Artist FAQs

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Human Chess, FIGMENT Chicago 2013  |  photo © David Shuey
 

Thank you for considering submitting a project for FIGMENT Chicago 2014! The information below is intended to guide you through the conception, proposal, construction, installation, maintenance, and removal of your FIGMENT project.   

Disclaimer:

This document is by no means definitive, but it does consolidate the knowledge we’ve gained from other FIGMENTs in other cities in the past. It does not replace communication with your curator; please read and respond to all emails from your curator by the requested deadline. If you have a question about submitting your project to FIGMENT Chicago or what is possible at the venue, please first review this information; if it does not clearly answer your question, you may email chicagocuratorial@figmentproject.org

Contents:

What are the 11 Principles of FIGMENT?
When and where is FIGMENT Chicago?
Who can submit a project to FIGMENT?
What kind of content is appropriate for FIGMENT projects?
What are the deadlines?
What is the artists’ timeline for FIGMENT Chicago?
What about funding?
When can I install my project? What are the installation and setup hours?
Can I DJ at FIGMENT?
Can I distribute fliers for my band/art project?
Can I sell my CD?
Can I collect email addresses for my mailing list?
Can I bring my car?
Is there electrical power available?
Do you have any guidelines on materials that can be used for FIGMENT projects?
There are some supplies that I need. Can I get them from FIGMENT?
Can I give away or serve food as part of my FIGMENT project?
Can I put stakes down or make holes in the ground?
Trees—Can we hang anything (sign, art, string, etc.) from a tree?
Compressed Gas—Can I bring compressed gas to the site?
Animals—Can I bring a pet or other animal?
What else should I bring?
What if I did not submit a project to FIGMENT but I still want to bring it?

What are the 11 Principles of FIGMENT?
Drawing inspiration from other community-based arts events, the development, production, and experience of FIGMENT are guided by the 11 principles of FIGMENT: Participation, Decommodification, Inclusion, Self-Expression, Self-Reliance, Giving, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leave No Trace, Immediacy, and Gratitude. You can read more about our 11 Principles here.

When and where is FIGMENT Chicago?
To be announced SOON! Though we'll give you a hint...It's in the summer and at a park on the Northwest Side.


Who can submit a project to FIGMENT?
Anyone can submit a project to FIGMENT! Everyone is welcome, regardless of age or experience—adults, children, professional artists or those looking to create their first piece! Anyone who can bring their project to FIGMENT by their own means and de-install it when the event is over can submit.


What kind of content is appropriate for FIGMENT projects?
FIGMENT has hosted a wide variety of artistic endeavors in other cities: Street theater, costuming, sculpture, inflatable art, dance, performance art, installations, social experiments, mobile art, workshops, games, community building projects, arts & crafts, sound art, bands & DJs, lectures and seminars on themes of participatory art and culture, and anything else you can imagine! Please do remember that FIGMENT is an event for everyone when deciding on subject matter for your project.

Installations, performances, activities or other projects that can be set up outdoors are welcome. We may have stages available for performances, and certain parts provide suitable stage-like platforms. You can set up your own area or host a scheduled event or performance. If you have an idea for FIGMENT and have questions about whether it’s plausible, don’t hesitate to get in touch. No matter what you do, the one requirement is that it somehow engages audience participation. Just bring it to FIGMENT and try it out!

What are the deadlines?
Key projects will be given placement on a rolling basis. If you have a large project or a project that requires specific placement or infrastructure, please submit it as soon as possible so that we can accommodate it. The final deadline for project submission will be announced shortly.

What is the artists’ timeline for FIGMENT Chicago?
This information will be released shortly. 

What about funding?
FIGMENT is a community-based event organized and run by volunteers. Its success is dependent on community participation. FIGMENT does NOT provide funding for the production, transportation or insurance of works to, at or from the site. FIGMENT encourages artists to apply for outside grants and fundraise for your project within your personal capacity. Please note that no corporate sponsorship (including logos and credit lines) is permitted at the event. In addition, nothing may be sold at the event.

When can I install my project? What are the installation and setup hours?
You must make arrangements in advance with your curator (contact information provided upon project acceptance) regarding installation, tear-down, or other material-delivery matters. In general, we expect artists to set up their projects the day before the event and remove their projects after the event is over—not during the event itself. If you cannot meet this guideline, it is especially important to coordinate a plan with your curator.

As you design your project, think modular. Ideally, you should have nearly all the major construction complete before bringing your installation to the venue, with minimal assembly on site. Be sure to coordinate a crew to install and tear down! In general, projects should require no more than four people to move them. If it takes more than four people to move, we strongly recommend splitting your project into multiple sections to improve mobility. Take note of each section’s weight as you plan to transport them.

Can I DJ at FIGMENT?
If you would like to DJ at FIGMENT, we would recommend getting together with friends to propose a project as a collective, and making your DJ stage part of the proposal. Previous FIGMENT events have had collectives including Disorient, Fairytale Collective, and Wax, all of which included DJs as part of their themed area. If you want to propose a project that involves multiple DJs, you will be responsible for curating the group during FIGMENT Weekend. Please contact chicagocuratorial@figmentproject.org for more information on how to curate a DJ area.

