NW, the new centre for contemporary art and film in Aalst, opens its doors with an ode to rituals and the power of resistance

Save the date: Press Preview on March 21, 11am

NW, formerly known as Netwerk Aalst, opens its doors on 22 March as a new centre for contemporary art and film after a thorough renovation of more than a year. Housed in a former textile factory along the quays in Aalst, NW is an open and welcoming place where artists and audiences come together to experience the power of art and film, of encounters and exploration.

As an art centre, NW strives for a multidisciplinary collaboration between film and visual arts. It programmes exhibitions, films, performances, talks and facilitates and promotes encounters and cross-pollinations. The focus is on artistic development with an eye on the city and region.

The opening exhibition of the new NW is 'Ritual in Transfigured Time', named after the short film of the same name by Maya Deren (1917-1961). This exhibition highlights the themes that NW will explore in the coming period - dialogue, collaboration, experimentation and breaking down boundaries - while also urging people to experience the power of enchantment, protest and everything in between. Artists are invited to penetrate, defy and recreate realities, using dance as a means of resistance, celebration and communication.

The work of participating artists Carlotta Bailly-Borg, Gaëlle Choisne, Darius Dolatyari-Dolatdoust, Maya Deren, Onyeka Igwe, LA(HORDE), Ula Sickle and Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca highlights the development of practice through experimentation and dialogue.

The relevance of rituals within the context of NW Aalst is evident. The transition phase from Network Aalst to NW marks a rite of passage, embracing a renewed building, a new identity and a new programme.

"Maya Deren, with her independent and entrepreneurial spirit, a lifetime driven by a penchant for freedom, has played an enlightening role in shaping our exhibition and film programme, as well as in developing the principles for our renovated house. Many life changes are accompanied by rituals. The ritual marks the liminal phase, the moment between two positions or roles. At the threshold moment between the old NW and the new NW, we celebrate the radical metamorphosis. Here, in this place, we invite artists to question, counter and transform realities, whether through enchantment or protest. For Deren, transformation meant treading both paths. Dance as self-expression and a form of protest."
— Laura Herman and Godart Bakkers, artistic directors NW

The opening exhibition also illustrates how NW breaks the boundaries between contemporary art and film, both figuratively and literally. Since the renovation, the cinema room and the exhibition space have been connected. During 'Ritual in Transfigured Time', the cinema room becomes an integral part of the exhibition, with an immersive film about the ritual of LA(HORDE)'s festival culture played there continuously. In addition, Maya Deren's original 1946 16mm film, for which new prints were made from the original negatives especially for NW, will also be projected.

The exhibition offers an exploration of NW's new building, where every space has something to experience and everything is connected. NW aims to be an open house for art and film with a community centre function, and therefore offers space to various organisations and groups. The open space on the ground floor is christened Lokaal Dendy and consists of a café, kitchen and work and meeting space. In Lokaal Dendy, people eat together, but there is also space for performances, parties and events.

Houtkaai 15, ​
9300 Alost

Festive opening weekend
Club Ritual ​
A Social Event Choreographed in the Manner of a Dance

NW reopens with Club Ritual: A Social Event Choreographed in the Manner of a Dance. This weekend promises a sequence of openings, rituals, film focal points and culinary experiences. Featuring Darius Dolatyari-Dolatdoust, Carola Caggiano & Lucile Desamory (with Alina Sargsyan), Bebe Books, Alexis Blake, Onyeka Igwe and Counter Encounters, Katinka De Jonge, Studio Rekker, and many others.

Opening: Friday 22 March 2024, 18:00
Save the date: Press preview on 21 March at 11am

  • Ritual in Transfigured Time
    Carlotta Bailly-Borg, Gaëlle Choisne, Maya Deren, Darius Dolatyari-Dolatdoust, Onyeka Igwe, LA(HORDE), Ula Sickle and Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca
    With Ritual in Transfigured Time, after the 1946 short film of the same name by Ukrainian-American filmmaker Maya Deren, we present the attitude and themes with which our house intends to profile itself in the coming period. At the threshold moment between the old and the new NW, we celebrate the radical metamorphosis. An exhibition about dance, enchantment and protest. ​
  • Lucile Desamory. Untitledment
    In Untitledment, Lucile Desamory explores the recurring artistic question of emancipation and autonomy. How can you as an artist create an unexplored territory: a terrain vague, a still, liquid space between emptiness and an autonomous zone?
  • Info-angel presents itself ​ ​
    The first in a series of archive presentations chronicling tales from the progressive past of Aalst and the Dender region. 

About NW

NW is an open house for contemporary art and film, located in a former textile factory on the right bank of the Dender in Aalst. ​ ​

NW provides space for the development of the artist's practice in all its facets. NW guides artists in their first, exploratory steps; during the experimental phases of their artistic projects. ​ ​

Cinema is shaped from the vision that film is a space for participation, exchange, encounter and community building. Co-programming guides and shapes the film programme and establishes links with the other aspects of its operation. In collaboration with artists, curators, partners and local residents, NW puts together thematic focus programmes. The cinema is a space made by and for artists and local residents, for professionals and enthusiasts, for both young and old, for people from here and elsewhere, fulfilling its role as the only art-house cinema in the Dender region.

NW also hosts several organisations and has an open space with a café, kitchen and work and meeting space.



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