The sun is shining today but dark, cold winter drags on, so we are looking forward to the warm days of June. As the sun sets on June 15, Lyons Pool on the Staten Island waterfront will light up with the videos, installations, and performances of the LUMEN art festival.
Attracting both local and international artists, LUMEN is a recurring, free event visited by hundreds of curious New Yorkers for the past three years.
At last year’s festival, a team of over fifty artists transformed 150,000 tons of road salt leftover from the winter into a series of displays. Performance pieces ranged from dances staged on salt piles and surreal skits to screaming, audience-interactive actors and stoic, audience-ignoring statues.
With a nod to the title of the festival, many of the installations incorporated the salt piles into various light displays, for example a projection of a lunar scene on a white salt pile. However, most opted instead to make canvasses of the flat walls or shipping containers of the abandoned Atlantic Salt Company factory buildings where the event was held. Aside from viewing the displays themselves, visitors were also free to explore these derelict urban spaces, which reflected the unused nature of the salt that served as the artists’ medium.
No doubt this year’s festival at Lyons Pool will likewise cast light on another historic Staten Island location. Built in 1936 as the largest public pool in the borough by the Works Progress Administration, Lyon’s was one of eleven such pools constructed during one summer of the Great Depression.