RCA Black: Past, Present & Future

31.08.2011 10:00 - 06.09.2011 18:00

Venue

Henry Moore Galleries
Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU

Artist/Designer

Taslim Martin
Ekua McMorris
Yemi Awosile
Simone Brewster
Kevin Bickham
Emamoke Ukeleghe
Althea McNish
Edward Niles
Frank Bowling
Charlie Allen
Joy Gregory
Eileen Perrier
Faisal Abdul Allah
Lawson Oyekan
Ndidi Ekubia
Barrington Watson
Tessa Alexis
Paul Jones
Catherine Anyango
Darren Norman
Harold Offeh
Caroline Sardine

Share

RCA BLACK: Past, Present & Future

The Royal College of Art, in collaboration with the African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora (AACDD), is delighted to present RCA Black, an exhibition celebrating art and design by African and African Caribbean graduates.

Private View: September 1st, 6-9pm

The RCA is one of the world’s most influential postgraduate art and design colleges. As an incubator for creative talent it is renowned for its alumni who include Ridley Scott, James Dyson, Tracey Emin and David Hockney.  Alongside these, the RCA has also been instrumental in developing the careers of artists and designers from African and African Caribbean descent such as architect David Adjaye and bespoke tailor Charlie Allen.

A Royal College of Art education undoubtedly brings with it the prospect of prestige and success, yet at the same time, the College – in common with other major British educational institutions – is seen as being a predominately white university.

With this in mind, RCA Black will for the very first time bring together the multidisciplinary practices of the College’s African and African Caribbean art and design alumni, past and present. The achievements of these artists and designers – spanning 60 years – are being showcased not only as exemplars of creativity but also as a point of celebration.

Believing that the art and design sector should be truly representative of all talent, the AACDD approached the RCA to present the work of a group of graduates who are often marginalised within the creative industries.

Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art said: “African and African Caribbean artists and designers are faced with many barriers in their quest to obtaining academic qualifications; through this exhibition I hope that those considering applying to the College will have confidence that admission is based on merit, not on any other factor.”

Related reading:

For further information and images please contact:
Ekua McMorris on 0207 590 4211 or 07737197028, email: black@rca.ac.uk
Sue Bradburn, RCA Media Relations & Marketing Manager on 0207 590 4114, email: sue.bradburn@rca.ac.uk

In partnership with

Royal College of Art

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Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation. ~Jean Arp

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Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971

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Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight? ~Al Boliska

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Technology: “the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.” ~Max Frisch, c.1960s

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I have watched in spirit, hundreds of years, the machines grow out of Man like nails, like vast antennæ — a kind of enormous, more unconscious sub-body.... Man, at the present moment, with all his new machines about him, is engaged in becoming as self-controlled, as self-expressive, with his new machines, with his wireless telegraph arms and his railway legs, as he is with his flesh and blood ones.... So I have seen the machines go swinging through the world. Like archangels, like demons, they mount up our desires on the mountains.... We dive down with our steel wheels and nose for knowledge — like a great Fish — along the bottom of the sea. We beat up our wills through the air. We fling up, with our religion, with our faith, our bodies on the clouds. We fly reverently and strangely, our hearts all still and happy, in the face of God! ~Gerald Stanley Lee, "Dead as a Door Nail!", Crowds: A Moving-Picture of Democracy, Book One: Crowds and Machines, 1912

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If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

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Modern technology
Owes ecology
An apology.
~Alan M. Eddison

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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard

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Modern technology
Owes ecology
An apology.
~Alan M. Eddison

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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard

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The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. ~Sydney J. Harris

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For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3. ~Alice Kahn

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Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau

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Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower. ~Alan C. Kay

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Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight? ~Al Boliska

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Technology: “the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.” ~Max Frisch, c.1960s

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I have watched in spirit, hundreds of years, the machines grow out of Man like nails, like vast antennæ — a kind of enormous, more unconscious sub-body.... Man, at the present moment, with all his new machines about him, is engaged in becoming as self-controlled, as self-expressive, with his new machines, with his wireless telegraph arms and his railway legs, as he is with his flesh and blood ones.... So I have seen the machines go swinging through the world. Like archangels, like demons, they mount up our desires on the mountains.... We dive down with our steel wheels and nose for knowledge — like a great Fish — along the bottom of the sea. We beat up our wills through the air. We fling up, with our religion, with our faith, our bodies on the clouds. We fly reverently and strangely, our hearts all still and happy, in the face of God! ~Gerald Stanley Lee, "Dead as a Door Nail!", Crowds: A Moving-Picture of Democracy, Book One: Crowds and Machines, 1912

