An Interesting Design Fair Has Found A New Home: Governors Island

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Most art and design fairs for teens encourage them to create something to take home. NS Invention Festival it does that too, but emphasizes a rarer and possibly more resonant principle: to create something to be left behind.

This is exactly what visitors will do on Saturday and Sunday, the 11th edition of the festival and the first to be held outdoors. Governors Island. offered by Beam CenterThe free event, a Brooklyn-based educational nonprofit, invites attendees ages 6 to 18 to attend workshops devoted to craft, technology, music, science, and even sports. But the central activity, “constellation”a public art project and sound installation by an interdisciplinary artist Ye Qin Zhu will remain on the island until at least mid-October.

“Even though we are all apart during the pandemic, or we can be. to feel Even though we broke up, we are still inextricably linked,” Zhu said during a tour. Ray Camp City, the center’s new Governors Island outpost.

This idea sparked the “Constellation” design, which consists of six individual tree-like structures, or “stars.” It consists of three vertical, 10-foot-long steel rods, each set on a fiberglass base shaped like a body part. (One statue sprouts from one eye, the other from a foot.) More steel pipes branch out from the tops of the rods in an interconnected canopy suspended by dozens of differently shaped and patterned ceramic bells, each with a copper mallet. When one of the statues sways in the breeze or someone shakes it – yes, Zhu really wants you to do that – live bells ring. This weekend, festival attendees are invited to pour, decorate and hang their own bells.

“We don’t just layer under the constellations and under the constellations of experiences,” Zhu said, but also the constellations themselves have layers. Partially inspired asteroseismologya scientific discipline that measures seismic waves inside stars. If these frequencies are translated into auditory rhythms, it will sound like bells ringing, the researchers say.

Creativity itself is the product of countless connections. Now a New York institution, its roots Ray CampA hibernation program in Strafford, NH, still in development, started in 2004 by Brian Cohen and Danny Kahn, former executives of Elektra Records. give a pseudo answer constructive movementA push for do-it-yourself craft and problem solving that reminds adults of the value of creativity.

Cohen said this approach is aimed at “mainly serving white men who are doing something.” While the movement has diversified since then, he added, “it pissed me off at first,” he added, “because the projects they were doing were just the kind of projects that should have been in classrooms, in playgrounds.”

New Hampshire Beam Camp was established to bring this hands-on learning – invention plus ingenuity – to youth of all backgrounds and the Invention Festival where Cohen and Kahn met. Founded in Brooklyn in 2010became a way of making this experience public. Like summer camp, every festival revolves around jointly completing a major work of art and engineering. (The Beam Center sends an open call to artists each year.)

Previous projects have included kinetic sculptor Andrew Brehm‘NS “mechanical swamp”, a three-tier stage set filled with motorized wooden birds flapping their wings and “FlipNYC”, a giant, picture-book animation with solar-powered lighting and cranks that turn the pages. Designed by architect Chee Kit Lai and artist ebony bolt, those machines exhibited In 2019 in Dumbo, Brooklyn. (Miracles were not done in 2020 due to the pandemic.)

However, the festival also offers smaller projects. This weekend, for example, in multiple sessions of 10 workshops, participants can make clay pendants that evoke their favorite feel, make Calderesque mobile phones inspired by Zhu’s sculptures, and create postcards using it. cyanotype process, a printing method involving sunlight. (Staff will mail them later.)

The annual festival is also responsible for founding the Beam Center, which has been offering in-school and after-school public education programs in New York since 2012. But Cohen, the center’s executive director, is particularly excited about Beam Camp City, which has helped create a center. revitalized arts center On Governors Island, just a short ferry ride From lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“We want to help the island expand both where it’s known and who’s coming,” Cohen said, adding that the site “places us exactly where Beam needs to be—under the big trees and the sky.”

Beam Camp City, which opened in July and will be a year-round addition to the Beam Center in September, offered high school groups a free four-day camp program and free public weekend craft workshops each week during the summer months. Until Inventgenuity. Campers are helping to build and lay the foundations for the “Constellation” for the festival, which will host the official opening of the installation on Saturday with young dance and music performances. (Visitors must register online for the festival, which will take place between 11:00-17:00 on both days.)

The new location allowed Inventgenuity to be both health-conscious and more inclusive. Beam staff, who will set up huge tents if it rains, plan to wear face masks and practice social distancing at the workshops, which will include two additional sound explorations.

The first, the Cicada Symphony, will become “a flock of children playing cicada music.” Kyle Luntzis an interdisciplinary artist and project designer for the Beam Center. They will discover that composing can be done with “the organic rhythms of animals and nature,” he added.

Using a keyboard to change the pitch of the recorded cicada sounds, participants will create their own works that are recorded in small modules found on musical greeting cards. After attaching the modules to the colorful insects they create from their craft materials, they will take the insects to a “Constellation” sculpture for a nature-inspired jam session.

Visitors can also work Building Hits, a New York organization that teaches digital music production and DJ skills. Teens will edit and record 16-bar audio loops using musical samples or their own vocals. Recently trained students will be presenting DJ sets that will get attendees moving, as the organizers hope.

“We teach our students to do this, to make people dance,” said Phi Pham, founder and executive director of Building Beats.

But the site’s biggest advantage may be the opportunity to get down and dirty. NS Billion Oyster Project He will build Inventgenuity’s first oyster research station. And the federation behind Circle Rules Football, which uses a yoga ball and is far less combative than the NFL, will task the youth with inventing an outdoor sport.

Cohen’s ultimate goal is to transform Beam Camp City into a year-round sleep camp and learning center. It’s the same kind of inclusive vision that animates the artists and youth featured in Inventgenuity.

“You become part of the effort to create this thing that is bigger than yourself,” he said at each festival.


Invention Festival

21 and 22 August Nolan Park, Governors Island; beamcenter.org/festival.

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