Victims: Not Us

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It would be so easy to fall prey to all we are bombarded with each and every day from the media, the political constabulary, our families and friends, and assume that we are all victims of the greatest economic downturn the world has seen, arguably, since the Great Depression. We are not going to let that happen, at least not in Chicago’s Altered Economic Landscape course at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where there are no willing participants in the Great Victimization. The symbol of the spilled paint can is no more than a reminder that, as time will often tell, change is inevitable, and the proliferation of change that is now occurring is manifest in the work of the students in this course. It is time to buy some more paint. 

Each student has circumvented the mainstream and applied his or her view of what might be important in understanding how we can come to terms with the new economic reality. In this book, we are to consider the “Non-Place,” the alleys of Chicago, the Big Mac, Downtown Gary, Indiana, The Godliness of Wealth, uniform perceptions and risk and non-reward: all of which amount to the day-to-day eventuality of taking responsibility for our actions, creating the non-victim place in classroom 110, our room. 

I have been amazed by the directions that thought has taken in this room every Tuesday. Ideas and preconceptions that were brought forth early in the class have been discarded for the reality of where we are in the process and how we may have aided and abetted the “Second Depression.” We have considered our role in this downturn and accepted, for the most part, that we may have been culpable, with the willingness to bring a few possible reasons and explanations as to why. In this world of ever-expanding economic policy driven by human expectations, there are and will always be opportunities to move forward and begin again. 

I believe that this is an absolutely sublime time for dynamic new beginnings, and the creative thinkers in this course have proven this. If they have learned anything, it is that being a victim is just too simplistic a way to justify anything. Rather, they have each begun to clear a path through the morass and, at some point soon, they may even see the light at the end of the tunnel. That is where they are taking us, to that beam of light.