M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerpen and AIR Antwerpen invited Drop City to be the eleventh guest in the LODGERS programme, occupying the 6th floor of the museum as «Drop City, Antwerp» between 5 August - 15 October 2017. The Studio for Arousing Tools: Assembly I; A Gradual Stiffening; The Kink in the Arc: A Collective Novel; Alpha Adieu were four concurrently running programmes each led by one of Drop City’s founding members. A highly experimental format, presentations, including those from invited peers and collaborators, included changing installations, performances, readings, talks, seminars, workshops and offsite events. The aim was to push the collaborative boundaries of individual practices to the point where they would converge to produce new and unexpected meanings, as well as to critique the established roles and expectations of the museum and non-profit initiative.


6 August – 15 October 2017


Rubén Grilo, 'Noone, Allness', Faux sebum fingerprints made using silicone-tipped gloves embossed with computer generated patterns, 2017

Jani Ruscica, 'Felt the Moonlight on My Feet'. Bespoke leather tap shoes adapted with felt, acoustic platform, three dance pieces as poetry readings made in collaboration with Suzanna Pezo, 2017

Jani Ruscica, 'Felt the Moonlight on My Feet'. Bespoke leather tap shoes adapted with felt, acoustic platform, three dance pieces as poetry readings made in collaboration with Suzanna Pezo, 2017

Christian Jendreiko, 'RIDDLE & LUST: Action for voice, text & electronics', live performance taking place within Eleanor Wright’s installation ‘A Gradual Stiffening (Rea)’, 2017

Pentecostal Party, live performance and set, The Pinkhouse

Metaphysics VR, virtual reality workshop with Philip Hausmeier, M HKA

Metaphysics VR, virtual reality workshop with Philip Hausmeier, M HKA

Christian Jendreiko 'The Hermestia Approach', workshop, The Pinkhouse


The Studio for Arousing Tools is a temporary autonomous and responsive platform for reflections ranging from commentary and inquiry to current spatial realities and production processes. Taking the act of the invitation as a starting point to explore a number of recent and ongoing interests around the potentiality of hospitality, production and cultural mobility within the field of exhibition making, the programme extends the invitation to both those whom I have made friendships with through previous curatorial projects and new relationships developed during the programme in Antwerp, with the intention of establishing a developmental programme of artworks and events with invited artists, curators, researchers and other cultural producers from a broad variety of cultures and fields. Using the tools of the geographer, the urban planner, the architect, or designer the programme creates new grounds for research and interaction, blurring the boundaries between artist and audience, science and politics, art and architecture. Through field observation, analysis or physical construction the artists in the programme dig into the spaces created by popular culture and contemporary society to reveal new meanings. Public or intimate, permanent or temporary, material or virtual, we are interested as much in the physical quality of space as in its social and political outcomes.

In the work of those brought together for The Studio for Arousing Tools, it becomes possible to comprehend a shared notion that in art the issue is not so much whether the alternative view is more beautiful or more interesting, or nearer to the truth, but rather about the always present possibility of a different perspective, a potential. We stick to the notion of translating research into a shared language of artistic forms, an interconnected endeavour that interlinks the aesthetic and cognitive whilst carefully avoiding falling into the pitfall of defining a practice solely as a disembodied form of knowledge production. In so doing, this allows us to reflect on the function of research within artistic practice both as a tool and as an autonomous, intellectual activity.

The programme presents recent artworks either site-specific, specially made for this programme, or taken from the existing collection of the artist, avoiding the form of a group-exhibition, not through creating spaces dedicated to the presentation of a single artist, but through positioning its presence – or creating a common space – in and between the other programmes running concurrently under the guise of Drop City, Antwerp at M KHA and identified places outside of the host institution. This enables the programme to present a combination of participatory projects and singular works simultaneously in dialogue not only with one another but with other distinct artistic programmes and publics. The strong objectives and multifaceted approaches used within each practice assembled within The Studio for Arousing Tools give each of the works and projects a very specific character, enabling the topics of Production – Space – Commoning – to be highlighted from very personal points of view.

