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.
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.
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”.
Featuring four immersive rooms that dealt with bullying, loss, identity and empowerment through one's talents and strengths, the young artists wrote their own pieces; there was dance, music, costumes, lighting and even short film pieces.
A book release event was held at the Mill on May 14th for A Night on Buddy’s Bench – An End of Life Story – an adult picture book written by Ira Baumgarten, a local resident (who lives two mile from the Mill) and illustrated by his mother-in-law Ann Bonville Trombly, another local resident. It was a celebration of how we hold life’s grief and gratitude in the same moment.
These new works exhibited at the Mill last Friday are a perfect indicator of the power of spring in the air. It's amazing to watch how the mill fills up with human spirit and it's wheels start turning as the temperatures rise. This beautiful group of artists, each with their own intimate and driven idiosyncratic approach to their work, created a thick and palpable emotive space when the works all hung together.
Paint strokes and sun rays, textiles and sound bits, videos and voices all in intriguing conversations. As spring swept through the mill and we once more reclaimed our most precious spaces with this years first spring exhibition Cherry, Black Birch, and Oak.
During the colder weeks of the winter, our Artists in Residence moved their studios from the Mill to the House on the Hill. Even though the grand space of the Mill has been in play in developing the artist's works, the House on the Hill added another dimension of scale and complexity.
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.
Cassiopeia was an exhibition of works created at the Arts Letters and Numbers residency program on October 24th 2015. It came together as a constellation of ideas expressed in poetry, photography, sculpture, painting, music and comedy all set within the magnificent mill space.
A joint exhibition between Guatemalan/US artist and architect Aida Miron, and Bosnian/Norwegian artist Adi Dukic.
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.
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.