The kunsthal as a house does no longer fit, she stated – is it its size, the fact that we were handed it over, its lengthy history or its multiple narratives that causes this discomfort? Who is this she, and who is she speaking for and too? What is the nature and power of her voice? Is the kunsthal of the future a place where we feel at home, where we come to feel at home, as we recognize the stranger within us? It is the place to think “public” – this might happen in isolation, though in its seclusion it is nevertheless public. From safe to brave place!
I will be talking you through my practice at Netwerk Aalst, a kunsthal based in Flanders Belgium and the current program The Astronaut Metaphor. The Astronaut Metaphor is an evolving program on politics, aesthetics and the human. It tries to understand in practice the position and role that artists, writers, thinkers and institutions and their responsive practices can take up within a complex public sphere.
On an institutional level Netwerk Aalst searches for what an integral support for artists can entail, how we can rethink the institution departing from the needs and wishes of artistic practices holding the here and now of Aalst, Belgium as its compass. A question that in the current crisis becomes even more pregnant. What is local / what is international. What is solidarity, … I plan to take you along in all the artistic, curatorial and institutional challenges we are facing.