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If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

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Modern technology
Owes ecology
An apology.
~Alan M. Eddison

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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard

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The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. ~Sydney J. Harris

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For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3. ~Alice Kahn

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Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau

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Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower. ~Alan C. Kay

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Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines. ~Erich Fromm

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Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them. ~Alfred North Whitehead

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Especially, in the country
Was the backhouse used by all;
For they had no city plumbing
In those days beyond recall...
When 'twas dark, we'd light the lantern,
And go forth upon our quest
For the book of Sears & Roebuck;
And then sit, and groan and rest...
But this backhouse, dark and gloomy,
With its seats so cold and damp,
Was the bane of my existence
When I'd visit dear old Gramp!...
Gone are all those days of privies
And of each backhouse, so plain;
Now, we pull the chain, and presto!
All is sweet and clean, again.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

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The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. ~Sydney J. Harris

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For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3. ~Alice Kahn

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The drive toward complex technical achievement offers a clue to why the U.S. is good at space gadgetry and bad at slum problems. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

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All of the biggest technological inventions created by man - the airplane, the automobile, the computer - says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness. ~Mark Kennedy

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Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences. ~Lewis Mumford

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It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome. ~T.S. Eliot, about radio

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Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971

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Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight? ~Al Boliska

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Technology: “the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.” ~Max Frisch, c.1960s

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I have watched in spirit, hundreds of years, the machines grow out of Man like nails, like vast antennæ — a kind of enormous, more unconscious sub-body.... Man, at the present moment, with all his new machines about him, is engaged in becoming as self-controlled, as self-expressive, with his new machines, with his wireless telegraph arms and his railway legs, as he is with his flesh and blood ones.... So I have seen the machines go swinging through the world. Like archangels, like demons, they mount up our desires on the mountains.... We dive down with our steel wheels and nose for knowledge — like a great Fish — along the bottom of the sea. We beat up our wills through the air. We fling up, with our religion, with our faith, our bodies on the clouds. We fly reverently and strangely, our hearts all still and happy, in the face of God! ~Gerald Stanley Lee, "Dead as a Door Nail!", Crowds: A Moving-Picture of Democracy, Book One: Crowds and Machines, 1912

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If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

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Modern technology
Owes ecology
An apology.
~Alan M. Eddison

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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard

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The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. ~Sydney J. Harris

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For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3. ~Alice Kahn

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Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau

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Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower. ~Alan C. Kay

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Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines. ~Erich Fromm

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Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them. ~Alfred North Whitehead

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Especially, in the country
Was the backhouse used by all;
For they had no city plumbing
In those days beyond recall...
When 'twas dark, we'd light the lantern,
And go forth upon our quest
For the book of Sears & Roebuck;
And then sit, and groan and rest...
But this backhouse, dark and gloomy,
With its seats so cold and damp,
Was the bane of my existence
When I'd visit dear old Gramp!...
Gone are all those days of privies
And of each backhouse, so plain;
Now, we pull the chain, and presto!
All is sweet and clean, again.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

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We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. ~Carl Sagan

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Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains. ~Eric Hoffer

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You cannot endow even the best machine with initiative; the jolliest steam-roller will not plant flowers. ~Walter Lippmann
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It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being. ~John Stuart Mill

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The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. ~Warren G. Bennis

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The greatest task before civilization at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men. ~Havelock Ellis

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Imagine that the telegraph is an immense long dog — so long that its head is at Vienna and its tail is at Paris. Well, tread on its tail, which is at Paris, and it will bark at Vienna. ~Author unknown, published in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1866 August 28th

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Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. ~R. Buckminster Fuller

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What the country needs are a few labor-making inventions. ~Arnold Glasow

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The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them. ~Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939

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The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do. ~B.F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement, 1969

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WhenIWasYourAge: We had to open all doors by ourselves. None of them knew we were coming. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014

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It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times. ~Pearl S. Buck

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Technology presumes there's just one right way to do things and there never is. ~Robert M. Pirsig

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I think I should not go far wrong if I asserted that the amount of genuine leisure available in a society is generally in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs. ~E.F. Schumacher

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It may be objected that this is a very small matter, and that it will be a long time before the imagination of man substantially alters those appearances of nature with which his figuration supplies him. But then I am taking the long view. Even so, we need not be too confident. Even if the pace of change remained the same, one who is really sensitive to (for example) the difference between the medieval collective representations and our own will be aware that, without traveling any greater distance than we have come since the fourteenth century, we could very well move forward into a chaotically empty or fantastically hideous world. But the pace of change has not remained the same. It has accelerated and is accelerating.

