Led by Michael Harrison, Sam Torres, Sophia Subbayya Vastek, the Creative Music Intensive at Arts Letters & Numbers was a week-long session dedicated to discovering and developing individual voices as creative artists. The participants and faculty presented a culminating concert in the House on the Hill, February 10, 2018 which included new works, group and solo performances, and improvisations.
On April 6th, 2018, visual artist and performer eDuard Helmbold invited the community into his studio at the House on the Hill, where he had spent the last three weeks as artist in residence. Opening his studio was part of his final installation/sculpture/performance of this residency:
“For the duration of the residency I set the task of [mis]reading 15 chapters of the Michael Craig Martin’s text: On Being an Artist (Art Books Publishing, 2015). These mis-readings involved searching for insights and reflections on art history and practice relating to the past and present. Each day’s reading resulted in a conceptual practice that directed my Actions for the day. Sometimes these actions came as a result of direct quotes, other times it was through decontextualizing and twisting words by placing nonsensical notions together, and using the Studio to bridge the gaps. These Actions took the form of drawing, sculpture, performance and experimentation.
The 11 Actions (or parts thereof) that are presented are therefore both works in/of progress and works in/of process:
Process that allowed for a practice to emerge
Process that affirmed this practice
Process that questioned this practice
Process that opened new avenues
Process that created space to be an artist
Action 11 the final action of this residency is Acknowledgement: As the community that creates space around the space for Arts Letters and Numbers to thrive you are invited into your/OUR space. I invite you, not to a mere “show and tell”, but to participate in the last Action of my residency; an Action that materializes the people who, through creating space, now being IN the space – influenced my practice irreversibly.”
As the audience were invited to participate in eDuard's work, the studio that had been his space for the last three weeks now seamlessly became a space for everyone. We thank eDuard for coming all the way from Australia to immerse himself in his artistic practice and in our community. We also want to thank Natalie Dietterich and Dan Thorpe who amazingly rounded off the event with performing each their pieces on violin and piano.
In February Director David Gersten and Fellow Troels Steenholdt Heiredal met with Kimberly Ruth, the host of BTRtoday's Art Uncovered to talk about the origins of Arts Letters & Numbers, the upcoming Summer Workshop: Hinges, Mirrors & Eclipses and how Arts Letters & Numbers has related to, influenced and enabled Troels' personal artistic pursuits.
Art Uncovered interviews an eclectic mix of artists and creators, who discuss their work and how it may intersect with technology, pop-culture, science and the larger culture. We are thankful for now being part of this mix.
A residency at Arts Letters & Numbers is a different experience for every artist. The duration of time, the number of fellow residents, the events, the social gatherings, the weather, the focus, the interactions, the spaces.. One thing that keeps being the heart - witness of all meetings, discussions, thoughts, cooking and interactions is the House on the Hill.
On February 24th, 2018 the artists in residence at the House on the Hill opened up their spaces of work - To experiment with a process - A way of sharing their thoughts.
Each artist had found a way to occupy the place. To build their own spaces of intimacy in which they were able to create their work.
404 SOUND - Natalie Dietterich
ESPACES INVARIABLES - Justine Langella
A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN - Elisa Taber
KITCHEN - Frida Foberg
Photos by Kate Lovering
Anyone who has ever been to Arts Letters & Numbers knows the importance of our local community. There is an honest and deep trust and care that has been built over the years, and they keep their engagement and welcomeness to each and everyone who spends time at Arts Letters & Numbers. For an artist in residence, like Justine Langella, the influence of this warm community can be bigger than expected. Spending 8 weeks in residence, in wintertime, Justine built strong bounds to the community, fellow artists in residence as well as session participants. Over the course of time her body of work gradually became the community, and the community became her body of work.
One of the works Justine developed during her time in residence was Ecran de Veille, where she combined her deep interest in traditional family dinners and the experience of our community. This performative mixed media installation was show on February 4th, 2018:
écran de veille : séquence d'instruction cyclique qui éprouve des difficultés à se déterminer
screen saver : cyclic sequence of instructions that has difficulty determining itself
a performed installation by Justine Langella
music by Adrien Degioanni
with : Diane, Rob, Bryce, Rebecca, Christina, Michelle, Natasha, Billy, John, Rikke, Frances
Performed Installation - 47min - 2018
Video © Justine Langella
Photos by: Zelé Angelides
"Why is a question we all ask on a daily basis but realizing there’s no answer to some of those why’s can be easiest or the toughest thing for some. I started this work by just asking myself why and not looking for answers, but knowing I could possibly find answers." - capt.
On January 20th 2018, capt. showcased the work he had created during his time in residence, and engaged the audience in the question asking of: why.
capt. is from Pasadena, California and is the youngest child of James and Sharon Stovall. After playing college football and attempts to play pro football. capt. left everything and entered art school at the Art Institute of Philadelphia to study advertising. After some time in the cold he made his way to San Diego where he continued his studies in advertising eventually dropping out to focus full time on his practice. While drawing his entire life and becoming strong as a portrait artist, capt. turned his sights on painting wanting to be like the greats before him. His art reflects love, intellect, and childlike desire to have fun and be free.
