‘If it’s your job to tell me what’s happening and you’re not doing it, then what the fuck are you doing?’

Art & Performance senior Frank Tringali laments the dissolution of the fourth estate into 24-hour info-tainment in his multimedia installation: ‘Do Not Go Gentle.’

Tringali’s show ran as a part of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Fall Arts Festival, from Dec. 2-11.

The Overture sat down with the artist to discuss the difference between actors and journalists and the work of Dylan Thomas.

Free Press

The news is all talking heads and political commentary, not information dissemination. The free press is there, sure it is free. It is free to put anything on your plate for you to consume. But is that press or is that entertainment? It seems more like entertainment when all it does is appeal to emotional instincts.

The installation is about how the troops are used as tools of the media. The media uses emotional techniques to avoid talking about actual events. It immediately causes a gut reaction that overrides logic a populace would normally use to think about what they’re being told.

Ever since I walked into a middle school and someone came running out and screamed

‘They hit the pentagon!’

I have followed politics. For a while I drank the juice and it put me on one of the teams. I fervently towed the party line. Over time I saw the failures of both sides.

The shit slips through and it is not spoken of. Half the shit Wikileaks released was ignored by the media.

I have an idea of what I have seen but I have no idea of what is true. I have slowly lost faith in the institution of media.


I am very interested in tools. Everyone is a tool. We work through structures. I am a tool for art; other people are tools for war.

It is not contained to physical elements. Your wit, your intelligence can be a tool.

‘Do Not Go Gentle’

The title is the master key to the piece. It places the work in a cultural context. Titles are very important; in my mind it is not a finished piece until I have a title.

The title is from a Dylan Thomas poem. Thomas wrote the poem for his father who was a soldier but his father died before he could see it. Thomas was trying to tell his father to not go gentle into battle, to find strength and carry it with him.

I wrote the words of the poem on the wall to encourage people to not go gentle, to wake up.

The message of the installation is not explicit without an explanation. People probably walk into the room and think

‘this kid is psychotic.’

It doesn’t concern me. It is always up to the audience what they take from art. Maybe one day walking down the road something will click for someone.

Painting Inside the Installation

It is a Nazi general about to be executed. He is being tied to a firing post by the allies. The eyes of the general are looking out at the installation. He is about to die and he sees the war machine happening at the moment of death.

War is a dirty business. I’m using the general to show that we do as many dirty things as the other side does.

The righteous façade that the media and government collaborate towards is an illusion. I understand that war is a dirty business but lying to the tools is a dirtier business.

Most of the images in the piece are from WWII. After WWII America became top dog and that is when the media began using these tactics. America went through a change; there were chain stores popping up-a collective industrialization of multiple industries. The same thing happened with the media. You were no longer just a reporter, you were now an actor.

Suspended Soldiers

The soldiers are suspended because they are a puppet for an agenda. Due to whatever circumstances in their lives have led them to it, they have chosen to join the military and have unintentionally become a tool for the media.

The blacked out images that project on the screen are like the mere shadows of soldiers that we learn about on the news.

The shadows projected behind the suspended soldiers represent the people who are hurt by the media. They are hurt because they are disenfranchised.

I know soldiers who say that what we see on television is not what happened.

At its core, this work is an inter-media installation of poem, paint, sculpture, film. The media works the same way; television, radio, music all add up to create something. I am trying to subvert their methods

The individual elements of the installation are all tools.

Painting outside the installation: ‘Any Voyeur Can Tell You That the Best View Of A Train Wreck Is From The High Road’

The painting speaks to the detachment of a soldier after the war. Once the train wreck happens the powers that be can just say ‘peace out’ and leave the soldiers on their own.

The paintings are not inherent to the installation. The installation is an action; it is something being done. The value of it lies in the action. I can re-purpose the elements into a different action. The installation is cultural. It will become obsolete when the culture changes.

Mini Installation: Work in Progress

The film playing on the television is a mix of three liberal and three conservative commentators. There are two toy soldiers on top of the screen; one is painted red and the other blue. The soldiers are shooting each other. The television is the battlefield. The message is more explicit than the other installation’s, it communicates better.

The commentators are Glenn Beck calling Obama a racist, Rachel Maddow making a point of the Tea Party’s use of the term ‘tea-bagging,’ Keith Olberman counting down the ‘worst of the worst’ with Bill O’Reilly appearing on that list twice, O’Reilly calling a middle class woman an idiot, Chris Matthews criticizing a man who brought a gun to a political rally and Greta van Susteren talking about Wikileaks.

All of the commentators are doing things to instigate. They are perpetuating the irrational hate for the ‘other team.’

Eighty percent of people consider these commentators journalists. The commentators simplify things and turn them into family arguments. People do not realize these are not journalists.

I know people that will literally say to me

‘Glenn Beck said this’


‘Rachel Maddow brought this guy on.’

Why the fuck do you care what she said about anything? Why don’t you go form your own opinion about it?

The eighty percent estimate is based upon my own personal experience. You can make a poll say anything you want.

The authority of these commentators is based on them being on television and their ability to act. They are professional actors. The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are up front about what they are. They let you know they are just for entertainment.

I do not hate these people; I just seem them as the source of the problem. I don’t mean to sound like everything is fucked. There is free information out there. Socrates said the essence of intelligence is to entertain thoughts without believing them. I read everything I can and make judgments based on how it resonates with me.

I do not disagree with conflict; I disagree with the motive.

Written by Rebecca Gomez.

Photographs by Alexander Chi.