When David Koren visited Governors Island in 2005, he saw more than an idle mass of land plagued by a federal government deed that prevents permanent housing from being erected there. Instead, he saw a crowning destination for the arts. In 2007 he organized Figment, a participatory arts festival that brought together resources from the island, area artists, and a crazy-cool ethos gleaned from Burning Man in Nevada.
Four years on, Koren’s vision is still going strong. Each summer, the free event rolls out a sculpture garden, a mini-golf course, and an architectural pavilion done in collaboration with the Emerging New York Architects Committee of the AIA New York Chapter and the Structural Engineers Association of New York. This month, Figment kicks off with a ten-piece interactive sculpture garden, derived from more than forty submissions of sustainable designs. Stand-outs include Zaq Landsberg’s Face of Liberty, a one-to-one scale replica of Lady Liberty partially submerged into the island grounds, and Benjamin Jones’ TreeHouse, a wind-and solar-powered cottage made from salvaged material from Brooklyn streets that was included in the event last summer. Meanwhile, the fest curated its eight-hole mini-golf course from arcade game-inspired submissions, where visitors can channel old school faves like Asteroids and Super Mario while perfecting their putt.
Figment take place June 9-10, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.