The seventh annual Governors Island Art Fair is up and running, spread across one hundred rooms in decommissioned army barracks and former military residences along Colonel’s Row and outside on the grounds. Sponsored by 4heads, a nonprofit founded in 2008 by Nicole Laemmle, Jack Robinson, and Antony Zito to offer free space to artists to explore their vision, the fair features painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, video, installation, and sound works. Each artist or independent gallery/collective is assigned his or her own room where they can create to their heart’s content.
Our favorite home is 404B, where you are greeted on the ground floor by Sean Boggs’s “Slow Phones,” with “Ear Piece” and “Mouth Piece” on either side of the fireplace, offering an intriguing foray into deceleration, perception, and peripheral vision. Get right up close and try to figure out how the single bead in the former and the multiple beads in the latter move, as the two large-scale circles seem to be at a stand-still; of course, younger people might not even recognize them as parts of an old rotary phone. Also worthy of close examination is Boggs’s “Ten Digits,” a wall sculpture consisting of a bed of pins based on a color-blindness test, the pins representing the numbers zero to nine, organized by size, texture, density, hue, and distance. Walk through the kitchen and take the stairs to Taezoo Park’s “Digital Being,” what he enigmatically describes as “a series of the kinetic installations of technological garbage based on the hypothetical existence of an invisible and formless creature born within the circuits of electronic waste.” Influenced by Nam June Paik — Park worked on the “Becoming Robot” Paik exhibition that just opened at Asia Society — the enthusiastic young artist has repurposed old television and computer monitors and programmed them to show scrambled signals, alongside questions and statements about singularity and the future of technology: “Digitize conscious through scanners — Human Being faces this ethical question before death. What is your choice?”
There’s lots of cool strangeness going on farther upstairs on the third floor, including Hao Ni’s “Night II,” in which water drips down monofilament, lit by car headlights; Sangjun Yoo’s “Synchronicity (i),” a plastic sculpture hanging from the ceiling in a dark room; and Sabrina Barrios’s “How to Build a Pyramid — Part II: Understanding the Connections to Constellations,” a construction of strings and nails that glows under black light. There’s also a corner installation that looks like something pretty weird happened there. It all comes together under the creepy rafters to feel like a room being investigated by Scully and Mulder.