As I Think About It . . .
It’s been 60 years for this journey of life, collecting a variety of thoughts, images, and experiences. Some were wonderful, some very painful. Actions were taken that were noble, true, and just; well at least in my own mind. Then there were the others, wrong ones, and plenty of them. But which are worse, the foggy easy sins of omission or those bold, now embarrassingly stupid, self-serving sins of commission?
Why must we have to label our sins?
When you do something wrong you typically get punished, you can ask for forgiveness, or the action should at least weigh heavily on the conscience. The penance for inaction, that blissful avoidance of responsibility, is simply to put your head in the sand and actively forget. This is a universal truth applicable equally to people, societies, and countries.
Now along come this crafty manipulator of images, the designer, either a mercenary or a simple do-gooder, who reaches out and points to the things we did wrong, or reminds us of the times we simply avoided our responsibility for doing right. Maybe the good ones should just be left in the room where cereal boxes are designed.
This exhibition, that moves and touches, forces me to revisit the actions and in-actions in my life that had been long boxed-up, filtered and forgotten. It points to moments in our history when action was needed, and sometimes happened. It reminds us that violence, cruelty, and stupidity still exist—just repackaged.
Why can’t the Artist just let me doze while I’m trying to hibernate my way through life?
. . . thanks for the wake-up call.
Prof. Nils Riess is the chair and professor and director of media communication services
and performing arts in the Department of Communication Arts.
image: Forkscrew Graphics, “iRaq,” USA, 2004, 90 x 60 cm.