Posted by: Jeff Edwards | July 12, 2011

Kelly Cabezas and Jennifer Santiago at FIGMENT NYC

"The Dinner Party" by Kelly Cabezas and Jennifer Santiago at the last VCS senior open studios (click to enlarge).

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Earlier this summer, recent VCS graduates Kelly Cabezas and Jennifer Santiago exhibited a piece in FIGMENT NYC, one in a series of volunteer-run outdoor art festivals held in different cities around the U.S. Kelly and Jenn’s contribution was “The Dinner Party,” an installation that they originally presented at this year’s VCS senior open studio event in April.

Here is their description of the piece, taken from the FIGMENT NYC web site:

“The Dinner Party” is an interactive table in which participants are invited to explore the depths of not only the over-sized table, but their imaginations. The table exceeds the notions of normality as it stretches towards the sky, leaving just the right amount of space for the viewer to find a parted table cloth to crawl though. This rabbit-hole-like experience is unlike anything you’ve encountered in your adult life. Rather, it’s like an exaggerated childhood memory of what lies beneath seemingly ordinary objects.

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Another view of "The Dinner Party at open studios.

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When I contacted Kelly to get photos of the open studios and FIGMENT NYC installations, she suggested that I also mention the core values and mission of the FIGMENT events, since they present an alternative to the traditional gallery system and reflect the interests of a lot of present and past students in the VCS program. Citing the hands-off aura that’s present at so many art exhibitions, Kelly listed the things that made the event such an engaging experience for its participants and audience:

FIGMENT is free and open to the public, the artists do everything out of their own pocket and do not get any form of reimbursement, and we leave no trace on the environment. It’s all about bringing the community together through participatory arts. You’re allowed to touch everything, there isn’t any snootiness to the work. There were Shakespeare plays, musical acts, dancers, acrobats, name it and it was probably there. All in all it was a pretty good experience.

The images included here show “The Dinner Party” in both its indoor and outdoor incarnations. For more information about FIGMENT, check out this statement of purpose and list of principles on its web site.

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The outdoor installation of "The Dinner Party" at FIGMENT NYC.

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Kelly and Jenn's business card.

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A visitor to FIGMENT NYC looks into the secret space below the installation.

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