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...

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 Palestinian views, and I find Steven Heller's accusations quite alarming. When speaking on terms of art and design one should welcome the excitement of opposing views; and we as an educated populace should not expect every exhibition to whole-heartedly embrace and encompass every view.

What we have learned from our ignorance has been the erosion of the 'politically correct' views that permeated our culture in recent years. The fact of the matter is that those notions of world views do not come close to resembling the grim reality of our culture and the cultures of the Middle East. Designers and artists carry a heavy enough weight of creating communication and visual solutions in these turbulent times, and if these symbols stir up the debate, then I applaud them.

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...

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. She argues that my own bias underscores (and by implication undermines) my criticism of her show. Likewise, her bias against Israeli policy pervades this poster exhibit. I don't want to fan these already intense flames of discord too much longer, but I think it important to address the exhibit for what it is. In the past Ms. Bartelt has organized exhibitions of posters from the contested region that speak to mutual Israeli and Palestinian hopes for peace. Indeed I've supported these actions, even though some of the imagery could be interpreted as inflammatory. This exhibit, however, has a very different tone -- disturbing, yes, but also (and I do speak with a personal agenda) insulting. At such a critical time as this, clear-thinkers must prevail. The fact that the world is quick to jump on the anti-Semitic bandwagon (witness the recent demonstrations throughout the world topped off by the synagogue arson in France) should serve as a red flag to any designer against using the Star of David as a negative symbol of henous acts. The consequence of this, despite the fact that it is the Israeli flag, must be understood. It does not take intelligence to know that the Star of David was the means the Nazis identified its prey. It does require insensitivity to presume that for an American audience this would not have resonance, and cause considerable discomfort. I do not support Israeli occupation, but I cannot countenance inadvertent or other anti-Semitism. Nonetheless, I cannot and will not try to legislate what symbols Ms Bartelt or her designer/contributors should or should not use. But if the goal of a poster show of this kind is to educate and inform -- and petition for peace -- then some common sense should prevail. Also, when Time magazine runs a feature on what makes a suicide bomber tick it is clear from the context that it is a "news graphic." When a poster about the same subject appears juxtaposed to posters that use the Star of David as an object of derision, one can't help but draw dubious conclusions. Steve Heller

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 why my reaction was so visceral. Since the conference I have had a long-time friend on the Palestinian side hurt by Israeli gunfire, and my sister-in-law and niece were injured in one of the Jerusalem bombings. Believe me when I say that this conflict is personal.

I believe that one of the main purposes of the Voice conference was to awaken our community to important issues where we can have an effect. The educational value and emotional content made this one of the very best conferences that I have ever attended, and indeed I felt completely emotionally drained by the amazing sessions on Friday morning. Taking a break between sessions. like many others I decided to look at the exhibit hall to see the work that is being done on various issues from ballot design to posters from Cuba. Walking to the back of the hall I was stunned to see the poster display on the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

As an American Jew, who actually leans a bit to the left with regards to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, I felt nothing short of hurt and stunned. It has been a very long time since I have seen anti-semiticism cloaked in a veil of "political education"- terms one of the curators used described her exhibit. Like Steven, I believe in the right to show and talk about controversial issues and certainly one of the purposes of the conference dealt with our responsibility as designers and human beings to be involved in important political issues.

While a few of the posters were thought-provoking ( and well designed) - many of the posters were downright hostile, not only to the Israeli position, but also to the American Jewish Community, i.e. Jewish stars wrapped in American flags or inflammatory references to the Holocaust. I would not have had any hesitations whatsoever if the exhibit had shown a balanced approach to an extremely complex complicated problem, and while I do not expect the curators to take a " Polly-Anne-ish" approach to the carnage in the Middle East, I do expect that a show mounted at our national convention would have taken the time to illuminate both sides of the situation.

As the wife of a Middle East analyst who is fluent in 6 dialects of Arabic, Turkish and Hebrew, I have hosted Palestinian and Israeli scholars over the years and been privledged to listen to all sides of the argument. I have learned that there are good people and fanatics on both sides of the fence and there is no easy solution. Why highlight the problems with only one side? Incindiary messages achieve only one goal- to push the two sides farther apart. I had hoped that the curators had a higher purpose.

Judy Kirpich

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...

CREDITS © 2001 AIGA | the professional association for design
Site Credits