Can I distribute fliers for my band/art project?
Please do not distribute fliers or printed materials at FIGMENT. We are trying to provide as waste-free an event as possible.

Can I sell my CD?
We kindly ask that you do not sell anything—including CDs—at FIGMENT. FIGMENT is an entirely free and non-commercial event in which everyone volunteers their time and effort to participate—the organizers, the artists, the participants. Interactions between people are not mediated by commercial transactions of any kind. Everything at FIGMENT is free, and there is no advertising, nothing for sale, and no one insisting that you have to give a donation to participate. We understand that many of you make your livelihoods by selling your art and we support you—FIGMENT is just not the time or place.

Can I collect email addresses for my mailing list?
Yes, you may collect addresses, but we ask that you manage the list and make it clear to participants that they are signing up for your list and not the FIGMENT list. Please do not leave unattended clipboards around the site; keep the list with you so that you can get participants excited about your project.


Can I bring my car?
Yes, but, if you can, we encourage use of public transportation as Jefferson Park is near by a CTA bus hub and the L Blue Line, as well as a Metra station. 


Is there electrical power available?
Limited electricity may be available for installations. Artists should plan to be self-reliant for electricity; consider generators, batteries, solar power if you need it. If your project requires power, please contact the curatorial team at chicagocuratorial@figmentproject.org as early as possible.


Do you have any guidelines on materials that can be used for FIGMENT projects?
Why, yes, thank you for asking! Below are some general guidelines. They are not exhaustive, so please consult with your curator on the materials you will be using.


METAL & FIBERGLASS. These are suitable materials for holding up to the elements.

GLASS & PLEXIGLAS. Glass and unframed or unsupported Plexiglas are something we'll want to review closely, as these projects can break, pose a safety hazard, and may be an LNT concern.

PLANTS. If your project involves plants or other living creatures, please inform your curator so that we may coordinate any needs for shade or water (as both are limited).

DURABILITY. This is not a traditional art event. When you design an installation for FIGMENT, imagine 15 children climbing on it at once, while passersby kick it or spill their lemonade over it. Then imagine that happening eight hours each day for a whole weekend! You may be able to deter some abuse, and FIGMENT events have never been subjected to intentional vandalism. However, people young and old will play with anything that moves or shines! Furthermore, if it rains, we have limited shelter, and water will gather in low-lying areas. So, build for the apocalypse!

WOOD & WOOD-LIKE MATERIALS. For the sake of durability under pressure from people and the environment, please follow these guidelines for your wood or wood-like materials:

Plywood should be weather-treated, at least ½” thick.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB) should be at least, ¾” thick, preferably 1”.
Wherever possible, use pressure-treated materials.
Consider coating these materials with two layers of deck paint.
Do NOT use medium density fiberboard (MDF) under any circumstance! It will not hold up.

DECORATIONS. Beware how small or moving parts are prone to fall off or need constant repair. Participants may pry off anything shiny and pretty that isn’t securely fixed. Consider a child’s mentality and curiosity. Avoid sharp-moving parts, or pointy things that stick up–even if it seems obvious that they should not be touched. FIGMENT should be fun, and a trip to the ER is never fun.

 


There are some supplies that I need. Can I get them from FIGMENT?
FIGMENT promotes self reliance, so please make every effort to bring all the supplies that you need for your project. As an all-volunteer event, we give our time and passion to the event, but it’s a bit more challenging to buy things. FIGMENT can help direct you to free donated and low-cost resources from which to source materials. Please get in touch with us for more information: chicagocuratorial@figmentproject.org.


Can I give away or serve food as part of my FIGMENT project?
We ask that artists and participants do not give away or serve food. There will be food trucks at the event.


Can I put stakes down or make holes in the ground?
In general, stakes or other things that make holes in the ground are prohibited. If you need help coming up with alternatives to anchor your installation or tent, or, if you feel there is no other option than to stake, please consult your curator.


Trees—Can we hang anything (sign, art, string, etc.) from a tree?
In general, you may not tie anything to trees in the park. However, if you think you need to tie something to a tree, consult your curator to investigate the possibility of doing so without harming the tree.


Compressed Gas—Can I bring compressed gas to the site?
Please contact your curator if any projects involve compressed gas.

Animals—Can I bring a pet or other animal?
Animals are not allowed on the site—unless it’s a seeing eye dog or there’s some other legitimate medical reason for you to bring any animal to the site.

What else should I bring?
We have already mentioned the need to bring your own generators, power cords (100+ feet), tools and installation crew. Here are some other important things to bring:

Smiles, patience, cooperation and a helping hand
Drinking water
Food
Sun Protection (SPF lotion, hat, glasses)
Flashlight/Headlamp
Outdoor shoes (comfortable yet durable)

What if I did not submit a project to FIGMENT but I still want to bring it?
We encourage you to bring projects that you can carry into the site on foot. Projects will not be on our map or schedule, but FIGMENT is about serendipity and discovery so that’s quite all right. Unregistered projects will not have access to power, cannot be stored overnight, and cannot be installed in a building or on any structure on the site. Please take your portable project with you when you leave the site and leave no trace.

 

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