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

In 2015 and 2016 Bart Drost worked at Arts Letters & Numbers in Averill Park, New York, USA. In 2015 as artist in residence,

In 2016 as guest supervisor of a summer workshop.


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."


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."


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."

the opening ceremony


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.


'rolling, rolling, rolling' - 2015

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

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

Barts adventure inALN started at The Shop, that huge space on the ground floor of The Mill. Whenyou visit it for the first time it looks like a chaotic mess, so many stuff ofall kind, everywhere around, in all corners. It was too much. But suddenly hediscovered 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 fromdementia 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 Fritsand 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 toplay with, or a little car but never a wheelchair? Is it because we are so usedto 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, abuggy, a scooter, a skateboard, a bike, a walker, the wheelchair and finallythe 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 drawingsbecame cut-outs and the cut-outs became part of a small merry go round thatafter all turned out to be the model of a full-scale one.

In this period theresidence artists of ALN visited MASS-Moca and Bart was excited about the worksof 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 themorning until 14 hs. The afternoon is reserved for his bike rides) and made aseries 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 papervehicles he folded as small as possible and he tied a ribbon to. Presented on abutchers chopping block it represents the complete arsenal of surprises lifecan offer each one of us everyday.

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

The nine woodenvehicles 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 aboutthe rol 'their'  vehicle played in theirown life.


the merry go round of life

The carousel consists of nine sliced vehicles brown cardboard board. They are equipped with line drawings in white paint. All material comes from The Shop. Nuts, screws, bars and screw element are again suitable for reuse.


the hidden presentation

The Hidden Presentation is a story in itself. Because what to do when you have 'all possibilities in the world' and you are threaten to lose them largerly?
Initially I was working alone in the studio The Mill; then two other artists joined in; then another two. And suddenly it was very busy. I felt compromised. So fast yet - before the storm breaks out - I tried everything before I things went cleaning my space.

I minimized the cut shapes from 'Empty Shadows' and folded them into one another. They became hidden artworks - Hidden Presentations. The whole life wrapped tightly. And then there is a chopping block, even a long ladder. There are beams and ropes ...


the empty shadows

Nine sheets of brown paper from the roll. Paintg on each one a vehicle / vehicle (car, bike, scooter, etc.). Draw the circumference and then cut out the figure. Thereafter, the sheets are whitened with wall paint, in which the edge lines are recessed.

The sheets are destroyed after the presentation of The House on The Hill and kept up with the garbage.

This work is inspired by Jim Shaw.


the vehicle cross

A course is plotted with chalk on the floor of The Shop. The wooden vehicles are made from waste wood. Nuts, bolts, screws and useful woodwork are put back in the shelves and bins.
The music box which rotates the carousel model also comes from The Shop. The model is with music box traveled to the Netherlands.


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!



playing in the dark

If you get the change to make no experiences, then do it!


the interviews

The Living Carousel was the result of a workshop that lasted one afternoon and evening. The actors were two employees of ALN, three artists who were present at that time and four friends of the ALN.
Thinking about the plan to make a living carousel is one thing, executing this plan is different. In particular: where do you get the people who want to form the circle?
Until recently ALN there were many residence artists and other interested parties, but when Bart Drost wanted to implement this project, there were "only" three present, including himself, one of which did not really want to participate. She fortunately participated in the project (otherwise could not pass it), but she refused an interview.
The interviews were recorded on video. A cutout of these interviews was taken by Che Perez and Bart in his last week at ALN. This compilation is finally developed and assembled after my departure ALN by Che Perez.


two books

July 2016 Bart Drost was artist in residence at the summer workshop Zoëtrope Sun at arts letters & numbers in Averill Park, New York, USA. He was invited to contribute to the summer workshop. Because he did not feel at home in the compulsory straitjacket of a group environment, he liked to start "for himself". He built his own house - HAUS 26 - where he realized a striking project that seemed to fly against the prevailing culture, but still - or because of that? - enthusiastically and warmly received by the participants. This book provides an overview of the projects, ideas and exhibition at ALN.

released in 2016

full color digiprint

116 pages, glued text

in English


In the late summer of 2015 Bart Drost works as an artist in residence at Arts Letters and Numbers in Averill Park NY, USA. It is a fertile time: one project after another unfolds. In these new projects, called 'rolling, rolling, rolling', it revolves around the phases that a person goes through in his life, also literally a rotating event: the carousel returns to his work! Included in this book: fb messages, three letters, photos and a description of the projects.

Released in 2015

digital print with images in black and white

100 pages

Text in English

Back to archive.


Bart Drost

free artist

Graafseweg 183a
6531ZR Nijmegen
The Netherlands