The collaborative vocation of The Studio for Arousing Tools is grounded on the encounter as a privileged form of exchange, in which coexistence and cooperation are central factors for the definition of a common space in which various contemporary artistic cultures can meet.

The tool stands for a construction instrument, a mechanism, a means, thus the name alludes to the importance of the act of both building and re-shaping, in which doing and knowing shape one another. Paying tribute to the Bauhaus and its transdisciplinary approach, which is based on the exchange between visual and applied arts, The Studio for Arousing Tools is also a temporary space in constant construction and does not define itself through a physical location.


The Studio for Arousing Tools


3—6 October

Approaching contemporary art as an activity that shares several characteristics with cultural anthropology, the programme asks ‘What are the tools we use to understand the world around us?’ A chisel might define the joint by which we glue and join together disparate pieces of wood, while humankind’s curiosity and observational rigour helps to define various and at times, conflicting stories of our development as social beings. The fields of design, architecture, anthropology and art diverge in significant respects but we can also observe many parallels between them. Not only do artists, scientists and researchers share a passion for probing what lies beneath the surface, but they endeavour to reveal things that were formerly disregarded yet which have the potential to change our views of the past, present and future. The invited artists in The Studio for Arousing Tools probe the underlying layers of our social and political reality, exposing what is concealed whilst penetrating to other times, processes and cultures.

Focusing on alternative ways of knowledge finding: things our bodies know but which we do not always act upon, such as acquired skills, sudden reflexes and marked intuition, the works and methods presented within the studio programme offer imaginative approaches to working with audiences, participants and contributors alike.

The participants and contributors to the programme are drawn together through existing relationships – and friendships – with curator Sam Watson stemming from curatorial  collaborations over the past 7 years, and those encountered during the course of the programme in Antwerp.




Ersi Varveri The lost page on the gas fire
Lunch & Conversations
at The Pinkhouse, Italiëlei 63

Christian Jendreiko The Hermestia Approach
at The Pinkhouse, Italiëlei 63

Rubén Grilo
The Slater Society
at M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art

Paky Vlassopoulou Smoking and waiting. Waiting and smoking. (The Stranger I)
at Draakplaats, 2018 Antwerpen




Metaphysics VR
at M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art

Luisa Ungar Conversation
at a city centre location, TBA


Metaphysics VR
at M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art

Jani Ruscica Felt The Moonlight On My Feet
at MHKA Museum of Contemporary Art

Christian Jendreiko RIDDLE & LUST
Action for voice, text & electronics

at M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art


Christian Jendreiko The Hermestia Approach
at The Pinkhouse, Italiëlei 63

Ersi Varveri There is only dancing with the flavours
Dinner & Conversations
at The Pinkhouse, Italiëlei 63

Christian Jendreiko & Pentecostal Party
at The Pinkhouse, Italiëlei 63



Rubén Grilo

In his work, Rubén Grilo defetishizes the perfect, ready-to-be consumed objects that surround us by taking them apart and reversing their production processes in order to draw our attention to the materials, techniques and labour involved in their production. Chocolate moulds, high density styrofoam, clay of the sort used for car prototyping and an obsolete unit of measurement—the ell—have all taken centre stage in his sculptures and installations. His work addresses a blind spot in our consumer society, whose language—as a result of the processes of branding and marketing—acknowledges only the experience of the end-user.

Exactly when and how does something become an individual thing, a product that speaks to us, a finished, self-contained entity? Grilo is interested in how processes of mass fabrication lead to and are intertwined with signifiers of individuation, such as imprints, signatures, fingerprints, letters and mistakes. Mass production, originality, individuality and seriality meet in sneaky ways in Grilo’s work. Signatures are bought from the Internet, paint is conceived to never dry, and jean fabric wear patterns are industrially produced.

