TIPS & TRICKS GUIDE: PROJECT POINTERS AND GUIDELINES FOR FIGMENT AND GOVERNORS ISLAND
Things You Will Need to Bring to the Island
• Everything! Governors Island is an island and if you don’t bring it, what you need is not going to be there!
• Smiles, patience and a cooperative attitude – you are a FIGMENT ambassador when interacting with Governors Island staff and the public. Be willing to offer a hand to other artists through the install and de-install process.
• Water, as there is no drinkable water supply on the island
• Food (food is also sold by vendors on the island as a service, but it never hurts to bring your own)
• A crew of helpers
• 100+ ft. of electrical cord (if bringing corded power tools)
• Any tools you plan to use for installation, de-installation or FIGMENT
• Sunscreen and maybe a hat
Limited electricity is available for installation and de-installation. Keep in mind that the closest outlet to your project will be over 100 feet away. Plan accordingly and bring your own extension cords and all tools necessary for install and removal of your piece.
Power during the weekend is available for selected FIGMENT artists who submit a project via our website by May 1 and coordinate with a curatorial contact.
Indoor Space Protocol
There will be limited indoor space for interactive electronic media projects. Please be prepared to submit any indoor project by April 1, 2013.
Outdoor Space: putting stakes down or making holes in the ground
We’d prefer that you didn’t. Since Governors Island used to be a military base (for about 200 years) nobody knows what kinds of unexploded ordinance may be under the topsoil. In order to put a stake in the ground, we need to have somebody official certify that there’s nothing explosive under THE EXACT SPOT where you want to put your stake. This certification process costs a few thousand dollars and is thus cost prohibitive for FIGMENT. Please anchor your art with heavy objects if at all possible. If you must put stakes in the ground, they can only be 6 inches deep. Please check with your curator before staking.
Outdoor Space: Which land is your land?
There are two separate groups that run different areas of Governors Island: the Island Trust and the National Park Service. Most of the island is run by the Island Trust (formerly GIPEC). Small parts are run by the National Park Service (NPS), the same group that runs many historic sites throughout the United States. NPS runs the forts – Fort Jay and its moat, the Fort Jay magazine, Castle Williams, and about 200 square feet of land surrounding both forts, including some pavement areas. The Island Trust runs everything else, including but not limited to Nolan Park and its houses, Colonel’s row, Picnic Point and Figment Terrace.
NPS and the Island Trust are separate bodies, and therefore, projects on land belonging to each are approved separately. The requirements are generally the same. The important difference is that NPS requires FIGMENT to submit proposed projects for their land EARLIER, by April 15, in fact. Therefore, projects interested in being considered for NPS land MUST submit to FIGMENT NYC by April 1, 2013, even though the regular art deadline is April 24, 2013.
NPS submissions are required to provide specific dimensions and materials, along with a specific requested site on NPS Land (example: Fort Jay Magazine). NPS submissions are required to have images. No submissions without images will be considered for NPS. Presentation images that resemble the final piece are acceptable.
FIGMENT projects that do not specifically request NPS land either in their proposals or to their curators will be placed on Island Trust land, simply because there is more of it. FIGMENT cannot guarantee NPS land even if it is requested.
If you are interested in learning more about NPS land, we recommend that you come on a site visit to Governors Island with a curator.
Selling things at FIGMENT
FIGMENT is an entirely free and non-commercial event in which everyone volunteers their time and effort to participate… the organizers, the artists, the participants. One of the things that FIGMENT tries to do is to create an area in which interactions between people are not mediated by commercial transactions of any kind. Everything at FIGMENT is free, and there is no advertising, nothing for sale, and no one insisting that you have to give a donation to participate. If people want to give a donation to help make FIGMENT happen, they can do so at a few donation boxes located only near the ferries and in FIGMENT Terrace. The idea here is that so many of our interactions with other people are based on commerce. At FIGMENT, everything that we do is a gift, is done for the pleasure of doing it and sharing it with other people. If that isn’t enough of a motivation for you, FIGMENT may not be the right venue for you. Please note that entities that are not part of FIGMENT will be selling food on Governors Island during the event as a service. The food carts and drink vendors are not part of the FIGMENT event.
While Governors Island is surrounded by water, it’s an active harbor and not a beach. There is no potable (drinkable) water on the island and no waterfront access. If you need a small amount of water (a bucketful) for your project, there is a hose. Please do not place projects in the water.
If you are truly dedicated to propose a project in the water, you must realize what it means to put a project in an active harbor. It’s not a beach, and it’s not a lake. It’s a harbor with rough current, tidal flows, and a lot of boats, some of them VERY big. If you are considering doing a project on the water, please consider carefully (1) where the project will go, (2) how will you keep it there, (3) how will it float, and (4) how you would convince the local authorities to give you permission to build and maintain your project for the duration of FIGMENT. If, and only if, we’re confident that you’ve considered all these issues, we will work to secure permission for your project with all appropriate local and maritime authorities. This is a complex process, and we cannot be sure if we will be given permission for your project to be on the water.
Balloons and Flying things
Without getting the FAA involved, you can go as high as 149′, no more. With FAA permission, it’s not a big deal to go up to 500′. Please let us know if you think your project will be higher than 149′ from the ground.
Cooking and Food
Unfortunately we cannot cook or distribute food on the island. We can however bring food for ourselves and our friends, i.e. a picnic. In addition there will be several food carts on the island during the event. There’s no cooking allowed on the island without a catering license.
There is no fire allowed on the island this year.
Yes! Just as long as your chalk art doesn’t seem like directional signage and confuse people about where to go. Chalk art (which washes away with water) is good! Please realize that Governors Island is NPS property – We do need NPS approval for ANYTHING that happens on their property. If you are bringing chalk, please submit your project so your curator can work on getting that approval.
Transporting Your Project
Think modular design. It is important to consider the transport and final assembly of your project in the design. It is ideal to have practically ALL of the major construction completed before bringing it to the island. Projects should be created in pieces that are movable by a maximum of 4 people. Be sure to coordinate a crew for your installation / de-installation. All materials must be able to be transported on the Governors Island Ferry which has a maximum clearance of 12.5 feet.
If it takes more than 4 people to move your completed project we strongly recommend you divide your project into multiple sections so it is easier to install, de-install and move should the need arise. We recommend transporting projects in “granny carts” and dollies. If you need a table, consider a collapsible one that fits on a dolly. These items are available at most hardware stores.
How to make your project participatory
FIGMENT is a unique art event in that all projects presented at the event must be participatory and interactive. Participatory art involves the participation of the audience in the creation of the work. We encourage artists who may work in more traditional ways to introduce a participatory element to their pieces for FIGMENT.
To help get you started, here are some suggestions:
- Host a workshop with your piece and teach others how to make their own pieces using your methods.
- Integrate a performance element into your piece – musical, theatrical, dance, or “performance art” are all welcome, and more!
- Host an activity with your piece.
- Create a new piece of work at FIGMENT and involve the audience in its creation – for example, painting or building.
For more ideas, submit your project so that a curator can help make your idea a reality.