a super hero costume station (diplo-tot wouldn't take off her cape for the rest of the night), a place to throw "beneficial mud balls" into the river, a hula hoop-a-thon...that's the type of exhibit showing at the festival. And of course you had some juxtapositions inevitable to DC: the gentleman leading the laughter yoga in a "Peace, Love, Happiness" t-shirt with a guided missile destroyer ship right behind him was just one of those things you get around here. Yet both worlds seem to have a home.