The Astronaut Metaphor

Politics, aesthetics and the human

For three years Netwerk Aalst informs and challenges itself through The Astronaut Metaphor an evolving programme on politics, aesthetics and the human. What is the position and role that artists, writers, thinkers and institutions and their responsive practices can take up within a complex public sphere?

The exhibition Occupie Paradit launched the programme The Astronaut Metaphor and introduced us to some of the initial concerns with a dialectic approach.What is the role of love and empathy and what force can exercise across actors? Now the exhibition No one would have believed brings together art, science fiction and politics. It reflects on problems of colonialism, exploration/invasion and the relationship between science and fiction.

With the programme The Astronaut Metaphor, devised as a series of long term commissions, Netwerk Aalst wishes to understand 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 as its compass. The Astronaut Metaphor takes its title from a publication written by Petra Trivisi and published by Duvida Press.

The programme is formulated through its accumulative list of participants for all three years.

A series of gatherings, The Bodies, envisioned and guided by curator Nick Aikens will be held over the course of the The Astronaut Metaphor. Aikens and the artistic team of Netwerk Aalst invite a group of selected guests to meet twice a year and reflect independently on forms of governance whilst at the same time infiltrating Netwerk Aalst’s programme and institutional model. These encounters are conceived as an opportunity to formulate visions – with the participants and in dialogue with, and ultimately for the institution. What form these visions will take is yet unclear and it will shape during the course of the enquiring process and devised by artistic and collective thinking.

The Astronaut Metaphor so far is: Nick Aikens, Brook Andrew, Bianca Baldi, Sam Belinfante, Mariske Broeckmeyer, Liesel Burisch, Alex Cecchetti, Audrey Cottin, Jeremiah Day, Manon De Boer, Laurens Dhaenens, Lucile Desamory, Vianney Fivel, Alexis Gautier, Dora Garcia, Agnieska Gratza, Maud Gyssels Michael Hirsch, Latifa Laâbissi, Runo Lagomarsino, Wendy Morris, Vanessa Joan Müller, Hadassa Ngamba, Otobong Nkanga, Pia Östlund, Fernanda Pitta, Laure Prouvost, Alex Reynolds, Jonas Staal,...

As part of The Bodies: Nick Aikens, Bianca Baldi, Jeremiah Day, Laurens Dhaenens, Lucile Desamory, Dora Garcia, Agnieszka Gratza, Wendy Morris, Vanessa Joan Müller and Netwerk Aalst