Readers, I am inspired.
On the evening of June 23, 2012 the borough of Staten Island in New York City, was the location of one of the finest examples of community building I’ve witnessed in a very long time. The annual Lumen Festival. Lumen is a festival of light, performance art, and film & video (of the avant-garde variety). I was interested in attending after seeing a photograph on their website, of a movie projector running, with a massive container ship behind it. Who wouldn’t go see something like that?
The event was free and to my surprise a lot of the vendors were giving away their goods for free as well. Free popcorn, watermelon and even bottled water. The pizza… not free but it was delicious and well worth the money. To prove that, the vendor,Carmelo’s, had a line almost the whole night – even though all the other foods were… well, free!
The live performance pieces were conversation starters in themselves, provocative, thought-provoking, some a little too out there for my taste and even annoying at times. Others like the one pictured above were impressive if not a little creep-a-delic. The light shows were inventive and original, others were the same neon tubes we see in Times Square. My favorite aspect of the festival was that it had been completely designed for and staged on an industrial waterfront – a salt dump to be precise. The Atlantic Salt Company forfeited their land for the day to let this happen. A good fraction of their salt inventory was used in the performances and lighting shows. Empty shipping containers were converted into little screening rooms and if this wasn’t enough, the view of the harbor and Manhattan in the distance would certainly blow you mind.
I was excited to see not just locals, but Manhattanites flocking to the festival. Most of the Manhattanites I know had no idea that the SI Ferry is free until I convinced them of the fact. For this one night event, Staten Island was on everyone’s mind and I think I got more satisfaction from that, especially considering the island’s reputation as the “Forgotten Borough”.
I took lots of pictures and video and even produced a short experimental film out of the footage. The pictures are available on myFlickr account and the video is en-route.
Here is a link to the entire collection of photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/norcrossmedia/sets/72157630269200104/
Thanks for checking out Breaking New Ground and looking forward to writing you later this week on my continuing experience with the Manhattan Film Festival.