Figment DC

I volunteered on Saturday at the Figment DC festival, an event which intrigued me because it aims to address a number of problems:

  1. Lack of Opportunity for Emerging Artists
  2. Access to the Arts for All
  3. Passivity in Our Society
  4. Lack of Community among Urban Residents
  5. Few Places for Young Families to Go
  6. Identifying New Uses for Underutilized Public Space
  7. Oversaturation of Branding and Commercialism
  8. Living in a Time of Scarcity

Whether it succeeded in solving these challenges or not, the event was fun and the beautiful new DC Yards Park was a perfect venue for it. The pleasant weather only added to the delight of meeting interesting people.

Soul Wash

Soul Wash at Figment DCAs I walked through the Soul Wash, these beautiful passages by Baha’u’llah were brought to mind:

Create in me a pure heart, O my God, and renew a tranquil conscience within me, O my Hope! Through the spirit of power confirm Thou me in Thy Cause, O my Best-Beloved, and by the light of Thy glory reveal unto me Thy path, O Thou the Goal of my desire! Through the power of Thy transcendent might lift me up unto the heaven of Thy holiness, O Source of my being, and by the breezes of Thine eternity gladden me, O Thou Who art my God! Let Thine everlasting melodies breathe tranquillity on me, O my Companion, and let the riches of Thine ancient countenance deliver me from all except Thee, O my Master, and let the tidings of the revelation of Thine incorruptible Essence bring me joy, O Thou Who art the most manifest of the manifest and the most hidden of the hidden!

(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, CLV)

Say: This is the Day when every ear must needs be attentive to His voice. Hearken ye to the Call of this wronged One, and magnify ye the name of the one true God, and adorn yourselves with the ornament of His remembrance, and illumine your hearts with the light of His love. This is the key that unlocketh the hearts of men, the burnish that shall cleanse the souls of all beings. He that is careless of what hath poured out from the finger of the Will of God liveth in manifest error. Amity and rectitude of conduct, rather than dissension and mischief, are the marks of true faith.

(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 205)

When the channel of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of Certitude.

(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 197)

For Dad: Soul Wash at Figment DCWhoever came up with the idea of a Soul Wash must have had a very close relationship with their dad.

Love and Mischief

True to its intent, Figment DC provided fun for adults and kids alike.

Adults and kids having fun at Figment DC

There was love…

Love at Figment DC

And there was mischief…

Mischief at Figment DC

The Burners — the community shaped around Burning Man — was well represented by Delight and her friends.

Burner Delight at Figment DC

Kim, a New Yorker teaching physical education in DC, was having fun dancing with the hula hoop despite claiming no knowledge of tricks. As I suggested to her, perhaps it was exactly because she knew no hula hoop tricks that she seemed to enjoy herself so much. I felt the dancing arena was not well represented by my gender so I tried to provide some balance by showing my Bulgarian dance steps…

New Yorker Kim at Figment DC

Dignity Bin

While I had fun dancing and talking to strangers, I also helped with the clean up of the park after the event. “Leave no trace” was the mantra we followed in order to ensure that a year from now the event could take place again there. And indeed, The Yards Park was truly a new revelation for me: clean, well designed, and in a superb location. The view towards the river was breathtaking:

The view from the Yards Park during Figment DC

As I was getting ready to leave, I stopped by a box with intriguing sign – Dignity Bin:

Dignity Bin at Figment DC

I was puzzled by it and started talking with Hillary, a water color artist from New Jersey who while preparing to go on a backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada was trying to bring awareness to the inappropriate patting by TSA agents at airport security gates. Heather, a performance theory practitioner and gardening teacher, joined us in our discussion while I marveled whether being against something is more productive than being for something. But it was getting dark and it was time to go home so I thought that my contribution to the Dignity Bin should be a positive one — a quote reminding us all of our inherent nobility. I hope TSA agents and passengers alike find this reminder uplifting:

22. O SON OF SPIRIT!
Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.

(Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

 

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