REVIEW: Helicon’s Synesthesia

Friday night’s Synesthesia was the first Helicon event I’ve attended, so I had no idea what to expect – which is usually the most interesting way to enter into an art show. It was what I can only describe as a down-the-rabbit-hole experience; from walking in the door, past crowds of people, art was found in the corners stairwells, in the basement, in the attic. At one point, I wasn’t sure if I was standing in line for the bathroom or for an art installation. Not only did I double take at the art, but at UM faculty milling about past students: not an everyday occurrence outside of the classroom, at 10 p.m. on a Friday night. Synesthesia featured the work of dozens of students; mediums ranged from sculpture to photography, from painting to video installation.

Image from @umicharts

The space itself was immersive; as I stood looking at sculptures in a basement where exposed cement walls and open staircases were not an artistic design choice, I began to fear for the strength of the structure as I could hear every footstep and movement above me. The element and adventure of risk became a theme as I climbed past people up steep stairs not equipped for a dual-flow of traffic. As I sat on the floor of an attic, staring at an image projected onto a sheet asking myself when the show was going to begin or when the technical support was going to arrive, I realized it already the show had already begun. The fuzzy image on the screen was the art, the music in the back the focus. It was then I began to question whether or not I am equipped to “get” art. Regardless, my favorite piece of the night, a readymade (which is the embodiment of comedy gold in the art world; an artist with a sense of humor) consisting of a Virgin Mary figurine titled Abstinence. Lesson learned: you do need to be literate in the ways of painting/drawing/sculpting to be considered an artist, merely innovative.

Image from @umicharts

If Synesthesia intended to create an experience, an art piece in itself, it succeeded. At one point, while standing in a hallway waiting for a mass of people to pass by, a person crawled out from behind a black sheet, pulling themselves up from what I can only hope was a work of experiential art. Some say you can find yourself through art; if this holds true, I’ve come to find I am the equivalent of a suburban mom of the art world. I may not understand what’s going on, but I am so ready to cheer on every student out there making, creating, and putting their work and themselves out there.

Allie Scholten

I'm a Junior studying History of Art and Museum Studies. My love for art is only eclipsed by my need for a really great cup of coffee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *