arts letters & numbers - averill park, new york, usa

In 2015 was Bart Drost artist in residence bij Arts Letters & Numbers in Averill Park, New York, USA. In 2016 werkte hij er gastbegeleider van 'zoetrope sun', de jaarlijkse zomerworkshop van ALN.

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HAUS26 - 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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the house

"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, by the members of the worksop soon called 'the three Barts'.

1 beamer with the torch song trilogy, 1 livestream, 1 Bart.

Shot by Lyndsay Bloom and Keanan Fox.

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'rolling, rolling, rolling' - 2015

'Rolling, rolling, rolling' - (a tribute to life)

 a series of installations at Arts Letters and Numbers Averill Park NY, USA, August/September 2015

Barts adventure in ALN started at The Shop, that huge space on the ground floor of The Mill. When you visit it for the first time it looks like a chaotic mess, so many stuff of all kind, everywhere around, in all corners. It was too much. But suddenly he discovered an old wheelchair and from than on the story started to tell itself.

At the end of 2014the grandparents of his daughter Eline both died. Her grandfather suffered from dementia and he ended his life in a wheelchair. He looked very satisfied, in away hassle-free childish. Was he happy? One couldn't verify.  At that time - as a memory of grandfather Frits and his illness - Bart made an new artwork: a small wheelchair with very highgrab bards. It looked like a toy. Why we do give children a small stroller to play with, or a little car but never a wheelchair? Is it because we are so used to ignoring the 'dark sides of life'?

So finding that oldwheelchair in The Shop turned out to be the beginning of a series of 'vehicles' that people use/need during their lifetime. Bart made drawings of a stroller, a buggy, a scooter, a skateboard, a bike, a walker, the wheelchair and finally the litter where you lay when live is over.


And then he found a music box, playing 'raindrops keep falling on my head'... and the idea of the merry go round was born.

The drawings became cut-outs and the cut-outs became part of a small merry go round that after all turned out to be the model of a full-scale one.

In this period the residence artists of ALN visited MASS-Moca and Bart was excited about the works of Jim Shaw. Back in Averill Park he went to the studio in the evening (whatreally was special because his working hours mostly are from 8 hs in the morning until 14 hs. The afternoon is reserved for his bike rides) and made a series of nine large sheets of brown paper where he cut out the life-vehicles.Next day he painted the sheets white and a new piece of art was born!

The cut out paper vehicles he folded as small as possible and he tied a ribbon to. Presented on a butchers chopping block it represents the complete arsenal of surprises life can offer each one of us everyday.

The fourth part of his works are the vehicles made of rest wood he found in The Shop. At this moment this is an important issue for Bart: as he left home he decided not to buy any new materials or tools for the artworks he eventually should make at ALN. In addition he  intended not to take the  eventually new art works back home to Holland. For the presentation on August 29th at ALN Bart made a kind of cross court in The Shop.

The nine wooden vehicles later were part of a performance in The Mill: nine actors moved eachone of the vehicles and formed a Living Merry Go Round.  Finally all the actors were interviewed about the rol 'their'  vehicle played in their own life.


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the merry go round of life

Het carrousel bestaat uit negen voertuigen uit bruin kartonboard gesneden. Zij zijn voorzien van lijntekeningen in witte muurverf. Alle materiaal is afkomstig uit The Shop. Moeren, schroeven, latten en draaielement zijn weer voor hergebruik geschikt.


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the hidden presentation

The Hidden Presentation is een verhaal op zichzelf. Want wat doe je als je ?alle mogelijkheden? hebt en je dreigt ze grotendeels te verliezen?

Aanvankelijk werkte ik alleen in de studio van The Mill; toen kwamen er twee kunstenaars bij; toen nog eens twee. En ineens was het een drukte van belang. Ik voelde mij in het gedrang komen. Dus snel nog ? voordat de bui losbarst ? van alles uitgeprobeerd, voordat ik de boel ging wegruimen.

De uitgesneden vormen van de Empty Shadows heb ik zo klein mogelijk in elkaar gevouwen. Het zijn verborgen kunstwerken ? Hidden Presentations ? geworden. Het hele leven strak verpakt. En dan staat er een hakblok, ook een lange ladder. Er zijn balken en touwen?

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the empty shadows

Negen vellen bruin papier van de rol. Daarop telkens één vehikel/voertuig gelegd (de auto, de fiets, step etc). De omtrek erop tekenen en dan de figuur uitsnijden. Daarna zijn de vellen met muurverf gewit, waarbij de randlijnen zijn uitgespaard.

De vellen papier zijn na de presentatie in The House on The Hill vernietigd en met de vuilcontainer meegegaan.

Het werk van Jim Shaw was de inspiratiebron voor deze ingreep.

