Let's hear your Voice! This discussion board is a place to Voice your feelings about the conference and, more importantly, to discuss how you will take that experience and transform it into action. Let's come together to inspire each other and make a difference.

Nathan Shedroff, San Francisco, CA, 15-Jun-02
What Israelis and Palestinians do or not is not the problem with the "Don't Say You Didn't Know" exhibit and to dwell on it misses the point. There can be no doubt that it was one-sided and emotional because it was meant to be. Ms. Bartelt’s statement that...

Sue Vessella, Woodbury University, Burbank, CA, 31-May-02
Sylvia Harris inspired me to examine examples of poor design in public information contexts. While in Washington, I visited the Arlington National Cemetery and discovered an informational brochure in need of design attention. As a graphic design professor,...

Steven Heller, New York, 17-Apr-02
Dana is right. Human RIGHTS should be protected at all costs. No right-minded human being can look to the mideast wihtout being angered and saddened by the violence -- the murder on both sides. ON BOTH SIDES. This conflict started almost a century ago and...

(Re)Becca Rapp, Jefferson LA 70121, 16-Apr-02
Allowing their personal agendas to interfere with an exceptional and unprecedented exhibition addressing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, Mr. Heller and his supporter turn their backs on the recurring violations of human rights in Palestine. I was a participant...

Dana Bartelt, New Orleans LA, 16-Apr-02
My final response to Steven Heller's and Judy Kirpich's accusations concerning the "Don't Say You Didn't Know " exhibition are: This is not a Jewish issue. The exhibition dealt with human rights violations. Israel chose to use a powerful religious icon representing...

Steven Heller, New York, 16-Apr-02
Roger Cook's justification for using the Star of David is reasoned, but what this once again proves is the power of charged symbols to ingnite emotion and prompt reaction. I too think it takes courage to present unpopular ideas in a public forum, but I continue to argue that intelligence must prevail. It is one thing to use symbols to shock and quite another to make effective communication. In the original show cited by Mr. Cook posters representing varying views had one common goal, to perpetuate the peace process. They cast no stones. The current exhibit (even including posters from the earlier one) is a critical mass made more volatile given the horror brought on by today's suicide killers and military violence. If we cannot appreciate how our work (especially the manipulation of signs and symbols) serves to communicate conflicting messages, then we're in the wrong business. Therefore, addressing Mr. Cook's final point, I have invoked words (and symbols) in my critique purposefully in an attempt to rebut the destructive symbolism found in this exhibit.

Scott Gillam, Winnnipeg, MB Canada, 16-Apr-02
I would also like to express support for the posting of this exhibition, although not having attended the exhibit myself, many of the comments here have raised many valid points. Many editorials posted here have noted anti-Semitism and a definite slant towards...

Roger Cook, Washington Crossing, PA 18977, 14-Apr-02

I want to express my support to Dana Bartelt and her courage to post the exhibit "Don't say you didn't know."

I designed the poster of the American flag wrapped around the star of David that was in the exhibit. I used these symbols to express the total and uncritical support and protection alliance the US government has with the state of Israel. With this position, I can not see how we can be a fair and balanced mediator in any negotiations relating to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

This poster was first exhibited at the "Both Sides of Peace" exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina 1996 . At the opening of the exhibit one of the curators Yossi Lemel a talented and gifted Israeli designer working in Tel Aviv said that he felt very comfortable with the message of that poster and he also commented that the Israeli people would feel the same.

In expressing his displeasure with this poster and in general the exhibit Steve Heller uses the words Nazis, anti-Semitism and racist. These are terms which precludes any intelligence discussion.

Robert Burns writes;

"Here's freedom to him who would speak, Here's freedom to him who would write, For there's non ever feared that the truth should be heard, Save he who the truth would indict."

"Here's freedom to him who would design"

Roger Cook

Steven Heller, New York City, 12-Apr-02
Ms. Bartelt says this exhibition is responsible activism, and in her lopsided presentation of the Palestinian issue it is indeed responsible to the Palestinian cause. And frankly, I accept this subjective position as being consistent with the history of propaganda...

Dana Bartelt, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11-Apr-02
In response to Steven Heller's reaction to the exhibition "Don't Say You Didn't Know" shown at the Voice AIGA National Conference, I am pleased that he found the exhibition itself of high quality and am also encouraged that he agrees that the exhibition "had...

Judy Kirpich, Grafik, Alexandria, VA, 11-Apr-02
Trying to follow up Steven Heller's eloquent reaction to the display for Palestinian posters is a tough act to follow. I have spent the last few weeks since the conference trying to get a coherent voice for my outrage and hurt, and attempting to understand...

Tom Semmes, Bethesda, MD, 08-Apr-02
It seems to me that the material presented at Voice was so rich and challenging to absorb that it would make sense to have regional conferences where people can meet to discuss how to use this material and find out what designers are doing locally. Has there...

Steven Heller, New York, NY, 02-Apr-02
Responsibility and Propaganda
For the better part of my professional life I've supported the active participation of designers in political affairs. The designer's ability to create mnemonic images in the service of social critique is a right and responsibility. And the free exchange of messages is paramount in this process. Which is why I was happy to see a room at the AIGA National Conference in Washington, D.C., dedicated to exhibitions on various socio-political themes. Yet despite my professed openness, I nonetheless found myself enraged by one of those exhibits. A group of posters in support of the Palestinian cause took me by surprise, not because the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a taboo subject for designers, but because at this time when the suicide attacks are mounting, and Israeli military response is escalating, and people are dying, I think inflammatory visual messages are ill-conceived and destructive. The exhibition on view during the AIGA conference organized by Dana Bartels and contributed to by various American designers had every right to be mounted but was unfair in its lopsided attack on the Israeli position. Over the years I have seen exhibitions addressing the political tinderbox and human tragedy that is the Middle East, but most have addressed peace as a goal. In fact, both Palestinian and Israeli designers have contributed missives in the pursuit of a fair and equitable settlement. This was NOT that kind of exhibit. The graphic criticism levied on Israeli policies ignored any semblance of Palestinian complicity and provocation. One poster addressing the mind of a suicide bomber was actually an overt justification for such terrorist acts. Another showing the Jewish star wrapped in an American flag suggests the old canard that Jews run America and America is in the grip of Jewish influence. The posters were quite professional and unambiguous, a combination that is good under most circumstances. But in this case the code of sophisticated design is a biased and simplistic attack that pretends to be authoritative. Of course, good propaganda will inflame passions and will anger one side while giving succor to the other. The problem with these posters at this dangerous moment in Israeli/Palestinian history is that succor is given to those who are exacerbating the tensions. Why not posters that decry the suicide bomber, not justify his idiocy? Why not posters that say America is trying to broker peace, rather than restate the racist epithet that the U.S. is in the pockets of the Jews? How about propaganda that is responsible? Steve Heller

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