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Imagination is not, as some poets have thought, simply synonymous with good. It may be either good or evil. As long as art remained primarily mimetic, the evil which imagination could do was limited by nature. Again, as long as it was treated as an amusement, the evil which it could do was limited in scope. But in an age when the connection between imagination and figuration is beginning to be dimly realized, when the fact of the directionally creator relation is beginning to break through into consciousness, both the good and the evil latent in the working of imagination begin to appear unlimited. We have seen in the Romantic movement an instance of the way in which the making of images may react upon the collective representations. It is a fairly rudimentary instance, but even so it has already gone beyond the dreams and responses of a leisured few. The economic and social structure of Switzerland is noticeably affected by its tourist industry, and that is due only in part to increased facilities of travel. It is due not less to the condition that (whatever may be said about their ‘particles’) the mountains which twentieth-century man sees are not the mountains which eighteenth-century man saw.

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The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect.

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Ethics change with technology

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Hi there," squeaked a precocious little voice, "you are speaking to Chloe Fusakawa, and I have just learned how to answer the phone

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Magic--that's just a label, you know. Completely meaningless. It wasn't so very long ago that people were saying that electricity was magic

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Americans worship technology. It's an inherent trait in the national zeitgeist

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This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature.

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There are cameras nowadays that have been developed to tell the difference between a squirrel and a bomb.

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Humans are the reproductive organs of technology

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The intentions of a tool are what it does. A hammer intends to strike, a vise intends to hold fast, a lever intends to lift. They are what it is made for. But sometimes a tool may have other uses that you don't know. Sometimes in doing what you intend, you also do what the knife intends, without knowing.”
― Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass

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The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

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1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

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We have not noticed how fast the rest has risen. Most of the industrialized world--and a good part of the nonindustrialized world as well--has better cell phone service than the United States. Broadband is faster and cheaper across the industrial world, from Canada to France to Japan, and the United States now stands sixteenth in the world in broadband penetration per capita. Americans are constantly told by their politicians that the only thing we have to learn from other countries' health care systems is to be thankful for ours. Most Americans ignore the fact that a third of the country's public schools are totally dysfunctional (because their children go to the other two-thirds). The American litigation system is now routinely referred to as a huge cost to doing business, but no one dares propose any reform of it. Our mortgage deduction for housing costs a staggering $80 billion a year, and we are told it is crucial to support home ownership, except that Margaret Thatcher eliminated it in Britain, and yet that country has the same rate of home ownership as the United States. We rarely look around and notice other options and alternatives, convinced that "we're number one.”

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In the age of technology there is constant access to vast amounts of information. The basket overflows; people get overwhelmed; the eye of the storm is not so much what goes on in the world, it is the confusion of how to think, feel, digest, and react to what goes on

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Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.”

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bassists are very good with their fingers
[novan]: and some of us sing backup vocals, so that means we're good with our mouths too

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Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it

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Nin knew how much humans loved money, riches, and material things—though he never really could understand why. The more technologically advanced the human species got, the more isolated they seemed to become, at the same time. It was alarming, how humans could spend entire lifetimes engaged in all kinds of activities, without getting any closer to knowing who they really were, inside.

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I was flipping channels, watching this cheerleading program on MTV. They took a field hockey girl and “transformed” her into a cheerleader by the end of the show. I was just wondering: what if she liked field hockey better

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Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount

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We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.”

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But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world – wide brotherhood. Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools

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It doesn't stop being magic just because you know how it works.”

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When I touched her body,
I believed she was God.
In the curves of her form
I found the birth of Man,
the creation of the world,
and the origin of all life.

