The International Review of African American Art just published a special issue which shows how aesthetic, scientific and mathematical configurations can be perceived in everything and experienced in many ways. This full seeing and being is a spark for innovation in art, science, technology, engineering, architecture and mathematics and, more broadly, in education and business… and life!
This Spring issue features a spectacular group of design and cultural critics, and theorist writing on science, Afro Futurism, STEM Education and the Interplay of Patterns are just a few of the amazing features highlighted in this issue. Pick up a copy and delve into creative intelligence!
Article from IRAAA Special Issue on Science, Technology and Art By Michele Y. Washington
A dynamic husband-and-wife team is creating innovative, technology-based projects that merge design, art, computing, and social justice. Both work at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Ron Eglash is a professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, and Audrey Bennett is an associate professor in the Department of Language, Literature and Communication.
Audrey Bennett’s efforts span scholarly research (in communication design theory); social activism (in participatory design that involves users in the design process); professional design for clients; and creative, graphic arts that reflects her Dartmouth College studio art background. She has an M.F.A. in graphic design from Yale University. Her work in participatory design led to a book, Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design (Princeton Architectural Press), and the development of GLIDE: Global Interaction in Design, a biennial, virtual forum and research hub on our ever-changing world of design and technology.
The October 2010 virtual conference brought together a distinguished group of design educators, graduate students and researchers from across the globe in real time communication. Covering a broad range, the topics included the use of design solutions to help the indigenous, marginalized people of southern Mexico build business capacity; green design concepts in Asia; and the use of digital technologies in teaching and research in Pacific communities.
During the GLIDE 10, keynote presentation, Ron Eglash discussed his research on the vernacular knowledge systems of global, indigenous cultures and the need to dispel myths about these groups as being backwards, “primitive,” illiterate. He also discussed his world with African American, Puerto Rican and Native American cultures in the United States. In applying these systems for use in design and education. Eglash cautioned that sensitivity is required to make sure that these users are beneficial to the people who created them. Read the rest of this entry →
“Untangling the Naps” investigates the cultural and historical significance of the Afro, and how the afro is expressed today. I explore images of the Afro/’fro/Natural and how they were used to define blackness, racial pride, and ultimately, the black design aesthetic.
The themes for this work focus on identity, hair, blackness and power, ideas expressed in the statement by Robin D. G. Kelley, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC College.
“No matter what we might think about culture and style as a terrain of struggle, hairstyle politics, particularly in the Black community, reveal a great deal about power—the power of white over black, men over women, employer over workers, state over citizens.” — By Robin D. G. Kelley, Nap Time: Historicizing the Afro
My field of enquiry is based on my long-term research into the black aesthetic influence on graphic design in the twentieth century. The title, “Untangling the Naps,” suggests how I have used the Afro as a graphic narrative, in the next phase of my quest to understand the black aesthetic. In my research I investigate the historical and cultural significance of the Afro in the past, and in its current expressions. I have also researched the struggles that describe the “politics of style,” and explore the images and signifiers of the Afro/’fro/Natural that are used to define blackness, racial pride, and the new black design aesthetic of hip. My objective is to illustrate the ways this natural hairstyle has been used as a significant graphic element in the black vernacular narrative and in social media to brand black hipness.
Living in NYC ones days tend to be overloaded, so this weekend was no different with events from ICFF (International Furniture Fair) to Socialmedia weekend at Columbia School of Journalism organized by Sree Sreenivasan the dean of the School of Journalism and host of volunteers. And this event was organized in just two weeks. At first I wanted to play spin the bottle to choose, but instead opted to try something new after all I’ve attended numerous ICFF’s over the years. Despite recouping from tumltous two weeks of finishing my second Masters in Design Criticism at the School of Visual Arts, I managed to stay alert through several informative sessions, chat up lots of exciting new people, and tweet about the proceedings throughout the two days. Luckily, things paid off, Doug Cret one of the attendees followed my tweets, wrote an article on Fastcompany blog about Socialmedia Weekend and mentioned my culturalboundaries blog. Totally unexpected, but much appreciated hit from Douglas Cret. More on the wonders of tweeting.
Here’s an excerpt by FC expert Blogger Douglas Cret.
We Are Content. We Are Curation. Open the Doors And
See All the People Does the headline sound familiar? It’s a play on that funny nursery allegory they used to do with their hands when you were in day school. “Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors, see all the people.” It amazes me that as a tow-headed latchkey kid, I thought that little rhetorical device was magical.
The tools of discovery really are multiple on the web, and in a real way, the tools are its people.
After spending hours tweeting, listening in on social media forums and connecting with some really intelligent media people, I spent a few minutes inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Saturday evening and contemplated the full day’s data stream.