Ctrl Alt Del


It is of no coincidence that part of our computer language has in it a control key (CTRL) – and upon using this key in combination with Alternative (Alt) and Delete (Del) we get change.  Use this 3-key combination to change the screen before us, the screen we are stuck on, and refresh ourselves with either a complete shutdown of the current screen or simply return to it with a refreshed state of mind.  Control = (one’s progress) by Alter[ing] the present status quo by Delete[ing] for a moment to create a fresh look at where we were or, move away from completely. The options are there for us to take. We must put CTRL though, as instigator, precipitator, initiator as our command.

I know I have been considering for my own work, the teaching of art in today’s art schools and its necessary adopting of the computer as a means of creating not only relevant work, (commenting upon this technology and its impact on social change) but work which simultaneously commands a virtually green existence.

Also, at its heart, is the issue of relevance. I would like to think that the barriers between the real world out there and the artist’s “secret-language” studio have lessened, become weakened by computer technology and the artist’s very own participation in it, and that art instruction at higher levels of academic learning are addressing this.

The common viewpoint held that one area in an artist’s life which can be completely controlled is that of his own art-making becomes a double-edged sword. Graphic Designers play within an existing field of competition and established rules to have their designs met with an applauding corporate purchase. You must know what sells, and what it will sell with. The studio artist however, has this hermetic existence in a private studio acting as both luxury and identity. The more eccentric (out of touch with the real world) the artist, the greater the [eventually] recognized value of output.

Does the artist working quietly in one’s studio overwhelm the designer who must exist within convention and forgo that sanctioned state of true freedom, complete control? If so, what is the result of this arrangement? How effective is the designer’s art in constituting societal influence and change as opposed to the studio artist?

It is here, ironically, in the design world (and, not in the artist’s studio) where one needs to be “in control”. The design world is where the cultural images [we] create effect how our society operates. Advertising imagery gives us our template of cultural prescription. The images created for mass media advertising are those which have brought us to the level we are currently at; embracing corporate enterprise, making conspicuous consumption a virtue, and promoting status as staple to our spiritual-societal needs.

We artists, those in our studios closed out and “in complete control of things” end up maybe commenting upon this in our art. We make these tangible works of art to show the very same society how out-of-control it truly is. But to what effect?

To really produce change, comment upon society, make art matter, one must seemingly have to work from within. Break the paradigm. Move the clock to present and consider where the past decades have left us.

This is the one role we artists should assume, and that is in the attempting to work from within.  And, the only way to do this with any success is to have the artist, [the thinker, the seer, the one who does not play by the rules of conformity and corporate sell ] apply them to the teaching of Design. [We] should be the ones teaching Graphic Design, sacrificing our freedom (in the quiet calm of our studios) for the chance to upend the entire structure, and, in effect, make real change where we need it.