Neu Now is the place to see emerging new artists, directors and creative visionaries. The weekend-long festival showcases final products from a range of art academies across Europe. On Sunday, I biked over to Westerpark to see if Neu Now lives up to what it claims to be.

I first toured the gallery, with various exhibits utilizing the industrial and lofty warehouse space of the Machinegebouw. Although each exhibit was distinctly different, not only in terms of theme but also in medium, all coexisted within the space. There were sculptures, collages, photographs and audio displays.

NEU NOW

NEU NOW
Exhibit: Kulturhaz (Culture House), Sara Erzsebet Timar

NEU NOW
Exhibit: Design, under (other) circumstances, Rudolf Weiss

Some of the artworks took advantage of the space they were in. A particularly intriguing one was Lea-Nina Fischer’s perfume exhibit which questions if and how scent influences space. I became aware of the abstract smell as soon as I was welcomed into the gallery by all the attentive staff. It smelled familiar yet also inanimate and exaggerated, like the sanitized scent that you can find in hotel lobbies.

Another exhibit that utilized the space wisely was Ieva Grigelionyte’s Melting the Horizon. It is an outdoor sculpture which melts throughout the day and challenges the viewer to reflect on time passing.

NEU NOW
Exhibit: Melting the Horizon, Ieva Grigelionyte

The next stop I made was to the Westergastheater, where two dance performances were held, although I use the term “dance” loosely when describing LET’S NOT PRETEND TO BE ALONE HERE. It starts with four bodies intertwined in a clump and audience members shift uncomfortably in their seats when the bodies do not move for what feels like quite some time. Once the dancers begin to move, each action is clearly deliberate. LET’S NOT PRETEND TO BE ALONE HERE is made up of different parts, “different universes”, which work side-by-side and sometimes even at the same time. Each part requires team effort and cannot be done alone.

Trailer LET'S NOT PRETEND TO BE ALONE HERE from Emilie Gregersen on Vimeo.

The second performance was a choreographed dance between three dancers, dancing to three different genres of music. Puzzling Beautiful Heavens uses traditional dance as a framework and foundation to generate movement. When creating Puzzling Beautiful Heavens, choreographer Zehra Proch asked her dancers to bring in their own music and culture into rehearsals. She describes this process as “shaking drift off of roots to collect the authentic gems”.

Trailer – Puzzling Beautiful Heavens from ELIA on Vimeo.

In Het Ketelhuis, there was a screening of short films. Otto Banovit’s Dark Chamber/Camera Obscura is chilling creation based on a true event of seventy-one refugees who died trapped inside a truck. Otto Banovit also screens his work in an installation, a trashed cargo box, which makes the viewing experience even more intense.

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Words and images by: Katherine Marciniak

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