July 8th - Aug 6th, 2017
In moments of existential crisis, time has a tendency to collapse, whole chains of events that may usually require years and decades to unfold, suddenly happen overnight."
- Farid Moslehi
The demands of our time are urgent: our present and emerging challenges, and the very real possibilities for a better world, calls for new modes of comprehension and action, new questions, and new forms of knowledge.
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.
Since May this year the ground level of the Mill, our shop, has undergone an incredible transformation. Fellows, participants and the local community have worked together, repairing and painting every window, stacking 200 year-old barn-wood to form an inhabitable stair and stage, built a new indoor and outdoor kitchen, constructed a 24’ long projection wall, and cleared a generous open space, providing the foundations of this year’s workshop: Constitution.
On July 8th the workshop officially began when construction work transitioned into investigating and questioning the constitutive elements of the space: the iron columns, the windows, the walls, the ground and the encounter with the surrounding landscape.
Throughout the four-week workshop participants from a wide range of disciplines developed a shared language between the elements of the Mill, its context and inhabitants. Out of these interactions, many forms of conversation emerged – between the works and spaces, bodies and words, gesture and stillness– moving towards new models/structures/frameworks of constitution.
As we moved further into conversations and questions of Constitution we searched for the strings beneath the notes, for a largeness of being that repels our current accelerating violence, one that embraces life and articulates a poetic, spatial and material imagination of the social contract. Perhaps the greatest source of this largeness of being is found in the fragility of being, for in the act of embracing our fragility we enact a social-poetic imagination, making visible the connective tissues that bind freedom.
The extensive thoughts and works that blossomed from this year’s workshop grew into the second Arts Letters & numbers Festival, Constitution. Once again we opened our doors to the public and continued to imagine ALN as an active place of artistic flourish in the Town.
The conversations, installations and performances presented during the festival has been cultivated and enriched through this summer-workshop’s variety of events, seminars, workshops and talks.
David Gersten opened with two talks, an introduction to ALN and Where Constitutes?, framing and situating the generating question of the workshop.
Ruby Jayaseelan introduced us to indian classical dance and improvisation.
Robert Dalton Harris, Diane DeBois & Steve Fry lectured on arborescent and rhizomatic systems of interdependence.
Rich Kuperberg and Ann Morris taught us principles of miming.
Ed Keller delivered a lecture on Planetary Timescapes to the Cosmopolitical Gesture.
Homa Shojaie introduced us to her work, delving into questions of surface and margin of error in the work art in her talk Between Veil and Painting.
Ward Dales and Noelle Gentile led a two day workshop focused on acts of personal storytelling and sharing through writing, painting, and improvisational performance.
Ginger Teppner gave a reading of her poetry by the fire on Burden Lake.
Michael Harrison led a series of singing session in Raga from Indian classical music.
Uri Wegman gave a talk drawing together Kafka, Muybridge & Mies van der Rohe, and Wes Rozen presented the work of his firm SITU Studio, and together also led a three dimensional drawing exercise exploring the body and light.’
David Gersten gave two lectures on John Hejduk titled “Hejduk Hamlet and the Ghost Promise” and “John Hejduk through the Wall”.
Alva Mooses, Claudia Cortínez & Pedro Wainer led a workshop in Paper casting and drawing with fire.
Troels Steenholdt Heiredal shared his project on poetry and photos of New York and Aarhus
Mira Treatman led a morning-workshop titled “Constituting and occupying Space” teaching us improvisational movement.
Photography by Zelé Angelides and Wes Rozen