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Interactive exhibition to provoke conversations around race and technology opens at DMU


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A two-week art exhibition which aims to get people talking about race and technology is now open at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Vijay Patel (VJP) atrium. 

Developed by Identity 2.0, a creative studio exploring digital identity, ‘This Machine is Black’ is a visual, interactive space that has been designed like a garden and split into four themes: Deep Fake, Surveillance and Privacy, Afrofuturism and Abolition.  

This Machine is Black (2)

Each space contains unique art pieces, created by Identity 2.0 or a talented artist from a Black, Asian or underrepresented ethnic group, that integrate technology’s role in upholding and dismantling racism. 

Identity 2.0 was founded by award-winning London creatives Arda Awais and Savena Surana. 

“We're so excited to have This Machine is Black come to DMU,” said Arda. “The whole exhibition is pushing an important conversation about the relationship between race and tech, and making it more accessible to everyone, especially creatives.  

“That's why the students at DMU are exactly the type of audience we want to bring our work to. We hope that we can inspire them to question their own relationship to the digital tools they use everyday and how we can use these tools creatively.” 

Identity 2.0

Savena added: “Neither of us are from traditional art backgrounds, so to have our exhibition in a space where art students, who are the future of creativity, can experience it, is just amazing.  

“We hope that our work can inspire others to go and create their own art, exhibition, zines, shows about whatever issues they are passionate about.” 

Among the artists commissioned for This Machine Is Black is illustrator and graphic designer Jada Bruney. Her work, ‘The Return of the Motherland’ explores the concept of a retro futuristic second Windrush Generation, featuring elements of animation and typography. 

There is also Midlands-based Tobi Uzumaki, whose art is inspired by anime, manga and Japanese culture, while 3D artist and creative designer Danielle Williams from Nottingham celebrates Black beauty, pride and raised fists. 

This Machine is Black

Partly funded by Leicester City Council and supported by DMU, the exhibition is one of the winners of the Smart Leicester City Challenge, a competition run by Leicester City Council and designed to kick-start innovative projects. 

Assistant City Mayor for jobs and skills, Cllr Danny Myers, said: “I’m really pleased that Smart Leicester could support Identity 2.0 through our Smart Leicester City Challenge. 

“I also look forward to supporting many more opportunities like this through the ongoing work of our Smart Leicester initiative, so that Leicester becomes known as a smart city, focused on using technology for the good of everyone who lives, works or visits here.” 

This Machine is Black will be open at DMU’s VJP atrium on campus from Monday 13 to Sunday 26 September.

Posted on Monday 13th September 2021

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