So, I was determined to attend this year and see if it lived up to the hype. The publicity leading up to it was astonishing for a Staten Island art event. We are used to being overlooked by the mainstream media, despite a LOT of effort. The Daily News will cover us sometimes, but the NY Times sends us a Metropolitan section in our Sunday Times, which is all about New Jersey (?????) and NEVER includes Staten Island listings. However, this year Lumen was covered prominently not only in the NY Times (in a couple of places AND with a picture!), but also in Time Out New York. And those were only the items I saw. The director of our arts council (COAHSI), Melanie Cohn, told me that it was due to the very hard work of two marketing interns from CSI. Kudos to them!
|Staten Island Ferry boats as seen from the neighboring pier.|
|The Verrazano Bridge as seen from the pier.|
Inside the renovated building, which was pitch black even at this daylight hour, there were several interesting installations, as well as a band warming up. All evening we ran across several drum kits and musicians warming up, but no actual live music. But we left at 10:15. Perhaps that was for the last hour.
|Sculpture made from construction buckets|
|This woman had to have been influenced by Ana Mendieta |
who did many "silhueta" installations.
|Ana was a grad student at the University of Iowa when I was an undergrad there. She was a big influence on my own work when I was exploring female empowerment images.|
We were greatly entertained overhearing a 20 minute conversation between a young man with a cooler, trying to explain to his friends at the ferry how to reach the site. I was astonished that so many people actually managed to find their way to the site. Every obstacle possible is put in the way of the most direct route; blockaded areas, signs that say "danger", "no entry", narrow almost invisible passageways between fences, and car traffic from the ferry. Seriously. Only armed guards with guns could make it more intimidating (but they are usually in the ferry terminal itself). I digress . . . back to the festival.
On the walk back towards the ferry terminal there was an avenue of sorts, with installations at perfect intervals. I especially enjoyed the ones which used the buildings as part of the pieces.
Such a perfect evening and like all successful site-specific art pieces, it highlighted the site as much as the art. The only drawback was that it needed beer, as per last year. It was such a laid back hanging-out-on-a-Saturday-night kind of thing that beer would have made it perfect. This was a big topic of discussion among the friends we ran into throughout the night. The word was that the public organization that controls the site had given an ultimatum "Do you want beer or do you want a festival?" Too bad.
Many thanks to Ginger Lynne Shulick, curator, and to COAHSI for sponsoring this festival. LOTS of people, time, effort and dedication is necessary to pull an event of this scale off and make it a success. AND the luck of good weather!