The spread of interactive art to Governors Island, NYC

Two weekends ago, I biked to the free ferry that runs between Manhattan and Governors Island, the latter of which is open during the summer through early fall. My purpose: participate in FIGMENT, an interactive art exhibit organized by local artists and inspired by Burning Man principles. After stuffing my bike onto one of four bike racks lined up in the carport part of the ferry, I pedaled my way around the island, stopping at art exhibits (plus a distant view of the Statue of Liberty) and performances along the way. Even though FIGMENT is now gone, the mini-golf course and other installations remain through Oct. 2010. A bike isn’t necessary to explore Governors Island (you can rent a bike or a multi-person bike); you can also easily walk the island by foot.

Here are two examples of the 2010 FIGMENT art installations:

Cradle made from an oil drum and military attire (like Rosemary's Baby cradle)
Stryofoam packing material recycled - a totem to consumer goods?

Burning Man’s PRECOMPRESSION Sat., June 19th in San Francisco

For those of you in the Bay area, this is a chance to participate in a pre-Burning Man event in San Francisco. Bring your art, volunteer, and meet new friends!

“Burning Man presents a Mega-PRECOMPRESSION…
Launching our 25th BURNING MAN Season!!!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
8pm to 4am; Come early to avoid the line and not miss the fire performances!
At The Concourse Exhibition Center and parking lot next door
635 8th St (enter at 7th St & Brannan), SF, CA 94103

$25 Advanced sale here. $30 Door in costume/playa finery; $35 street clothes; 21+ over; Outside Fire Art & Sculpture Garden; Inside Art & Artifacts

Art • Music • Performance * Fire Artistry * Theme Camps * Art Cars * You!

A historic & spectacular night! Celebrate on the original Summer Solstice weekend it all began in 1986 with a fiery and festive Precompression event in the heart of San Francisco! Ramp up your Radical Self-Expression because tonight marks the launch of the 25th Burning Man season and we want YOU to pARTicipate!

Join MANY longstanding playa favorites! Look back at where we’ve come from and get a sneak preview of Metropolis 2010 projects and where burners are going as a global community and culture.

Music & Performances: Mutaytor; Copper Lantern Fire Theater; Soul in the Machine; Vau de Vire Society; Capacitor; MoPo; Nocturnal Sunshine; Space Cowboys (8ball, Deckard, Zach Moore, EricHz, Kapt’n Kirk); UBUV; Afrolicious; Pyronauts; Scot Jenerik; Hookahdome; Gooferman; Smoove; Fou Fou Ha!; Dex Stakker; Hybridz ‘R Us; Mancub; Bad Unkl Sista; ICON; Tom Jonesing; EO; The Fossettes; Hobo Gobbelins; Shredder Hoops; Metamorphosis Ballet; Imps of Sneth; Firish; Kiss & Tell; Dark Sparkle Burlesque; CaroLuna; Isopop; Monkey Chant; DJ Dragonfly; Vulcan Crew; Neon Bunny; Ian Michael Smith & Bliss Butterfly; Mo Corleone; Shovelman; Alt Tal; Justin Credible; Spiral; Magician Brad Barton; beatbox by One Mouth Band; Matt Jalbert; SatsiSonik; Whiskey Devil; Nancy Asiya Belly Dance; a Kidnap Fashion Show “curated” by Animal Control; and MEGA-many more!

Art & Artifacts: Jennybird Alcantara; Dana Albany; Maricela Alvarez; David Best; Bruce Beeley; Joegh Bullock; James Cole; Karen Cusolito; Dan DasMann; Tony Deifell; Chris De Monterey; Wally Glenn; Emma Hardy; Justin Gray; Flaming Lotus Girls; Flux Foundation; Al Honig; Laura Kimpton; Kinetic Cab Company; Lasers&; Danny Macchiarini; Nightshade; Playaflies; Kitty Gordon; Jess Hobbs and Rebecca Anders; $teven Ra$pa; Pierre Riche; Mini Man & The Mini Man Crew; Brad Templeton; Todd Williams; Ben Zero; and more!

Art Cars & Camps: Playapus Corralus; Bed Rock Hot Rod Taxi; PhotoBoof; Tundra Bunny; Nautilus X; The UNIMOG; Black Rock Indie Fest; Peoples Spa; Workshop Corner; Earth Guardians; Little Shop of Horrors, Excellent Adventure Display, etc and HOORAY!

So, dust off that playa spirit and dress to express! This night is the focal point of a full month of celebrations and events leading up to our 25th Burning Man event and the year beyond. You won’t want to miss it! More info and schedules:

Artists, art cars, non-sound theme camps, and acoustic performers still interested in participating, email: Especially string musicians to play unamplified in the sculpture garden after our sound permit ends outside.

To volunteer:”

The Great Metropolis Face-off, Burning Man vs. the Big Apple, round 8: disorientation

Black Rock City denizens quickly learn not to take their city for granted. A theme camp, art project, or landmark might be here one day and gone the next, disorienting those who rely upon such markers to return to their home camp. (A few may give up and choose to snooze elsewhere for the night.)

During a construction boom, cities like New York City also are characterized by transience. An empty lot or new construction often generates some head-scratching about what existed in that spot weeks or months before. Sometimes the changes are inexplicable, like the addition of a store devoted to plastic shoes to a historic townhouse. Preservationists still mourn the replacement of buildings like Penn Station.

For more changes in Manhattan, such as the conversion of Fifth Ave. from stately residential homes to stores/office buildings, see Max Page’s The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940 (1999, University of Chicago Press). For perspective on more recent changes, see Sharon Zukin’s Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (2010, Oxford University Press).