It must be something about the waterfront. Those Monetesque ripples, ripe for reflecting and dizzying one up with shifts from screen to scene. Something about the water makes everything seem so much more romantic and, in general, that’s what video festivals tend to need.
Despite the summertime crush of island based festivals, the most recent video/light incarnation (in the wake of popular Nuit Blanc spinoff’s Flashlight and Bright to Light) LUMEN on Staten Island offers a slightly different interpretation based in its performance art roots. Often simply a large-scale, site specific drive in, video festivals can leave something to be desired in terms of engagement and entertainment without a more down to earth shift in focus (or an amazing set of musicians to keep the audience moving). Utilizing an undeveloped and contested piece of federal waterfront property, Lumen takes advantage of existing structures (including several dilapidated buildings from the National Lighthouse Museum Site) by projecting on nearly every available wall and warehouse while also maintaining a central hub of indoor performance artists and vendors. With over 140 artists participating from around the world, despite its small island locale, the festival is a massive undertaking. Created and co-curated by Ginger Shulick, the festival is derived from her performance and video roots as a manager at Flux Factory and director of Arts Connects NY. She previously developed the Lumen project for COAHSI (The Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island) and after leaving her position there returned the following year to help replacement Monica Valenzuela take it to the next level. With five curators total ranging from deputy photo editor at Time Magazine, Paul Moakley (also the caretaker of the Alice Austen House) to the curators and creators of Grace Exhibition Space in Bushwick, what Lumen might lack in scope, it makes up for in scale.or every a blistering summer day
Collaborations, videos, food and art will line the area surronding The National Lighthouse Museum and with pieces like “Never Ending Freedom” (a patriotic performance piece by artist Myk Henry, which ends in a Gallagher style watermelon explosion) and “Clowntrodden,” (a utterly disturbing clown projection/performance piece) by Brendan Coyle and Steven Lapcevic, there’s no doubt Lumen is attempting to push some boundaries in an otherwise subdued Staten community. Despite these efforts Valenzuela, spoke a little about the struggle for many of the artists who reside on Staten Island, and of the Lumen project itself, due to their isolation from the vibrant and often connections based art scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn. With shows come introductions and press, but a ferry ride on a frigid winter night or a blistering summer day sometimes isn’t an option. Valenzuela’s solution? Bring the art to the island. Lumen takes place Saturday, June 25th and is one night only.
For a full list of artists participating as well as directions please visit: http://www.statenislandarts.org/blog/lumen/