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People today have forgotten they're really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They always think they can make something better. Especially scientists. They may be smart, but most don't understand the heart of nature. They only invent things that, in the end, make people unhappy. Yet they're so proud of their inventions. What's worse, most people are, too. They view them as if they were miracles. They worship them. They don't know it, but they're losing nature. They don't see that they're going to perish. The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water.

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As cities grow and technology takes over the world belief and imagination fade away and so do w

Comment by e-fillingincometax | 02.01.2017

Nobody that has seen a baby born can believe in god for a second. When you see your child born, and the panic, and the amount of technology that is saving the life of the two people you love most in the world, when you see how much stainless steel and money it takes to fight off the fact that god wants both those people dead, no one, no one can look into the eyes of a newborn baby and say there's a god, because I'll tell ya, if we were squatting in the woods, the two people I love most would be dead. There's just no way around that. If I were in charge, no way. We need technology to fight against nature; nature so wants us dead. Nature is trying to kill us

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Everyone knows that the Internet is changing our lives, mostly because someone in the media has uttered that exact phrase every single day since 1993. However, it certainly appears that the main thing the Internet has accomplished is the normalization of amateur pornography. There is no justification for the amount of naked people on the World Wide Web, many of whom are clearly (clearly!) doing so for non-monetary reasons. Where were these people fifteen years ago? Were there really millions of women in 1986 turning to their husbands and saying, 'You know, I would love to have total strangers masturbate to images of me deep-throating a titanium dildo, but there's simply no medium for that kind of entertainment. I guess we'll just have to sit here and watch Falcon Crest again.

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My wish simply is to live my life as fully as I can. In both our work and our leisure, I think, we should be so employed. And in our time this means that we must save ourselves from the products that we are asked to buy in order, ultimately, to replace ourselves.

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Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin.”

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We can’t jump off bridges anymore because our iPhones will get ruined. We can’t take skinny dips in the ocean because there’s no service on the beach and adventures aren’t real unless they’re on Instagram. Technology has doomed the spontaneity of adventure and we’re helping destroy it every time we Google, check-in, and hashtag

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Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone.

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We refuse to turn off our computers, turn off our phone, log off Facebook, and just sit in silence, because in those moments we might actually have to face up to who we really are.”
― Jefferson Bethke, Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than

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Comment by Chip | 04.09.2011

What is "black"? This is not a progressive term.

Comment by Chip | 04.09.2011

Went to the exhibition, the work was poor with few exceptions. It can be very dangerous to exlude oneself from your wider peers as it can be difficult to measure quality and depth in work. This was not ground breaking work and seemed to be more an exercise in self-promotion and back-patting under guise of the label "RCA Black". If this was supposed to give inspiration to african diaspora communities then there needs to be stronger work from which inspiration can be drawn. We must do better!!

Comment by coo coo | 01.09.2011

AACDD seems to like this discussion and that's a really good thing.

In an attempt to be convincing in the statement, I feel the organisers came out a bit too simplistic, sacrificing accuracy over sensation(i.e. white university). The show proposes to deal with a touchy and complex subject and the statement that goes with it should have reflected this in its syntax. Instead, what's more visible in the statement(s) was contradiction and generalisation and I suspect this is the cause of the most of the discussions here. There are many instances of double standard or generalisation happening in the statement, in the press and in this comment section from the organisers and the people who supposedly support the cause.

I genuinely support the cause too, though not by standing next to my friend at the opening drinking beer agreeing on everything, but by giving a criticism that this type of events often do not get. It's clearly not the cause that's being criticised here, but the way it's delivered.

Somehow we are made to feel that critical comments are negative or against the cause because of its touchy subject matter. This happens, I think, because of the simplistic and slightly shocking approach employed by the organisers presumably in order to attract wider audience, but using the serious issue at hand as criticism repellant is never a good idea. Sometimes we forget about the importance of the outside while immersing ourselves in the subject we deeply care about... This was the concern that came to me the first time I read the press release, and saw realised here in how people reacted to Peter's comment. In my mind, Peter merely pointed out what he believed to be an inaccurate representation of an institution he himself knows and cares about, trying to correct an error. It shouldn't be seen as an attack of any kind.

