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An exhibition provoking conversation about race and technology comes to LCB Depot this month

It brings together authentic viewpoints 'fighting for a better digital future'.

The relationship between technology and race will be explored in a two-week exhibition from August 13-30.

This Machine is Black will take place in a a unique interactive space inspired by a garden at LCB Depot.

The space, designed like a garden, is split into four themes: Deep Fakes, Surveillance and Privacy, Afrofutirsm, and Abolition. Each area will contain unique art pieces or work from one of 11 commissioned designers, artists and researchers, from a black, Asian or underrepresented ethnic group.

Created and run by Identity 2.0, a creative studio exploring digital identity, the is supported by Leicester City Council and De Montfort University, following the naming of Identity 2.0 as winners of the Smart Leicester City Challenge.

The Smart Leicester initiative

The City Council’s Smart Leicester initiative aims to support the city to recover from COVID-19 through innovation and sustainable growth.

It encourages the take-up of digital skills and lifelong learning, and will also promote Leicester’s growing creative sector for the good of the city.

Projects that address poverty, improve transport, tackle the climate crisis and help to share data appropriately also align with the aims of Smart Leicester, and could benefit from future funding or other support.

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.

"It sounds like they will be bringing a really innovative and fascinating piece of work to the LCB Depot, our hub for creative businesses in the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. I’m really looking forward to going.”

More about Identity 2.0

Identity 2.0 has previously produced a range of moments and spaces which push the conversation about digital identity into the mainstream.

Past work includes a digital exhibition (CTRL+U) which reached over 3500 people internationally, a self-published zine, a web series and creative workshops.

They have been supported and praised by MIT Tech Review Download, Soho House and Airbnb.

The founders, Arda Awais and Savena Surana are two award-winning London based creatives, who work in the creative-tech world, and have been named Web Champions 2021 by Sir Tim Berners Lee.

Arda and Savena had this to say about the exhibition: “We’re so excited to bring an important topic to one of the most diverse cities in the UK. Being women of colour, this is a topic which directly affects us, and we want more people to engage with it.

"We love creating spaces for people to explore what it means to exist online and in a technological world - and using art means that more people can get involved in this important fight for our future. We infuse humour, surprises and everyday language to make sure that this is a non-intimidating environment to explore technology.

"We also hope that this will encourage more artists to think critically about the tech they use in their practices!”

Working collaboratively with the creatives for This Machine Is Black, this is the first time Identity 2.0 has been able to commission artists to help bring a range of authentic viewpoints, fighting for a better digital future.

Some of the artists

Jada Bruney is a London-based illustrator and graphic designer who has produced work for Adidas, Tate Collective and been commissioned by Merky Books to reimagine The Story of Tracy Beaker in an alternative universe.

Now, for This Machine is Black, Jada's work, ‘The Return to the Motherland’ explores the concept of a retro futuristic second Windrush Generation.

Inspired by the degrading phrase “if you don’t like it here, go back to where you come from," this sci-fi influenced piece presents a mass migration of black people no longer compromising both mental and physical health by staying in a discriminatory society. Instead, they are regaining power over their own happiness by leaving.

Danielle Williams who hails from Nottingham is a 3D artist and creative designer who will celebrate Black beauty, pride, and raised fists in a work depicting Nina Simone as an ethereal afrofuturist warrior, serving up Black joy through the power of song.

"To Be Young, Gifted and Black” was originally created to uplift young Black children all over the world and carries merit with older audiences as an anthem for activism, stemming from the time of the Civil Rights Movement to now.

The exhibition will include even more international influences as Netherlands data scientist and AI artist, Ahnjili, explores the human mind and the machine with algorithms to create modular, additive art systems that decay over the course of a day.

This Machine Is Black will be taking place from August 13-30 at LCB Depot.

Tickets cost £3, or are free to certain groups.


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