A tension between the creation of individualized objects and anonymous, mass-produced products is also palpable in the ways in which Grilo positions himself as an artist. Playing with different degrees of dissociation from the creative process, Grilo has at times, for instance, acted as an entrepreneur—notably during the launch of his paint series. For a recent exhibition in London, he wrote a letter to be used as a press release in which he reflected, “I distanced myself so much from the work that if my skin was just thicker it would become plaster”.

Grilo’s most recent work has taken an even more radical turn; it is not visible to the naked eye. Though they are nowhere to be seen, Grilo has in fact left his marks all over the exhibition space, planting fingerprints on its walls, windows and furniture—even on other artworks that are part of this group exhibition. These prints stand for the promise of a unique presence when in fact they have been fabricated—the fingerprints do not belong to anyone. What is usually one of the most precise ways to identify a human being has here been faked. Present and absent at the same time, this work alludes to some of Grilo’s central, ongoing concerns. What constitutes an individual? And what are the technologies that we rely on to make individuation material?”


Jani Ruscica

Jani Ruscica (°1978 Savonlinna, lives and works in Helsinki) is interested in how one defines one’s location, one’s placement in the world, and how this definition changes – continuously if necessary – according to personal, cultural, representational or even scientific factors. In Ruscica’s practice, temporal layers reflect on the contemporary zeitgeist, creating new meaningful relationships. Taking a collaborative approach to the making of an artwork, Ruscica regulalry works with scientists, theatre makers, craftsmen and street performers. Drawing from a myriad of sources; historical, scientific, cultural and political, his works are characterized by the juxtaposition of seemingly disparate elements that trigger unexpected, multilayered meanings.

For the work Felt the Moonlight on My Feet dancer Suzanna Pezo has been presented with three pieces of poetry chosen by Ruscica for reasons including their political and social censorship during the course of their existence. Each poem has been translated into Morse Code, itself further translated and interpreted by Pezzo into a dance piece. The pieces will be performed throughout the projects duration at M HKA. Consistent with Ruscica’s practice to date the collaborative work explores the intersections between language, place, culture, sculpture, sound, theatre and performance, focusing on posing questions related to the processes of translation and cultural representation.

The piece explores language in relation to bodily movement as well as the material properties of felt and its relation to its historic use in industry: as a sound or vibration damper, in machinery for cushioning and buffering moving parts, as well as its uses within art, musical instruments and printing processes. This also relates to ideas about the use of morse (sound) and dance (movement) as means of communication and messaging.

Jani Ruscica Felt The Moonlight On My Feet

Interpreted readings of historically censored poetry,
performed by Antwerp based tap-dancer Suzanna Pezo

Every Song
by Federico Garcia Lorca

We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks

Wild Honey Is a Smell of Freedom
by Anna Akhmatova 

Thursday 28 September, 18:30

Thursday 5 October, 18:30

Thursday 12 October, 21:30

within the Drop City, Antwerp
6th Floor, M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art
Antwerp Leuvenstraat 32, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

All performances are FREE

Christian Jendreiko

Artist, writer and composer Christian Jendreiko will present a series of new group actions developed with the O-Coast Synthesiser alongside group and one-to-one discussions where Jendreiko will introduce his latest tool in the form of a philosophically grounded method for making: The Hermestia Approach.

The action events and workshops will take place in both Antwerp and Düsseldorf, and are a part of Jendreiko’s socially innovative, collective praxis in which he develops frameworks with different actors (publics) around the creation of structures: speaking, thinking, acting and playing together. The workshops and actions will analyse the potentials of working together with technological tools in the creation of ‘societal structures’.

Jendreiko’s actions and  workshops set out to expose a particular form of togetherness and collaboration, resulting in an experience which leaves the participants with new approaches to collaborative ways of being and working. Jendreiko’s work is not about showing art or exploring the meaning of any particular art form, rather it is about togetherness. The exercises that will form Jendreiko’s events will be influenced by each space and group of participants as well as the local, globally informed cultures in Antwerp and Düsseldorf.


