Mediamatic Magazine Vol. 2#2 Lidewijde de Smet 1 Jan 1987

AVé 87

The AVé Festival will take place in Arnhem for the third time from 19 to 25 November. The visitor to this event can count on a very high number of art works in film, video, installation, computer, music and performance. Most of these works are by unknown artists and art students from various European countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, England, France, West Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Italy. All the participating artists are invited and are introduced to the public before the screening of their work. What is so good about a festival full of unknown audio-visual work?

LIDEWIJDE DE SMET had a conversation with EVERT MALIANGKAY, teacher at the ARNHEM SCHOOL OF ARTS and the driving force behind the AVé.

AVé was the initiative of students from the art school's fine arts department with MALIANGKAY lending a ready ear for the realization of their plans. They wanted to show what was being achieved with audio-visual means within the art school. Other art schools in the Netherlands were invited to participate in this presentation. The success also was due to a collaboration with the Arnhem Film House and to the efforts of students and ex-students. The next year this was extended to the participation of neighboring countries. In 1987, almost all of Europe will be represented.

The fine arts department's ideas about interdisciplinary art involving various techniques form the basis of the AVé. The art school background focuses attention on artists who are still in the process of formation. AVé shows what is going on amongst younger artists who are still unknown and not part of the museum and gallery circuit. There is the risk of work being shown by artists of whom we may hear nothing more but equally there is the opportunity of playing the prelude to what later becomes a highly-praised composition. AVé is taking a conscious gamble. If a presentation is disappointing (and that certainly has happened in previous festivals), then it's a pity. Artists in the process of formation provide both surprises and disappointments.

AVé's main objective is the presentation of unknown art and not the attempted detection of potential celebrities. According to MALIANGKAY, that is more a task for the galleries. In addition, AVé’s aim is to stimulate contact between participating artists so that they can exchange ideas. A further objective is the developing of visual art events in the town of Arnhem.

Fishing with coarsely-woven Nets

The program's compilation is in the hands of thirty students and ex-students who, in pair, are responsible for the different countries. They follow their intuition and select work that is incomprehensible bur interesting rather than acceptable (MALIANGKAY). One definite criterion is that the work has not been previously shown in the Netherlands - particularly by The World Wide Videofestiual or TIME BASED ARTS.

In many cases, it's not easy to track down unknown work. For example, a country like Spain lacks distributors who concentrate on national artists and audio-visual art has seldom had a definite place in the art schools. Through the government agencies for youth and culture, the Spanish scouts (WINY FOKKINGA and NICK BRUINEN made contact with the artists' initiatives ESPACIO P and ENTROPIA, the directors of the video festivals in Madrid and Barcelona and with a teacher at the University of Bilbao. The researching of suitable material for AVé confronted them with the problem that interesting artists (one example being RAúL RODRIGUES) were not eligible to participate. Like so many audio-visual artists he has tended to promote his own exhibitions abroad (such as at World Wide) than to channel screenings locally. A part of the Spanish selection will seem perhaps to be rather official. This is due to the support of the Spanish Embassy that sets great store in presenting artists as yet unknown here.

Conversely, the Berlin duo (ERIK ODIJK and ANJA RACHMAD) avoided the art circuit and headed for obscure sub-cultures. While the official route of two other visitors to Germany was geared towards festivals such as the one for experimental film in Osnabrück, the Berlin scouts ignored those art institutions they were already familiar with. They got little response from the art school but at the film school they did come across some original productions. These sleuths found that meeting interesting artists is mainly a matter of contacts on the grapevine or of going via acquaintances who are not involved in audio-visual work but simply have the right interests. As soon as a work was too clever or aesthetic it rapidly became a disappointment. They felt that it was a question of whether someone was capable of conveying emotion in the work. Generally, they selected works which although they did have narrative or feature film elements but lacked artificial or theatrical constructions and instead involved fascinating development of sometimes indistinct events. Music from Berlin will also add a certain lustre to AVé.

In short, the final program will be composed from the extremely varied haul provided by the thirty travelers. To previous AVé festivals better-known artists were invited as well. These were people who (often through teaching) have a stimulating influence on the audio-visual area in the region. It is less so this year. Finally individual initiative has also been recognized. The well-oiled organizational machine of the past AVé festivals has aroused such interest that artists and art schools (particularly from England and Germany) are themselves applying to participate.

New Techniques?

Personally, MALIANGKAY does not believe that there is less interest in video techniques but rather that new talent will express itself more and more through ultra-modern techniques: inter-activity and high definition. He finds the perfecting of video fascinating and this year the link with computers will receive ample attention, particularly in the presentation from the Rotterdam art school.

MALIANGKAY nods doubtfully at my question about whether fledgling artists schooled in video need to combine the electronic with traditional materials. He feels that students don't get enough video. Working with film should bear witness to a need for more material or traditional methods. In any case, plenty of attention is paid to this relatively old-fashioned technique in the next AVé. A rather more conventional expression of audio-visual media (in the sense of objects and installations) will be shown in the Media Route.


The Media Route is new to AVé. Around the AVé bastions on the Korenmarkt (the FILM HOUSE and DE GELE RIJDER), installations will be presented by the MUNICIPAL MUSEUM OF ARNHEM, OCEAAN, COLOFON, PODIUM, HOOGHUIS and the ARNHEM SCHOOL OF ARTS. One is aware that the exhibitor in the museum risks losing the context of AVé (which is the impartial presentation of new work). Actually, the alternative space OCEAAN is more of a continuation of the festival. However, MALIANGKAY considers that working with new spaces is a part of the experiment that AVé epitomizes. One thing is certain.

AVé provokes curiosity and will provide both surprises and disappointments, a gamble that every visitor gladly takes. The greatest risk is perhaps for the festival's organizers who partly have to put their own studies to one side. However, a business education for artists is not out of place in the present art climate. Thus considered, you can argue that MALIANGKAY provides a professional education for thirty students each year.

If you'd like to quote something: De Smet, Lidewijde. "AVé 87." Mediamatic Magazine vol. 2 # 2 (1987).

Translation: Annie Wright