HAUS26 - averill park ny - 2016

Arts Letters & Numbers in Averill Park, NY offers a summer workshop every year for artists, musicians, architects etcera. From various disciplines on a specific theme examined. In 2016 the theme was "zoetrope sun". Bart Drost was invited to contribute as a visiting artist for four weeks.

During his stay, he developed an interactive series of meetings with twenty-three individual participants. But first he built his own house with a view, a view at the inner side.


"Because I was afraid one could get overruled by the great event of the summer workshop, I decided to build my own "headquarters" from which I could set up my personal project. I thought that an approach to the participants face to face would be a welcome and indispensable change within the huge offer of group experiences and events where generally a workshop is characterized by.


So right next to the large workshop of aln - the mill - I built from leftover materials which I found my own little house. With a table, two chairs, something on the wall, flowers, a clothesline, a small veranda and a door with a latch on the inside. A suitcase. And a mailbox.
At that point I had no idea yet how the project would develop itself exactly. First I had to build. It surely would be grand and comprehensive, this four-week workshop. Guests would come every day to work with the group of participants: dancing, movement, mime, drawing, expression, and so on. And at the end there would be a intensive two-day festival.


Thinking of the zoetrope I realized that there was something special about it: you can focus on the outside of the zoetrope or you can focus on the inside. Both entities exist at the same time, you know for sure. But you only can observe one of them.

In my opinion it was about the inside and the outside and suddenly I new what my project would be about. I wanted to work with the individual participants. I wanted to share a day with each of them. To talk with them, to exchange ideas. I was curious about them. Who are they? What moves them?

So no spectacular workshop at my place, no big gestures; keep it small."

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The project

"When my house was build, I invited each of the participants to spend a day - or at least a part of the day - as my guest with me in my little house.

These were the items I wanted to explore with each of them:

1.    Go back in your memory and try to think of a moment in your life that you know the behavior you showed was completely different of how you felt inside.
2.    Everyone has a guilty pleasure, a pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. What is/are yours?
3.    There is something in you you want to should out loud to the world, but you will never, never do because of?

Once in my little house we drunk a cop of coffee or a glass of water and we had a little conversation about these three items.

After that, each guest is given three assignments.

1.    Make a drawing/drawings about the subjects we talked about
2.    Write some words/phrases about your thoughts and your drawings
3.    Go to the shop/studio and find/make something that is the conclusion of your drawing/writing/talking.

The assignments are given one by one after the introduction and our discussion.
During the time the guest is working at his/her task I left and sat as a guard for my house. I did not leave the place. When the guest was ready he or she called me and we looked at the drawings/writings and philosophized a little about them.

Some guests did not want to share their thoughts, drawings or writings with me. Therefore I had made a mailbox on the house. Each guest did his drawings in a blank envelope and deposited them in the letterbox. At the end, as all participants had visited my house, I opened the mailbox. In this way I tried to guarantee anonymity.

At the end of each session I took four pictures of the eyes of the guest: open, closed, open, closed.

Twenty three participants have visited my home and shared a part of their life with me. Better said: we shared a part of our lives."




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HAUS26

"Throughout the building of and during the meetings in my little house, it was simply called Bart's house.

For me, it was the house with a view. A view inside, inside my guests, inside myself. It turned out to be a house where things are said people had never told another before. One of the guests even likened the house with a confession booth and called me monk.

Twenty three people visited me in my house. As many drawings, writings and objects remained. What to do with all this beautiful and remarkable material?

Me too, I spend a lot of time in the shop. I wanted my house to give a number and I knew from my residency at aln last year that there had to be somewhere adhesive letters. Of course I found them and immediately I started to put them on my house. Not thinking, just doing. And I had to laugh when I realized that I used the German word HAUS instead of house?

For the aln 2016 summer festival I turned HAUS26,  my former headquarters, into a small private museum to house the works the participants made. I threw all the furniture out, painted the interior whit, some fluorescent tubes in.

In HAUS26 all works (twenty four, including mine) were given a place and a voice over spoke parts of the texts written in Barts house.

In front of the house, right above the mailbox, a small monitor shows a movie of the eyes of all the guests: open, closed, open, closed.

It was a wonderful experience for both of us and I am very, very grateful that it has given me to spend this time with people who were totally unknown until then for me."

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enjoying life





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a torch song trilogy

Bart Drost, video of a live-performance at Arts Lettters & Numbers, July 2016.

Shot by Lyndsay Bloom and Keanan Fox.



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Bart Drost

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Graafseweg 183a
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