Metaphysics VR

In collaboration with artists Metaphysics produce and curate art experienced in the medium of Virtual Reality. The content is published in different ways: as physical exhibitions in cooperation with art and tech institutions and online via platforms such as Steam, Viveport and Oculus.

Virtual Reality technologies are almost omnipresent, but what does this mean for art? Are those technologies capable of expanding our visions of art and design? Can Virtual Reality bring together the digital and physically-spatial experiences?

Together with other artists and invited guests of The Studio for Arousing Tools we want to discuss VR as a possible medium of art, about the challenges, opportunities and the current state of technology. 

Philip Hausmeier (Artist and founder of Metaphysics VR) will give an introduction to the current status of VR and lead a two-day workshop exploring the potential of this technology: mainly to explore unknown territories of what we define as space.


Luisa Ungar

A belgian architect specialised in the architecture of territory.

A colombian artist doing a residency in Antwerp.

While doing some research about the city of Antwerp, the artist found some documents. Looking for information that could help her clarify them, a friend referred her to an expert. This conversation wanders around various aspects of the city of Antwerp that transpired in those dialogues, such as collaboration, distance, Spatial Deixis, MAD, monkey, measurment, Mundaneum.

Luisa Ungar’s recent work deals with colonial circuits and narratives involving animality and the non – human. She is interested in exploring how social norms are constructed and institutionalized through language. Her work often has a collaborative approach, seeking to connect archived material with everyday popular use, unveling the role of the expert by making room for improvisation, association and gossip. She has been co-editor of the publication projects DISDISDIS (On vampires and other forms of conviviality), and Proyecto Asterisco. She has been a resident at Gasworks, London; RESò, Italy and Maebashi Arts Center, Japan. She is currently a resident at AA.


Filip Geerts

Filip Geerts is an assistant professor of architecture at the Department of Public Building at the Delft University of Technology, where he is an educator and researcher responsible for the “Territory in Transit” programme.

His practice focuses on the intersection of architecture, city, landscape, and infrastructure: the architecture of territory. In other words: dealing with the “large dimension” through the lens of architecture. He graduated cum laude from the Delft University of Technology in 2001 with a MSc in Architecture and is finalizing his dissertation entitled “Architecture/Territory: Architecture’s Construction of a Problem of the Whole.” He is also a partner of UFo Architects.


Paky Vlassopoulou

In Paky Vlassopoulou’s (°1985 in Athens where she lives and works) sculptural structures the bonds between the parts are temporary and gentle and the objects are juxtaposed in order to be open to rearrangement. Her exhibitions tend to be site-specific – responding to, reacting and intervening with an existing space and its framework. During her recent time working in Antwerp, her work has embraced performative elements, strongly related to Happenings, in order to investigate the intensity of the involvement, stimulation and absorption of the spectator With fellow artists Chrysanthi Koumianaki and Kosmas Nikolaou, they run the project space 3 137, in Exarcheia, Athens which they also share as a studio.

Ersi Varveri

Ersi Varveri’s (°1984, lives and works between Antwerp and Athens) work deals with the fluid truth of life, which sometimes gives the illusion that it is just

a matter of time. Together with artist Gijs Waterschoot, Ersi now lives and works in The Pinkhouse, – a place which has hosted and enabled happenings across art-forms for over 17 years – where they are developing approaches for hospitality and collaboration.


Pentecostal Party

Curator Dawn Bothwell’s music project ‘Pentecostal Party’ is born of her interest “in the type of euphoric high you experience in groups of people worshiping together: an experience that is both solitary and collective.” Bothwell will apply newly devlopped means of both subverting and drawing attention to the exchanges that occur between performer and audience.

The Studio for Arousing Tools has been kindly enabled with support from: