This Fall we had the great honor of contributing to the ‘Future Unknown’ Chancellor’s Summit held at The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, China. The project grew from careful consideration of the mission and vision of CAFA and the principles driving the “Future Unknown” initiative to move art and innovation forward by building linkages to many educational and cultural locations around the globe.
Hinges, Mirrors & Eclipses is grounded in the idea that the spatial, poetic and material imaginations provide a unique means of registering and creating transformation, of engaging the world and making a contribution. Working from the principle that our capacity to act in the world is rooted in our capacity to recognize and comprehend transformation, the workshop covers a large arc of content, asking questions of our world, our disciplines and our humanity.
With CONSTITUTION, Arts Letters & Numbers proposed a dynamic crucible of free thought, a space where the widest spectrum of who we are could ask the questions of our time and create works that would bring us forward. A space where many elements could come together to create the alchemy of transforming how we experience today into how we will experience tomorrow.
In mid-November we were invited to participate in the weekend-long Alternative Art School Fair (AASF) at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, along with +50 other schools/institutions/project spaces.
Neither singular nor static, Arts Letters & Numbers is an emergent and collaborative endeavor with many parts and players: a conversation in action. In light of this, rather than having us on one side of a table and the audience of the AASF on the other, we embarked on a two-day workshop, bringing them into contact and creative exchange with the greater ALN network, which would gather the questions of the visiting AASF audience amongst with ours.
With the table gone we constructed a three dimensional wooden frame with an identical footprint, which acted as a space to gather the questions. Via a video link we hosted live poetry readings from groups respectively in Buenos Aries and Ithaca, projected to a screen in the frame. The grand finale was a pivotal moment in the life of one of our house on the hill: cutting through the third floor to make room for a staircase and create a new studio space in the attic—a real-time interactive piece between the people in the house and AASF audience, communicated through the transference of light via the video link between the two spaces.
We walk away from the AASF optimistic and with many new friendships.
Pioneer Works, is a non-profit organization, running artist residencies, exhibitions, and performances in their facilities in Red Hook, Brooklyn NY. They focus on community building and to provide spaces for alternative modes of thoughts. This fair will be the first fair they are hosting for alternative art schools, and for us to participate means a great deal.
Due to a family situation, we have unfortunately had to postpone this workshop. It will definitely take place sometime in the future! Please make sure you keep an eye on this event, on the Arts, Letters & Numbers Facebook page, and on the email lists of ALN and Quill to receive updates on this event.
Music from the Margins
Weekend Workshop and Intentional Community for Marginalized People in Upstate NY
Mar. 2nd - 5th, 2017
Arts Letters & Numbers
Averill Park, NY
Quill Creative and arts letters & numbers are welcoming all composers, performers, songwriters, musicologists, producers, sound engineers, and anyone involved in the music world, who also identify as a person of colour, queer, trans*, elderly, disabled, or otherwise marginalized, to spend a week in upstate New York exploring ideas, collaborating, and connecting in intentional community. Together, we will generate a collaborative and creative experience, exploring marginalized music, and marginalized identities in the music world. We will hold space for each other to share our experiences of exclusion and inclusion, oppression and empowerment, solitude and joy.
Each guest will be given time and space to lead group creative activities, give performances, talks, readings, or lead discussions about music, art, and queer, trans*, racialized or other oppressed identities.
Arts Letters & Numbers is a non-profit arts, education, and publishing organization dedicated to facilitating creative exchanges across a wide range of disciplines including Architecture, Visual Arts, Theatre Arts, Film, Music, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences. Arts, Letters & Numbers conducts workshops in educational and cultural institutions worldwide in collaboration with theatre companies, artists, writers, actors, musicians and filmmakers. It operates an ongoing series of educational workshops, performances and film productions at ‘The Mill’ located in Upstate, NY.
Quill Creative is a project that provides resources and space to explore concepts related to the wellbeing of queer and trans* low-income artists through workshops, a blog, podcasts, and low-cost web development and one-on-one help with technology.
Participants will be housed in the original mill owner’s residence, a gorgeous, heritage house with construction dating back to 1859. The House is one of arts letters & numbers’ works; it is a work in progress - it is perpetually “under construction” as an evolving work, that undergoes changes throughout the year. Dorm-style housing will be provided, with a limited number of private rooms available at an extra cost. The house is equipped with wifi. Meals will be prepared communally, with food costs the responsibility of each participant. There are two pianos (one grand and one upright), projectors, video cameras, and various other materials for building and art-making, all of which will be accessible to the workshop participants. Unfortunately the space is not currently accessible to wheelchair users, because of door widths. We are working to make these spaces accessible.
