According to the illustrious physicist Stephen Hawking, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”. After almost a decade of publishing an exhaustive Yearbook of graduates’ projects in paper form, this year we have opted for an online version, offering a wider variety of images and videos while at the same time making them accessible to a broader audience. All of this is accompanied by a complementary teaser-journal (we simply couldn’t help ourselves) and of course the traditional exhibition of the graduates’ works at ECAL. While nothing will ever replace discovering a work in its reality, art is increasingly benefiting from the advantages of the web, which has never been so aptly named.
Living in the spirit of the times and adapting to any situation by remaining constantly optimistic and taking a number of risks and initiatives on an organisational level as we were able to do, for example, by maintaining face-to-face graduation sessions at the end of the summer, unlike many other schools, has also enabled us to stay on course despite coronavirus-related ups and downs in recent months.
Incidentally, risk-taking and optimism are two notions that artists and designers often need throughout their careers. Experimentation, boldness, curiosity, the fact of trying, sometimes with the danger of failing, allow one to grow, progress and improve one’s practice even more. This is precisely what we call optimism. In a world, a society where challenges are becoming more and more complicated, we have to constantly tell ourselves that there is the hope of bringing them to the light.
While discovering the works on display this year, I am delighted to see that the students have perfectly appropriated these two values by often offering ambitious and daring projects. I have thus seen graduation works that are socially committed, others that meet technological challenges and even some which are totally original and innovative from an artistic/aesthetic point of view. The graduates have also shown optimism and resilience by never giving up, despite all the pitfalls along the long and winding road towards their degree.
Beyond this very special 2020, I sincerely hope that their time spent at ECAL will not only have enabled graduates to build a portfolio that lives up to their expectations, but also to position themselves and their approach as creative persons, to evolve as people, discover more about themselves and become what they have always aspired to be, while questioning the world around them and providing answers.
From now on, they will face new challenges, far from ECAL’s cocoon, even though we do our utmost to help them integrate into the professional world through EXECAL, the Talent Days (which we launched for the first time this year), the school’s exhibition and website, as mentioned above, and in many other ways. However, and this time I am speaking directly to you, new alumni, the future and the world are yours! Never forget to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty: a glass full of memories and knowledge accumulated over the years, which I hope will never quench your thirst for life and discovery.