Hymn to Achievement

On Monday April 20, 2010 Ivy Tech Community College dedicated “Hymn to Achievement” – a twenty four foot wide mural – to it’s art collection in Ivy Hall in Lafayette, IN.

Created by Aldo Giorgini nearly forty years ago, it’s quite interesting how relevant the subject matter is today, but also how well the piece holds up as art – managing to avoid a dated look. It’s no coincidence, as Aldo was well ahead of his time, being among the very first in the world to pioneer the use of computer programming to create artistic imagery. More on Aldo Giorgini can be found here.

Aldo’s son Mass Giorgini approached me several weeks ago to photograph the mural in order to create a reproduction of the piece for use during the unveiling event as well as posterity. Measuring seven feet tall by twenty four feet wide, the mural was photographed in it’s six individual wooden panels. Mass can be seen standing next to one of the mural sections here:

With assistance from my friend Kenny Redman, the six individual images were compiled into a single image using Photoshop CS3. The image was then inserted into layouts for a poster and a souvenir program (which was graciously financed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City). The finished poster design measures 24×36 inches (click the image to view it in a larger format):

From the poster’s text:

“Commissioned to create a mural commemorating the visit of Astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon (Apollo 17), Giorgini’s charge was to capture in paint the wonder of everything that science and technology had allowed man to accomplish. However, Giorgini had also seen the awesome destructive power that had been a product of these same advances. As a child in Eritrea, he witnessed his hero, Italian fighter pilot ace Mario Visintini, set off on what was to be his final mission, a flight that ended tragically in a crash into Mount Nefasit. On his return to Italy, Giorgini witnessed the devastation of the war there: including the demolition of churches and museums by the bombing that followed the positions of the retreating Nazi army.

Even the initial impetus for the production of the mural – to honor the triumphs of the space program – was tinged by the tragic deaths of Cernan’s fellow astronauts in the Apollo 1 disaster. All of this likely contributed to the amalgam of images representing progress in biology, medicine, and engineering interposed with the mural’s references to mechanized warfare and nuclear weaponry – reminders that with knowledge and power comes great responsibility, lest any hymn to achievement serve simultaneously as a paean to our own annihilation. “

The unveiling was attended by many noted individuals, including Mayor of Lafayette Tony Roswarski, David Bathe, and Larry Livermore, founder of Lookout! Records, which under Livermore’s ownership released records by internationally known artists such as Green Day and Mass’ own band Squirtgun. A musical performance of “Pop Song” was scheduled in honor of the occasion featuring Kris Roe of The Ataris, Mass and Flav Giorgini, Pat McClimans, Dan Lumley, Phillip Hill, Heidi Faith and myself (in my tambourine debut!). Unfortunately I don’t have any iPhone video of the musical performance, but here’s Mr. Livermore unveiling the mural:

It has been an honor to have been part of this project, the Giorgini family continues to be a source of creativity, inspiration and compassion in our community.

You can read more about the event here.

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