HetWERK (PART I, DEN HAAG, HOLLAND) - an interactive site-specific installation and workshops in public project space that reflects my interest in collective experiences. The objective of this work is to relate the material and spiritual construction. I wish to explore the positive nature of a creative impulse in hope of breaking the Uroborus of contemporary art, in which the cycle of destruction and deconstruction themes had led to the canonization of the negative impulse.

Within transformed indoor and outdoor gallery space HetWERK presents its public with a different type of aesthetic experience by inspiring collective creativity. The audience involvement is essential for project’s realization. The emphasis of the proposed installment of this ongoing project has shifted to the very process of its creation.


“It is through a common language (that of symbols), on the basis of a common culture (that of tradition), and the support of the ritual, that Freemasons arrive at a quality of listening and of dialogue which favors the exchange of ideas and prepares the Future”.
The indoor space is converted into an outdoor quarry and a construction site, tableaux vivant inspired by the scene form Bruegel’s Tower painting.
The middle of the gallery floor is occupied by a large heap of what at a glance seems like mud clods. Those clods are made of ordinary American craft paper bags crumpled onto uneven balls. The participants assuming the role of masons are asked to make ‘bricks’ from those clods. Each bag crumpled by hand to create its unique faux-stone surface and individually modeled into blocks that will gradually claim the gallery floor. Over the course of the exhibition a heap will be greatly diminished while rows of created bricks will pile along the walls of the gallery. The stamped and numbered bricks prepared during numerous public workshops in different cities would be used in the future for the re-construction of an architectural dream: the Tower of Babel.
The public participation during the installation is both social and symbolic: working on a perfect stone brick requires an intellectual approach but it will also appeal to imagination, intuition, the creative and the emotional, i.e. the entirety of the philosophical process of the Human Being.
The WORK in mason’s philosophy is a lifetime chiseling off the one’s imperfections necessary for production of a perfect person, a building stone in the beehive of humanity, an ideal member of international community of the Future. However, in my installation I am not aiming at perfection, but aspire to celebrate an individual uniqueness that each brick should symbolize. I plan to accomplish this by introduction in each brick’s creation both human touch and error, which disrupt the mass production universality.
The WORK installation has been designed to create a dialogue in public art spaces as a provocation for an intellectual search for lingua franca. Does communal creative impulse has a power to unite the divided nations? Can the destroyed ziggurat be seen again as a symbol of tolerance and unity?

Draft by Julia Nitsberg April 5, 2010