No sexism, ageism, racism, ableism, homophobia, fatphobia, classism, transphobia, or other forms of bigotry will be tolerated.
Suggested donation is $175 USD for the week, but PWYC and work scholarships are available. Carpools from Montreal and NYC will be arranged closer to the date, and pickups from the airport and bus/train stations in Albany can be arranged.
Event Photo by Lyndsay Bloom
a third thing
Residency Intensive Jan 7th - Jan 21st, 2017
At Arts Letters & Numbers we are excited to introduce our first Residency Intensive - A two week interdisciplinary residency program directed at exploring and creating work situated between three distinct, yet kindred subjects - landscape, cuts and color. A program where the creative agency of the individual is fueled and developed in a continuous conversation between the works and the voices of others. Where a small group of devoted people come together for a short period of time to develop their work and challenge their thinking, where intent and intensity are key components, along with joy, playfulness and curiosity, where the unknown is expected and doubt is celebrated, where the raw and the fragile blends with strong convictions and vigorous minds.
Tertium Quid: landscape cuts color
cuts color landscape
color landscape cuts
We will be searching for the unknown between the known; for works that emerge in the in-between, in the cracks and the spaces between one and the other. Between cuts and color, landscape and cuts, color and landscape. Between all of of them, and is none of them. Within one, next to the other. Becoming a third.
a third thing that is indefinite and undefined but is related to two definite or known things.
Def. Tertium Quid (Greek)
The focus of the program is to develop individual and collaborative works that emerge relationally within this undefined generative conceptual field. The program will consist of a series of sessions, conversations and observations, led by the Arts, Letters & Numbers program developers and invited visiting artists, who will introduce diverse understandings of the subjects and assist in opening up for ways of looking at and thinking with and within the in-between of color, cuts and landscape. In addition the program will also include communal dinners, listening critiques, field trips and open mics, and as a culmination of the two intense weeks the program will conclude with a public celebration of the new body of work, a collection of Tertium Quids, situated between landscape, cuts and color.
The Arts Letters & Numbers facilities includes a variety of spaces open for intervention. Most of them are in a constant state of change, adapting to and being transformed by the changing needs of the programs and people inhabiting them.
The residency is housed in a 9 bedroom mansion– original the cotton mill owner’s house from 1859– better known as The House on the Hill. Here we offer both shared (3-5 beds) and individual sleeping arrangements. In the house there is a music room, that currently holds a Baldwin grand piano as well as a Kawai upright piano that residents are invited to use. The kitchen is communal and used by all who reside in the house. During the Residency Intensive, although each participating artist is responsible for their meals individually, planning collective meals is always fulfilling. As part of the program and included in our fee, we will provide the welcome dinner, the midway dinner and the final dinner.
Our primary workspaces consist of The Barn and The Mill, which includes studio spaces and a wood and metal workshop. We have a great selection of small and large equipment available, alongside a treasure trove of old tools and different materials for you to explore. Most materials found in the mill can be utilized in conversation with program facilitators, but participants are responsible for all other material costs for individual work. There will be scheduled trips to the local art supply store for any materials that cannot be found onsite.
We also have extensive outdoor spaces available that can be utilised in countless ways and we welcome you to think of these spaces as sites you can work with and within. The grounds contain a great variety of spatial qualities, terrain, surfaces and vegetation: from our open fields and steep slopes, to a tree covered path and newly planted apple orchard.
We strive to cultivate a space that encourages collaborative and individual creation: to think, make and act alongside others within a community. With our Artist in Residence Program, artists from a wide range of disciplines are able to come together, ask and engage their questions, create and share their work. We believe that when people are free to act, interact with and support one another, new works and ideas emerge.
Everyone participating in our programs are expected to treat our facilities with care and consideration as well as be mindful of each other’s spaces. We find that the collective effort of many people living and working together to be quite an extraordinarily rewarding experience. Whether it is in a living or working situation, everyone is responsible for cleaning up after themselves, and lending a helping hand when possible. Our organization is based upon the value and reward derived from the articulation of shared creative and intellectual spaces.
A Third Thing is being developed and facilitated by Architects Frida Foberg (Sweden), Ché Peréz (Trinidad & Tobago), Rikke Jorgensen (Denmark) and Photographic Artist Zelé Angelides (South Africa)
January 7th - January 21st, 2017
Application deadline: December 10th, 2016
$640 / Shared accommodation
$840 / Private accommodation
The fee includes:
2 weeks of program, accommodation, pick up/drop from train/bus station/airport in Albany, scheduled trips to the art supply store, access to wood and metal workshop, shared studio space and three dinners (welcome, midway and final)
The fee does not include:
All other meals than mentioned above, or drinks at any of the meal mentioned above. Entrance fees at field trip locations. Material costs.
