Scope2016 - page 32

New arts encounters
ollaborate, celebrate, co-create! That’s
the spirit of the AV Club, a series of ex-
perimental video, film, and music events
founded by Helena Sanders ’05. A Skid-
more art major and WSPN radio director, she now
lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
 A painter who has worked as an album cover
designer, exhibition curator and installer, musicians’
booking agent, and musician herself, Sanders says,
“We each work hard to see our own creations thrive
out in the world. But the benefits of collaborating,
working across fields and comfort zones, can far
outweigh any cons. It’s energizing and produces
more ideas and solutions than one person could act
on in a lifetime.”
 At times Sanders withdraws to work solo in her
studio, but then she is pulled back to the “refreshing
current among contemporary artists to share informa-
tion openly and merge projects and ideas,” which she at-
tributes in part to the open-source ethos of the Internet.
 When Sanders launched AV Club more than
five years ago, her vision was to bring experimental
video to a wide audience in a casual environment:
“less pressure on the artists, less pressure on the
audience.” She explains, “We are all accustomed to
acting our roles in gallery spaces. I want people to
shake that off a bit and feel comfortable when they
encounter something new. It’s OK not to get it.”
 AV Club, she emphasizes, is a concept and not just
a physical space. One event ran “from the back of a
bicycle outfitted with a sound system and projector,
at outdoor locations across the city, in the dead cold
of February.” She also cites “a night of artists who
brought instruments sculpted from sugar, which they
played into disintegration.” And Oregon artists MSHR
performed on “a beautiful, self-invented compound
of light-sensitive instruments and touch-reactive
electronics, so their music literally arose from contact
between humans and the distribution of light waves.”
 Sanders’s own art was influenced by her study of
textiles at Skidmore. She recalls textile instructors
encouraging her in “exploring contemporary theory
and new technologies, with nothing off-limits.” She was
impressed by art professor Margo Mensing’s inter-
est in both technical execution and aesthetics. When
Mensing and physics professor Mary Crone Odekon co-
curated the Tang Museum show
A Very Liquid Heaven,
it
was one of Sanders’s “favorite examples of stimulating
all the senses and inspiring an interest in the world
beyond the front of my face. It connected seemingly
disparate dots into something beautiful and cohesive.”
 Inside and outside higher ed, Sanders notes, arts
are reorganizing based on theme, rather than medi-
um. She approves. “The question for artists becomes:
Here is a problem to solve, and here is the context
and the audience; now how do you address and com-
municate your solution?”
—Helen Edelman ’74
Media from electronics to sugar
fuel the Amsterdam arts scene
of
Helena Sanders ’05.
Jeroen Bouman
C
30
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