Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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A supposedly wise man had once said, “What makes any endeavor worthy of pursuit is not that it will uphold our original prejudices but that it will enlighten us.” I often limited that ideology to science, which I considered to be the only field where such drastically different results could be yielded.  After having done this project, however, I believe that one’s worldly prejudices can be just as easily changed with genuinely insightful thinking.
When I first started working on this collage project, I intended to address the social gaps that have forever plagued our economy and are now becoming more and more pronounced.  The phenomenon is rather simple:  whenever the economy does extremely poorly, the poor and semi-rich are driven to the ground while the elite, or the richer of the rich, are driven further into the skies.  As I was working on somehow adapting my collage to represent this theme, I came across a picture of a businessman looking absolutely horrified.  In his eyes, I saw the same insecurity for the future that people often associate with poverty.  It is no surprise that such expressions are now commonplace, seeing as how the bloody marauding and pillaging that now occurs at Wall Street leaves no one unscathed.  What was surprising was that I started to see further similarities.  When I saw an athlete in celebration, there were people next to him celebrating just as much.  When I saw poor people trying to recollect pieces of their lives in the midst of destruction, they had that same fear and anger on their faces that the businessman did.  When I saw a model, I realized that she was nothing were it not for the people who would try to emulate her look.  When I saw a cartoon mocking the loss of a sports team, I realized that such losses could mean an end to their career, which leaves them worth just as much as those people struggling to survive.  While the relationship may change from time to time, what’s certain is that neither side’s concerns are less real or terrifying than the others.
To complement this symbolic kinship, I eliminated all color from the picture and kept one standard color scheme throughout the collage.  I then created a schism using that very color scheme so as to make obvious just how self inflicted these differences are.  I also kept the copy slightly off-center, so that the white background can keep the white to black levels fairly even.  Finally, to give this a timeless feel, I used fire to burn the edges of the paper and dipped it in tea to give it an old feel.
What’s most depressing is that, despite such similarity, neither side particularly likes the other:  the rich see the poor as what they don’t want to be and the poor see the rich as what they should be.  If we were only content with our place in the world, there would be no reform, but no contempt either.

1 comment

1 Jeff { 12.27.08 at 10:02 pm }

Yet another social commentary piece from Abdul. I like how you chose not to represent yourself, exactly, but instead went with representing your observations and subsequent opinions about the world around us. I also like that your collage represents the universality of human emotion – it doesn’t matter if one is rich or poor; everyone feels the same emotions at one point or another.