If you have any questions regarding our residency intensive a third thing, please send us an email.
During the four-week intensive workshop, we brought together Architects, Artists, Filmmakers, Musicians, Composers, Physicists, Poets, Craftspeople, Photographers, Actors, Mimes, Chefs, Magicians, Historians, Scientists, and Scholars to co-construct a disciplinary Zoëtrope: a living system of knowledge-transformation turning within light and time, water and clouds, life and still life, cameras and projectors, nights and days, words and voices, an emergent microclimate that evokes the origins of life itself—animation, anima, zoë, life—a “Zoëtrope Sun”.
Over the course of 2 months, 40 RISD students worked closely with David Gersten and Michael Harrison. The works emerged in to ‘Galapagos In C’: an interactive, multimedia performance combining architecture, performance, and music.
The 2015 summer’s workshop was arranged as a five-week intensive program. Inspired by the Galapagos Archipelago and the knowledge transformations that emerged from Darwin’s five-week experience within their dense bio-diversity, the Galapagos workshop invoked the first principle of the theory of evolution. The structure and nature of the questions offer different ways in which the experience can be meaningful for each individual and where the contribution of one’s own work supports the larger body of work.
In March 2015 a group of 25 people from all over the world, and representing a wide spectrum of disciplines, convened upon a snow-covered House on the Hill to take part in “Oppenheimer’s Table” - a workshop examining and expanding upon the nature of 132 doodles generated from the secret joint committee meetings held in 1947 and chaired by Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer.
On May 9th, 2014 Arts Letters & Numbers acquired the house on the hill above the mill. Built in 1859, this house previously served as the original mill owner’s residence. Now it has become the residence for Arts Letters & Numbers ongoing programs. This moment in the evolution of Arts letter & Numbers demanded our present tense creativity. We decided to focus our third summer workshop on the very immediate questions we are all asking: What is space between the house and the mill? How do we inhabit this new geography?
The 2013 summer's workshop grew out of the perfect combination of planning and poetry. Building from the experiences of our first summer workshop, and incorporating discoveries found through our recent work, we developed this summer’s workshop titled ‘Exquisite Broken Circle; Suddenly a Chora’. Structured through six disciplines; construction, drawing, film/photography, writing, theater and music/sound the workshop was conceived of as a disciplinary exquisite corpse. Each of these disciplines worked in parallel and in close proximity, directly interacting though a framework of shared questions and actions.
Brown University Workshop Nov 2012 // Providence, RI
David Gersten, Diana Mangaser with Richard Fishman, Rebecca Schneider
"Exquisite Broken Circle" an Arts, Letters & Numbers workshop was held at Brown University. Conceived of as an embodied "exquisite corpse," participants from multidisciplinary backgrounds engage in action, re-action and reenactment within the construction of two half-circle arcs set back to back. Within each arc space of performance, a set of live-feed cameras and projections loop the image(s) and the performer(s) in an infinite mirror of responsive and repetitive movement that creates a dialogue between the performers and each set of actions.
Circles: Drawing on Friendship" was the first of the Art, Letters & Numbers workshops to be held in our Mill in Upstate New York. Through a deep intellectual, emotional, and creative questioning, we drew up a series of works and created new structures, new spaces, new stories which culminated in a celebratory performance. The collective creative urgency was a crucible of emotive precision from which we pour the foundation for our future workshops.
The 'Aarhus Arc' was built by 150 master students at the Aarhus School of Architecture. In an act reminiscent of the Globe Theater, the arc was carried in large segments through the snow and (re)constructed within the school’s theatre. Performing as a wall, a drawing board/film screen, it divided the space, inviting people to whisper through it, draw through it, cut through it. Through these acts of empathy for those on the other side, the arc transformed into an architecture, a theater, a film, a drawing, a conversation, an action, a school, and a contribution to a city culminating in a series of performances of magical moments, smoke and fire!
The 'Open Book' Workshop was an initial step towards what has become Arts Letters & Numbers. The students from the studio "Making Real" participated in this collaborative workshop orchestrated by David Gersten and Anne Romme. The workshop explored the interrelations between gravity, bodies, drawing, time through inhabiting plans on floors, sections on walls, and the space in between.