An Island of Light and Performance. The 2014 LUMEN Art festival

Photos and text by David LaGaccia

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Paige Fredlund (left) and Kaia Gilje (right) used the salt to create intricate patterns during their performance.

After spending last year at Lyons Pool, the 2014 LUMEN Arts Festival was back at the Atlantic Salt Company on Saturday, June 28th, gathering over 50 local and visiting visual artists, sound artists, and performance artists. The artists used the many large mounds of salt that were scattered throughout the event space to display video and new media work, as well as using them as inspiration for creating performances. The show was curated by Esther Neff and David C. Terry, and was organized by the Staten Island Arts. Previous curators have included Jill McDermid of Grace Exhibition Space, and Ginger Shulick Porcella, the current executive director of the San Diego Art Institute.

LUEMN, which has after five years has become an annual summer event in Staten Island, focuses on curating interactive video and performance work for the visiting public to engage and enjoy. The show is always a fun event, with a short ride across the New York harbor on the Staten Island Ferry and onto an island of lights and performance. A bussing system helped visitors get to the festival from the ferry, dropping them off at the shipping yard of the Atlantic Salt Company.

After being greeted at the gate, visitors were given a performative worksheet by artist Chloe Bass, and were led through a corridor and into the festival. The Corridor itself was lined with performance artists, light and video work, taking advantage of the dark and covered space, which then opened up to the venue’s larger area.

The performances at the festival ranged from roaming performances, to installation based performances, interventions, and even a puppet show, organized by Hiroshi Shafer. Many of the performers had a specific area they performed in the festival space, and because of this, many of the performers coordinated their performances around installations they built out of the venues unique feature, the salt mounds. Several of the roaming performers, including that by artist Germaul Barnes (collaborating with artist Whitney Hunter) and Geraldo Mercado, performed throughout the event space, gathering crowds while carrying out their performances. The show also attracted several unplanned performances and interventions, including one by Kalan Sherrard.

Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow was one of the performers who created her performance, “The Lost Tribe of Mount Madagascar”, based around an installation at the event’s salt mounds. As she describes it in her project’s description, “In ‘The Lost Tribe of Mount Madagascar’ a tribal woman appears by her ‘salt’ hillside with her harvest and prepares it for her stately visitors on Staten Island. Using natural elements from exotic places the artist hopes to create a multi-sensory experience of an exotic tropical place back in time of discovery.” The installation included lighting as well as recorded jungle sounds to create the installation she performed in.

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Artist Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow during her performance in her installation. Many of the performers based their performances around installations built out of the salt mounds.

It was hard to stop and appreciate all of the performances, because most of the performances occurred at the same time, and for those who attended later missed some of the earlier performances, but for the people who stopped to watch, they we’re rewarded with a night on the island with lights and performance.

For a complete list of participants, please look here, on the event’s official website.

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A scan of Chloe Bass’s performance worksheet that was handed out at the opening gate of the LUMEN Festival.

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Ivy Castellanos performing in the darkened corridor at the entrance of Atlantic Salt.

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Germaul Barnes performing as a part of Whitney Hunter’s ongoing project, the 1st AMERICAN SHAPIST HOUSE for the PRACTICE of PERFORMANCE/RITUAL.

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David Ian Griess of Future Death Toll at the beginning of his performance.

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Edward Sharp (front) and Elizabeth Lamb (back) performing as Future Death Toll in the festival.

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Sherry Aliberti (front) performing in Hiroshi Shafer’s puppet show.

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Rae Goodwin , a visiting assistant professor from the University of Kentucky’s College of Fine Arts, performing in-front of her installation.

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A back view Rae Goodwin’s installation at the festival. Chairs, books and other knickknacks were placed in the salt.

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Felix Morelo performing with a handmade headdress.

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0H10M1KE & TJ Hospodar performing in-front of the video projection livedraw (2014).

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A child playing in-front of one of the projections.

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A later view of Kaia Gilje and Paige Fredlund’s performance. Fireworks could be seen in the skyline at night.

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Vela Phelan’s performance installation. The string lighted up intermediately throughout the performance.

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Amery Kessler’s performance installation. Several large metal shipping containers were used during this performance. Performers stood behind sheets creating a silhouette between artist and viewer.

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Florence Poulain’s performance space at the festival. Many performers used shovels to shovel and displace the salt at a point during their performance.

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