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the vehicle cross

Een parcours is met stoepkrijt uitgezet op de vloer van The Shop. De houten vehicles zijn gemaakt van resthout. Moeren, bouten schroeven en bruikbare houtwerk zijn weer In de schappen en bakken teruggelegd.
Het speeldoosje dat het model van de carrousel doet draaien komt ook uit The Shop. Het model is mét speeldoosje mee naar Nederland gereisd.


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the living carrousel


(invitation by mail ? sended 09.01.2015 to: Michelle Elliot; Diane Deblois; Che Perez; Frida Foberg; Drew Gillespie; Bonnie Cook; Robbert Dalton Harris)

"Dear all!

My residence period at ALN comes to its end. I'm so gratefull about the experiences I had and about the works that came to me, as a gift.
In the attachment you will find some information about the projects that I've worked on.
Thursday September 3rd will be 'The Grand Final'. During a pressure-cooker-session I will try to realize the all-embracing art work of 'Rolling rolling rolling'. This will hopefully result in a short movie. I never did such before, so I need your help! It would be nice if we could let it be 'our project'. Hereby I hearty invite you to be join this event and contribute in this project.

Program of The Grand Final:

16:00h -16:30h:  Gathering at The Barn, where we will swipe the Merry go Round of Life. Welcome and a short introduction about the idea. Making a group photo.

16:30h:  we will go to The Shop and make a ride with the vehicles. In the meanwhile between 16.00h - 17.00h Ché will interview each of you about 'age'. These interviews will take roughly 7 minutes and will be filmed.

17:00h in The Mill. Time to discuss the suggestions and possibilities of filming 'rolling rolling rolling'. Making a photo of each participant and a vehicle.

18:00h   We will start the performance that will be the leading motiv of the movie.

19:00h  Dinner at The Mill

20:00h  We will do four small acts 'behind the screen'.

21:00h  We are very satisfied and we look back on a very enjoyable and enriching afternoon!

I hope you will be here!

Love,
Bart."

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spelen in het donker

Als je dan toch de mogelijkheid hebt om dingen uit te proberen, doe het dan!


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the interviews

The Living Carrousel was het resultaat van een workshop die een namiddag en avond duurde. De acteurs waren twee medewerkers van ALN, drie kunstenaars die op dat moment aanwezig waren en vier vrienden van het ALN.
Het plan verzinnen om een levend carrousel te maken is een ding, dit plan uitvoeren is andere koek. Met name: waar haal je de mensen vandaan die de cirkel willen vormen?
Was tot voor kort ALN vol met residence kunstenaars en andere belangstellenden, op het moment dat Bart Drost dit project wilde uitvoeren waren er 'maar' drie aanwezig, hemzelf incluis, waarvan er éen eigenlijk niet mee wilde doen. Zij heeft uiteindelijk gelukkig wel meegewerkt aan de uitvoering  (anders had het niet kunnen doorgaan), maar voor een interview voelde zij helemaal niets.
De interviews zijn op video vastgelegd. Een uitsnede van deze interviews is door Ché Perez en Bart gemaakt in mijn laatste week bij ALN. Deze compilatie is tenslotte na mijn vertrek van ALN door Ché Perez uitgewerkt en  gemonteerd.





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twee boeken

Juli 2016 Bart Drost was artist in residence  bij de zomerworkshop Zoëtrope Sun bij arts letters & numbers in Averill Park, New York, USA. Hij werd uitgenodigd om een bijdrage te leveren aan de zomerworkshop. Omdat hij zich niet thuis voelde in het verplichte keurslijf van een groepsomgeving, ging hij graag "voor zichzelf" beginnen. Hij bouwde zijn eigen huis - HAUS 26 - waar hij een opvallend project realiseerde dat schijnbaar tegen de heersende cultuur leek in te vliegen, maar toch - of juist daardoor? - enthousiast en hartelijk ontvangen door de deelnemers. In dit boek een overzicht van de projecten, de ideeën en de tentoonstelling bij ALN.



uitgegeven in 2016

full colour digiprint

116 pagina's, gelijmd

tekst in het Engels


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In de late zomer van 2015 werkt Bart Drost als artist in residence bij Arts Letters and Numbers in Averill Park NY, USA. Het is een vruchtbare tijd: het ene project na het andere ontrolt zicht. In deze nieuwe projecten onder de noemer 'rolling, rolling, rolling' draait het om de fasen die een mens in zijn leven doorloopt.Ook in letterlijke zin een draaiend gebeuren: het carrousel keert terug in zijn werk!


In dit boek opgenomen: fb-berichten, drie brieven, foto's en een beschrijving van de projecten.


Uitgave in 2015

digital print met afbeeldingen in zwart/wit

100 pagina's

Tekst in Engels



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Bart Drost

vrij kunstenaar

Graafseweg 183a
6531ZR Nijmegen