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Issue 11   |   May 2000   |   Updated 5-11-00

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...a sunny day in early spring
Last night I walked around the campus of Kent State University holding a candle in a paper drink cup, thinking about life and death and being young in America. I was among a couple hundred people shuffling along in silence. This yearly candlelight march pays respect to the four students killed and nine wounded on May 4, 1970.

Thirty years ago I was setting up new displays in the front windows of the May Co. in downtown Cleveland. A co-worker burst in with the news that students had been shot at a demonstrations at Kent State. Early reports said a National Guardsman had been shot too.

The news stunned me in the same way that the news about John F. Kennedy's assassination shocked most Americans. I had graduated from college only four months earlier. Had I been a student at Kent State I surely would have been at the demonstration. I might have been on the list of dead or wounded. But I wasn't and I didn't and now I'm a middle-aged man who doesn't want to forget what happened.

It seems to me that the best that can be said of death, especially when it is violent and unnecessary, is that the living learn something from it. The "lessons" of Kent State have been debated for years, and will continue to be. Although it still makes me sick to hear it, I no longer have the heart for endless arguments with people who say "they should have killed more of them."

The killings revealed a dark hatred and fear in the hearts of some that I can't comprehend. While I'd like to believe that we learned tolerance for opposing opinions, I'm afraid we've learned only that confronting unarmed demonstrators with loaded rifles makes good television but bad public relations.

So the value of a commemorative candlelight march is dubious. We were a unremarkable-looking line of walkers. Yet as we passed The Robin Hood and the Brady Cafe a few patrons and workers stood outside and watched us go by. A couple of frat boys sat on their porch. Small groups of students clustered at their dorm windows and on doorsteps here and there.

What can be said for sure is that some people stopped what they were doing for a few moments and thought about a sunny day in early May when American soldiers shot M-1 rifles into a crowd of young people, killing four. To me, that remembrance seems terribly important. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

                                                              - Al Wasco 5/4/00

This month's cover image is based on a photo of a bullet-pierced sculpture near the shooting scene. To learn more, visit the May 4 Taskforce site or the May 4 Center site. Hear the events of May 1970 in a dramatic WKSU-FM documentary.

Check this month's [EDUCATION] for new announcements of job openings and conferences.

If you have news in either category that you'd like to share with the 1000+ visitors who come to Interactive Design Forum each month, send the details, including complete contact information, to me at

Stay ahead of the curve
If you crave intelligent discussion about the future of design, one of the best sources (besides this website, of course) is the AIGA-Advance mailing list. Sponsored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, anyone can subscribe to the list and get involved in brainstorming the relationship between architecture and design, theory and practice, experiences and artifacts. Highly recommended.

Interactive Indiana
Lest you think that all the interactive innovation takes place on the East or West coast, I'd like to pass along the news that a program started by a colleague of mine from Indiana (yes, in the Midwest) has been recognized by Shift magazine as one of the top 10 new-media programs in North America.

Thom Gillespie is the creative force behind MIME, the Masters in Immersive Mediated Environments program at Indiana University Bloomington.

The program is ranked seventh, after new-media programs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; Full Sail, Winter Park, Fla.; University of California, Los Angeles; Art Center, College of Design, Pasadena, Calif.; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Rounding out the list are University of California, San Diego; DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Wash.; and the Vancouver (Canada) Film School.

Incidentally, the Indianapolis campus (Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis) has its own New Media program, begun only a couple of years ago and now quickly gathering steam. The contact person is Darrell Bailey.


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If no author name is show, article is written by Al Wasco, author of this website.
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