Knowledge is Power, 2017, existing diploma frames, post-processed diploma templates printed on office paper, 90 in x 15.5 in (228.6 cm x 39.37 cm)


This work was developed as a response to a statement made by the 45th white house administration and justice department to “[sue] universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants" 1. This sentiment echoes an attitude shared by the Reagan adminisitration, a belief that affirmative action means unfair treatment to white identifying citizens.

The readymade diploma frames were purchased from an art store after a pattern of overrepresentation revealed itself in the retail space. The stock frames feature diploma templates that strictly sound off occidental surnames such as Whitman, Smith, Erickson, Gray, or Stevenson. The evidence suggests that ethnic identities are muted and placed in consumer periphery favoring those of Euramericans heritage.

The stock diploma templates were excavated from each individual frame, then scanned, and photoshopped to remove company logos and barcodes to abridge their more explicit fictional status that once was. After the post-process, they were printed and reinstalled in their new form.

The highlight of the conversation focuses on the politics of representation in American consumer culture. Because companies naturally respond to the market, these documents highlight the reality of disproportionate access to education in the United States.

The 2016 census bureau shows that bachelor degree holders alone were composed of 38,195 “Whites,” 4,074 “Blacks”, 3,845 “Hispanics”, and 4,401 “Asians.”2 Knowledge is Power questions whether or not affirmative action is necessary as it draws upon the (in)accessibility of education by questioning why these diplomas are marketed specifically to a Euramerican consumer audience.

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