Personally, I don't see a need for putting on yet another show if it cannot accept open criticism and does not involve curatorial consciousness(Colour is not a conscious choice, you know). There has been a few points made about how the people is the main content and the work secondary, but the beauty of art and design is the fact that we can communicate ideas through object and imagery with a certain level of detachment to the subject matter. The sense of objectiveness, seriousness and urgency cannot be achieved without this detachment. Saying that the people behind the work is the main content makes it redundant to present the work of these people, as it diverts the attention away from the people, especially when it's made clear several times that the work doesn't have to have anything to do with the subject of the show.

I am serious about my work just as anybody else and don't see any point in participating in a show where the main task is achieved by just being in it, and I DO shy away from such occasions!

Comment by TT | 31.08.2011

I was also pretty shocked to read the guardian article. It did not seem to reflect the RCA that I knew and I was also surprised to see the term WHITE UNIVERSITY used in the press release for the show. I imagine a lot of other people were to but are too scared of being accused of racism to say so. Why is this descending into mud slinging? Is that not just detracting from the good that the show can do? Go RCA!

Comment by BB | 31.08.2011

I really like this discussion. It opens up a lot of hidden issues. I particularly like the comment by Hato concerning pigeons.

When the pigeon college decides to put on a show for only one colour of pigeon and the other colour of pigeon (we are to assume the white colour of pigeon I suppose) is not allowed to join, the white pigeon gets confused, and from that point on the pigeon seems to go off cooing to himself until he works himself up into such an internal rage that he goes about trying to bad talk all of the people involved in the show, maybe even to the point of sabotage?

Let’s look at another analogy.
If my friend and I were both actors and we wanted to be in the same play but I wasn’t picked for whatever reason, I wouldn’t go off and give bad reviews and commentary about the play. I would turn up on opening night and show my support, I would be in the front row clapping as the curtains fell, because apparently I wanted to show my support.

Why could the pigeon only show it’s support by being IN the show? There are so many other ways that the pigeon could show it’s support. It could turn up, and stand next to the pigeon for all who came to see that it believed in it’s pigeon friend, enough to be there next to him even when he had nothing personally to gain. To show that even though the participants in the show could only be pink pigeons the university where the pigeons learned had many other colours of pigeon?

Maybe instead the pigeon didn’t really care, or wasn’t really the friend of the pigeon who was able to be in the show, because as soon as the cooing pigeon was unable to gain personally (be that via promotion or exposure or just another line on their CV,) they weren’t able to show support. They lost interest in all the good the show could do for their pigeon friend and instead try to call up every negative thought possible. Maybe it was because the pigeon had the brain the size of a rice grain?
Who knows, I’m not a pigeon.

Comment by Simone Brewster | 31.08.2011

Just so we are clear, one of the main purposes of the show is to promote art and design not to the wider market but to within the black community. It may be controversial to some to use black people as the role models for future generations of all people, but I think it's as negative as we choose to make it.

You may argue that we are pigeonholing ourselves, but if enough different pigeons of all differnt beautiful pigeon colours turn up to the actual event then we will result in building many solid pigeon bridges and pigeon networks and even some younger pigeons might come along and feel inspired to believe in themselves and their own creativity and maybe some of those pigeons will believe in themselves so much that they learn how to fly...

Comment by H | 31.08.2011

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Comment by Simone Brewster | 31.08.2011

These are the things that I've actually been saying to the press.
If you are interested in the true message and intentions of the show, and the true content that has been voiced, please press this link. Hope to see you all on Thursday.

http://voice-online.co.uk/article/painting-colour

Comment by Hato | 30.08.2011

Hey guys, such a lively discussion here! It's nice to see people still care about things..... Very confusing topic though, possibly because everyone involved says something else? I thought it might help us all to see it in a different context, an analogy.

A bunch of pigeons go to school to learn how to make art. There are different pigeons, white, grey, black, yellow, purple, all from different parts of the world. They get mixed up in the school and learn lots of things from each other. When they finish school and go out into the wider world, some of the landlords put same coloured pigeons into the same hole and treat them differently from others. This isn't fair. The head master hears this, and thinks "but we admit every colour of pigeons on merit, not on colour" So with a an organisation promoting the culture of one colour of pigeons, they put up an exhibition of works from one colour of pigeons and put them in the same hole. Another coloured pigeon wanted to show support because he deeply cares about the other coloured pigeon, but he is told he cannot be in the show because he just isn't the colour. His confusion is deepened when he hears one of the pigeons in the show doesn't really care, or share the sentiment that prompted the show in the first place. She is just in it because this particular pigeon school has a good name.
The press release of the show says the school that's hosting the show is seen as being a predominately white pigeon university. This causes mild confusion among pigeons who graduated from the school as it just isn't true. From experience they know all colours of pigeons mingled in school, so why are they putting those pigeons of a particular colour in the same hole now? And why suddenly the reason for holding this show became the school itself that in fact was doing what it tries to promote?