Photos by Zelé Angelides
With the third in our new Session series held in March 2018, Attunement, Alberto Pérez-Gómez took particpants on an in-depth journey through his writings on attunement, love, and performance in relation to the ethics of architecture.
In February, musicians and artists came together to participate in the first ever Creative Music Intensive at Arts Letters & Numbers, part of our new Sessions series. The Session was directed by composer/pianist and Indian classical vocalist Michael Harrison, who was joined by guest artist faculty pianist Sophia Subbayya Vastek and electronic composer/saxophonist Sam Torres.
In January 2018, the first of Sessions series, Deciding to See, directed by Chris Rose, brought together individuals from across arts, sciences, social media and music to explore how, in our efforts to understand complex conditions, we may do more than just look into reflections of ourselves.
Director David Gersten was recently honored to participated in ‘Future Unknown: Global Education Summit’ held at CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts), Beijing, China. Future Unknown gathered Artists, Designers, Technologist, Educators and Futurists for a two-day exchange on the future of education. David’s address entitled: “Constellations: Hinges Mirrors Eclipses” shared, with a global audience, the mission and vision of Arts Letters & Numbers as a social poetic project. Addressing both future challenges and promises, he spoke of the critical role of diverse cultures and ways of knowing in creating transformation that aspires to our best hopes and aspirations. He called for new models of asking the extraordinary complex questions of our time and outlined a framework of education as a living system with the capacity of developing new pathways of interaction and forms of knowledge.
Future Unknown was the first in a year-long collaboration between CAFA and Arts Letters & Numbers.
This workshop was the first in a series of collaborative projects that Arts Letters & Numbers and UNICEF’s Office of Innovation are planning for the near future. It is a distinct honor and pleasure to be collaborating UNICEF in a partnership that resonates so deeply with the mission of Arts Letters & Numbers.
On Tuesday November 7th our Artist in Residence Asma Mahmood invited the community for an impromptu painting workshop. Through small exercises with oils for textural practice, Asma guided the way and gave the participants a sense of fearless painting and what it can reveal. The workshop was an opportunity to further interact with Asma about her artistic practice.
On Saturday October 28th we welcomed a number of leaders from the many arts and cultural organizations in the Capital Region to Arts Letters & Numbers Tasting. With this event, we opened our doors to the extended creative community around us: to share our experiences and spaces, and to begin and continue the conversation about how we can best foster collaboration and contribute to the vibrant arts and cultural communities growing in the region.
As with everything we do, we build on past experiences and our present moment, creating spaces and circumstances to grow and ask new questions. With Tasting, we transformed the ground floor of our Mill into a space to share a meal, to connect with others, and to participate in a collective art piece. To acknowledge the significance of each person's presence, the plates were custom-made for each course of the meal: plates of glass, concrete, wood, leaves and ice. In addition, each course was set on suspended tables of different heights, also specially built for the evening. Throughout the dinner guests migrated between these floating horizons within the columns of The Mill, with each course and spatial condition creating different occasions for interaction. Finally, this movement of bodies and objects between horizontal surfaces culminated with the rotation of the guests’ visual and tactile experience, with the plates being placed on the wall in a collective vertical composition, created together by everyone present.
After years of growth on the international level, this was a huge step for our regional involvement. Indeed, seeing The Mill filled with so many engaged and inspiring people, people who are enriching the arts and culture of the region with such care and precision, was simply astonishing. We are beyond excited about what is to come...
On October 12th - 14th, 2017, Dr. Krysta Dennis Votes for Women was performed in the House on the Hill, as a collaboration between Arts Letters & Numbers, Siena College Creative Arts Department and Sand Lake Center for the Arts. The performance brought the past and the House on the Hill alive, as the audience members found themselves in the middle of a suffrage march and lead was through the intimate moments from suffrage movement.
SAUCE was a 3-day celebration of Soul, Motown, Funk, Swing, and Blues organized by our friends Joshua Fialkoff and Bryan Brundige. Arts Letters & Numbers hosted the late night dance on Saturday September 30th, where the tunes were accompanied by an edible installation made by Frida Foberg, Merethe Bahn Trolle, Josephine Saabye & Zubin Singh. In front of a white wall, with a projection of dripping sauces and suspended flat breads and peppers, 12 different sauces in squeeze bottles were hanging in elastic string, inviting the guests to compose a late night snack of different tastes and different colors.
We thank Joshua Fialkoff and Bryan Brundige for bringing a wonderful crowd of people to Arts Letters & Numbers, who filled the space with amazing music, impressive dance moves and a great SAUCE appetite!
On September 27th 5 Artists in Residence exhibited their work, created over the last month, in the Barn, on the Field and in the Mill. The guests were guided through the exhibitions with each artist introducing their work and leading them to the next. It was a beautiful evening showing a diversity of techniques, colors & materials.
