With a beer in hand and to the beat of Synth Eastwood, Conor Barry enjoys an alternative art exhibition.

When is art not art? Dublin based music and art group Synth Eastwood seem to have cracked this conundrum by giving the world an amalgamation of art, rock music and beer.

It isn’t often that you saunter around an exhibition, beer in hand, nobody in the room over the age of 25, and appreciate art. This, combined with live music gives off the distinct impression that you have accidentally walked into an indie rock concert rather than a gallery.

Of course, this is what the group are going for in the first place. In their mission statement Synth Eastwood declare; “Our aim is to present original work from around the world in an atmosphere more like a gig than an exhibition. We do this by inviting artists of every field and level of experience to submit work based on a theme/brief we set.”

So far the group have had four shows in Dublin and one in Berlin, the most recent event taking place on 24th October in Filmbase with this year’s theme of ‘Cycles’.

What the artists did with the theme was up to them. There were intriguing pieces such as a ping pong ball orbiting around a developing plant, short films with youths on bicycles and another with an animation of the cycle of the moon. There were also interactive pieces.

For instance, ‘Hugh Cooney – Info Processor’ is described as a device in which you input your suggestion of artwork into the machine and receive the suggestion back in a new form. In reality, you write on a piece of paper and a man in a box draws it while it is projected on a large screen. These sorts of pieces encouraged a community feel as everyone stood around to see what Hugh made of their idea.

But by and large, the exhibition was taken up by over 120 printed posters and these pieces really enhanced the evening. The theme allowed for a huge amount of interpretation on the artist’s part. It has to be said that there were a few artists’ that took the idea of either bicycles or menstruation and didn’t elaborate so much on either theme, simply stating these things are relevant to cycles.

Apart from these, there were many others that dealt with the idea in an interesting way with interpretations of the cycle of nature, of fashion, reproduction and so on. One of the stand-out, most creative pieces was a graph of the daily routine of 26 people, displaying how long they spent eating, working, sleeping, and watching television. It gave a great insight into the actions of different ages and different backgrounds.

All in all, each had their own individual style. However, the artwork had a very college-type feel to it. It was witty, if not particularly deep, as if you were encouraged to look at a piece and as soon as you ‘got it’ to move on.

This feeling of style over substance is something that can be said for the whole exhibition. Save for one or two pieces, there was very little to read into in the pieces. This is not by any means a criticism as it was in keeping with the atmosphere of the entire evening, which was refreshingly unique and one of the major selling points.

It is clear that much effort had been made to encourage the social and entertaining aspects of art. It is also a fantastic outlet for aspiring artists and purposely an unintimidating venue to showcase their work. It is clearly an exhibition by students for students and can be only congratulated for providing a platform for the next generation of artists.