Looking forward to light at LUMEN

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.

Pho­tos: silive​.com and Flickr