....and that's how the term 'to pigeonhole' was born!
Pow!

Comment by Peter | 30.08.2011

Hi Eelko,

your text contains a glaring contradiction that confirms the sentiment of my previous message:

‘nowhere in the text a finger is pointed, nor racism suggested.’

followed by:

‘Voicing opinions on and concerning such sensitive issues as racism is brave and well needed.’

Either the text introducing the show hints at racism within the RCA or it does not. Which?

Following talks with the organisors I identified that this statement:

‘the College – in common with other major British educational institutions – is seen as being a predominately white university.’

Although made by proxy, this is untrue and offensive, and is used by the organisors to introduce the exhibition. The comment is still there and I stand by this. It’s a massive accusation to make against an institution that is so incredibly inclusive, and, contrary to what the Guardian would wish us to think, is already a ‘beacon of diversity’. I believe the many people who come from all over the world to study there would agree with this and I’m sad to hear that someone sees it in another light.

On what genuine grounds was this comment made? On what statistical evidence? On what experiential evidence? I would challenge anyone making such a grand comment to come forwards with some concrete evidence of racist bias at the RCA. I believe the only way that the RCA would be considered a ‘white university’ (whatever that means) is by publicly issuing a statement that says:

‘the College – in common with other major British educational institutions – is seen as being a predominately white university.’

You have attempted to twist my commentary by saying that I have ‘a lack of empathy for the group in question’ and then later make a relation to ‘new fascism’. This is also untrue and defamatory.

To promote black culture through the RCA is a positive idea and I agree it’s much needed. I’m happy it is happening. However to label the RCA as a ‘white university’ as a way to introduce the exhibition, drags the concept of the exhibition down to a negative and much lower level than the designers and artists deserve.

Comment by eelko moorer | 29.08.2011

Dear Peter,

nowhere in the text a finger is pointed, nor racism suggested. It is very unwise and potentially damaging to make assumptions on issues that you apparently have no clear and/ or well informed view on.

Voicing opinions on and concerning such sensitive issues as racism is brave and well needed. Especially in the light of recent events in the UK. Discussion and mutual understanding are essential in a society that advocates itself as open, equal and democratic both towards race as well as gender, and sexual preference.
Your emotive response is a voice without being funded in facts, or underpinned with references from various angles (social, cultural, historical, political, etc) concerning an issue like this, is not only stupid, but does echo ignorance and suggests a lack of empathy for the group in question.

Let’s celebrate not only achievement and pathmaking by and for the black community and beyond in the UK, but also the RCA in promoting both diversity and inclusion against a wider European climate where ignorance, and a lack of empathy are a breeding ground for the dumb wind of populism (read: new facism) that is curently sweeping through large parts of continental Europe.

Go RCA, go black!

Comment by Peter Marigold | 29.08.2011

Projecting racism onto an institution where there is none is deeply offensive and requires clear directed substantiation, not casual ignorant commentary. This is a serious accusation. Who exactly are the curators of the exhibition pointing a finger at as racists within the RCA? No doubt they will now cower behind the idea that it is 'the institution' rather than any one who is part of it.
Providing the black community with positive role models is one thing, naming an institution as racist when it is clearly not is at best stupid, but more accurately just offensive.
I feel sorry for the artists and designers that have been dragged down to the level that this show projects, and I would have expected a lot more from the RCA in promoting the show in this way.

Comment by Juliette Goddard | 24.08.2011

Nice article in todays The Guardian by Hannah Pool

Comment by Marlaina | 23.08.2011

very much wish I could attend! Arts supported from Australia.

Comment by Juliette Goddard | 17.08.2011

I look forward to this exhibition, it will be around the time of Black History Month.

Comment by Anthony | 15.08.2011

I am looking forward to the exhibition, it looks like it's going be to a great showcase of African and Caribbean creative talent!

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