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.
On October 16th SUNY Albany celebrated the 25th anniversary of the College of Arts and Sciences. Arts Letters & Numbers director David Gersten was invited to offer a keynote address entitled ‘Developing New Ways of Knowing: Education, Art, Space and Place.
Director David Gersten visited the University at Albany's College of Arts and Sciences to celebrate its 25th Anniversary celebration event on Tuesday, October 16. He sat down for a talk with Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl.
This year brought with it our 3rd annual Festival, where we once again celebrated and shared the works created over the course of our 2018 Summer Workshop, Hinges, Mirrors & Eclipses. With 45 participants, representing an incredible range of fields and nationalities, it was the largest workshop in the history of Arts Letters & Numbers, resulting in a truly memorable festival.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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 this poetic speech, David Gersten, founding director of Arts Letters & Numbers, provides profound insights into spatial literacy as he delves into the complex richness of the conversations between our surroundings and how they shape our experiences.
David Gersten recently presented two talks on John Hejduk at the Cooper Union School of Architecture:
Part I: Hejduk, Hamlet and The Ghost Promise
Part II John Hejduk: Through the Wall
This immersive festival presented works created during Zoëtrope Sun, a four-week summer workshop, bringing together architects, artists, filmmakers, musicians, composers, physicists, poets, photographers, actors, mimes, chefs, and scientists.
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”.
Sun Ship: An Exhibition in support of Arts Letters & Numbers was held at Wilmer Jennings Gallery, in New York City, co-hosted by Dorian Grey Gallery and curated by Director, David Gersten. On view from June 17 till June 30, 2016, the Exhibition contained over 100 works by over 70 artists from more than a dozen countries, all donating their works to support Arts Letters & Numbers. These were emerging and internationally renowned artists, including Dennis Adams, John Ahearn, Michael Benson, Mike Bidlo, Lorenzo Clayton, Martha Cooper, Marylyn Dintenfass, Adeline Kueh, Bill Morrison, Margaret Morton, Laurie Olinder, Walid Raad, James Romberger, David Shapiro, Homa Shojaie, Suha Traboulsi, Ian Woo and Lebbeus Woods, among others.
Bringing together works of the broader Arts Letter & Numbers community, the exhibition opened with a beautiful celebration of these many vibrant and diverse works and voices. The highlight of the evening was a grand piano performance by Michael Harrison followed by a live auction in support of our project. Photos from the exhibition and event are below, and a publication of the exhibition is available here on our website. Sun Ship was new territory for Arts Letters & Numbers and the entire organization sprang into action determined to have the exhibition, publication, events, online and live auctions created and crafted with all of the thoughtfulness, and precision, poured into all of our ALN works.
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.
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. When individual agents are brought into proximity, they interact, building new linkages. Under the right circumstances, these symbioses create transformations, catalyzing new forms. The proximity and interactions within diverse agents is fundamental to the emergence of new logos, new species, new modes of being, the events of variety and variation; knowledge evolves, comprehension evolves, new forms emerge. Recognizing these diverse forms of agency as a diversity of ‘ways of knowing,' we begin to understand a living system of knowledge permutations—thereby, a 'general assembly of education.'
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?