On Saturday September 16th one of our Artists in Residence, Jiangliu Dong, exhibited the works she had created during her stay at Arts Letters & Numbers. Jiangliu seeks to explore the comprehensive conversation between body, self, and identity. During her time at Arts Letters & Numbers she was deep in her work, carefully creating art of words, paints, fabrics and as a final act she introduced water..
Director David Gersten was recently honored to deliver a Keynote address at UNICEF’s EXPO 2017 held in Astana, Kazakhstan. Expo 2017, gathered well over one hundred nations sharing projects and ideas within the theme of ‘Future Energy’, with UNICEF focusing on ‘Advancing the Rights of Children through Innovation’.
David’s address entitled: “Unlocking the Creativity of Youth: from Spatial Literacy towards Social Empathy” shared, with a global audience, the mission and vision of Arts Letters & Numbers as a social poetic project. Addressing both future challenges and promises, he spoke of the critical role of youth in creating transformation that aspires to our best hopes and aspirations. He called for new models of asking the extraordinary complex questions of our time and outlined a framework of education as a living system with the capacity of developing new pathways of interaction and forms of knowledge.
Friday September 1st we invited everyone to join us for an evening exhibition around the House on the Hill: Under the tree, in the Barn and on the grass Field. The exhibition showed works created over two weeks by our residents Kirsty Badenoch, Yingting Cui, Emily Fitzell & James Rogers, see work descriptions below. Together with the artists, 30 people walked around the premise, explored installations, studied drawings and participated in creating artworks. The evening ended around the fire between the House on the Hill and the Barn and with further conversations about the artists’ work. This was the first Artist in Residence exhibition in Fall 2017.
On August 3rd we opened our doors for the second Arts Letters & Numbers festival: this year titled Constitution. The 3-day festival presented works created during our annual four-week summer workshop, bringing together participants from a wide range of disciplines including architecture, photography, dance, music, literature, film, theatre, painting and drawing.
The festival began with a Persian Dinner by Sheila Mostofi and Homa Shojaie, followed by the latest film by Bill Morrison “Dawson City: Frozen Time” and a talk with the artist.
On Friday our guests were welcomed into the Mill with an experimental dinner by Frida Foberg, Josephine Saabye and Merethe Trolle: the starter as hanging drawings, the main course as transparent walls, and the dessert as a falling curtain. Between food and conversation, Bryan Brundige and Dylan Perrillo filled the space with Blues, Swing and dance.
Finally, on Saturday a line up of works, performances and workshops brought the audience in and out of the Mill and up and down the grass field, showing the multiplicity of conversations, approaches and ideas this summer unfolded. The audience was invited to see, taste and participate throughout the day, discovering installations, film screenings, construction, performances, drawings sessions, music, authentic movement, spoken word pieces, and a final improvisational performance in entitled 'Constitution Constellations' bringing together all of the participants.
We thank everyone who came to share these days with us, and all the visiting artists and participants for their contribution to this Summer’s Workshop, creating an expanded space for opening up and enriching the question Constitution.
Constitution Contributing Artists
Adela Wagner . Adrianos Efthymiadis . Alex Chang . Alva Mooses . Ann Morris . Bill Morrison . Claudia Cortínez . Clarice Jensen . David Gersten . Denise Holland . Diane DeBlois . Ed Keller . Evan Burgess . Frida Foberg . Ginger Teppner . Haleh Atabeigi . Homa Shojaie . Hyunbae Chang . Jennifer Park . Jenny Hsiao . John Bootkoos . Jonathan Turner . Josephine Saabye . Keren Christina Mendjul . Layna Chen . Loren Howard . Luis Accorsi . Medina Dzonlic . Merethe Bahn Trolle . Michael Harrison . Mie Mortensen . Mira Treatman . Natalie Dechime . Nina Parsons . Noelle Gentile . Oda Ravlo . Parker Limon . Pedro Wainer . Rich Kuperberg . Rikke Jorgensen . Robert Dalton Harris . Rostam Gersten . Ruby Jayaseelan . Sam Torres . Sarv Gersten . Steve Fry . Tine Bernstorff Aagaard . Tingyu Wang . Troels Steenholdt Heiredal . Uri Wegman . Ward Dales . Wes Rozen . Yixuan Cai . Zelé Angelides . Zubin Singh
A special thanks to
Laughing Earth Farm . 4 Corners Liquor Store . Hoffay Farm . Heller’s Wine and Spirits . Trader Joe . Field Goods . Renée Phaneuf . Bob Phaneuf . Bill Morrison . Laurie Olinder . John Butkus . Sheila Mostofi . Ann Morris . Rich Kuperberg . Steve Fry . Betty Fry . Berry Floyd . Gary Chen . Rob Harris Dalton . Diane Deblois . Ira Baumgarten . Nadine Baumgarten . Ward Dales . Bryan Brundige . John Desmond . Paul Kennedy . Rebecca Harrison . Bonny Cook . AND many, many more