Potentially, what the pandemic can serve as, is a portal between two worlds; the old and the new; what isn’t working and what is, so what we must now ask ourselves is: how are we going to walk through it? Are we really dying, or is this an opportunity to be reborn anew, reawakened, restored to wholeness? What ‘Apotheosis’ can offer is a way to navigate through the portal, acknowledging the journey that brought us to this juncture in time and letting go of what no longer serves, making room for the new and improved, building a new paradigm that is totally supportive.
The Pluralist is the new iteration of the Royal College of Art’s, Students’ Union-run Newsheet-newsletter. “Pluralism is the view that there is no one correct logic, or alternatively, that there is more than one correct logic”. In this current form, issues have addressed the dual thematics of ‘self & other’, ‘openings & closings’, and ‘real & fake’, exploring paired concepts which have some tension within them.
The Research Biennale 2021 (22 February – 1 March 2021) is a showcase of student research at the RCA. This brings together for the first time PhD, MPhil and MRes students from across the College, highlighting the urgency, vitality and ambition of research across art, design and architecture.
The Biennale platform takes the work beyond its final outcomes, to consider the processes, methods and contexts for this array of research. What you will encounter will include finished works/outputs, text pieces, written texts, workshops and provisional thinking. This is one of the largest concentrations of art and design research students within a university setting.
You can navigate the platform using the keyword picker, by name and by discipline, allowing different routes through this rich and powerful work.
Across the week there are a number of opportunities to meet with the students and research graduates from the RCA as well as other events and activities; please visit the Events page for details. Come and join us for these and find out more.
The RCA hosts an extraordinary community of nearly 300 research students, undertaking research projects across the expanded fields of Art, Design, Architecture, Humanities and the Applied Arts. They are supported by a team of at least 240 academic staff, an amazingly ambitious technical team, a team of scholarly publication support in the library and an IT team keeping us all connected and working both in on- and offline modes and many more.
The students featured here are a special cohort of researchers, having navigated their way through the current global pandemic; we are proud to present them to you here and hope that you enjoy exploring their work as much as we do working with them to realise their research ambitions.
The world of art and design research is full of potential for changing the world and more.
Athenaeum: The Library Re-imagined
Join us for the launch of Athenaeum: The Library Re-imagined, a collaborative publication created by the RCA MRes Communication Design Pathway.
Working in dialogue with RCA library staff, the group set out to rethink the idea of the library during the pandemic era – as a site not only for encountering and categorising certain kinds of knowledge, but also a space (virtual or not) for dialogue and community.
Athenaeum – The Library Reimagined, represents an outer-voice and each entry in Apotheosis represents an inner-voice. The inner-voice symbolises connecting with inner-tacit wisdom and hidden-knowledge through the self-archival process of documenting both fictional and non-fictional memories, thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Through the act of sharing and disseminating, the internal then becomes the external. Apotheosis is an epistolary novel formed of diary entries in poem format symbolising a ‘library of the self’, which when presented as part of the RCA group project, becomes a ‘library within a library’.
“Athenaeum: The Library Re-imagined, is a collaborative publication created by the MRes Communication Design Pathway at the Royal College of Art, and is part of their Research Biennale 2021. It addresses overarching questions emerging from the global pandemic. Working in dialogue with RCA library staff members Angie Applegate and Tom Cridford, students on the Pathway experimented with imaginative approaches to what the ‘expanded library’ of the pandemic era might be, and what approaches, skills and forms of imagination communication design can offer. How does the definition of the library change when we move beyond its physical walls (or does it)? How might we design more equitable, sustainable, imaginative systems for creating and facilitating the sharing and creation of knowledge?
Within this publication, it is not only the library as conventionally construed – shelves of books housed within four walls – that has been subject to reimagination by the Communication Design Pathway. The contributions in Athenaeum reflect on the act of reading, for instance, what constitutes a safe space, and what it would mean for books to ‘perform’ using 3D typography. They pilot new modes of thinking about what the library could feel like and sound like, what new opportunities for community building might emerge if we searched for books via memes rather than the Dewey Decimal System, if we encountered library collections serendipitously while walking outdoors, what a library of emotions and experiences might look like, and much more.
The word ‘athenaeum’ has been lent to many types of institutions with the collection, generation, and sharing of knowledge at their foundation, including libraries. The ancient Roman Athenaeum, however, was a school. This merging of library/school is at the centre of the Communication Design students’ publication. Together, the chapters in Athenaeum act as a kind of ‘how to’, not in the sense of a definitive set of steps for achieving a single defined outcome, but as a set of shimmering possibilities, guiding us toward someplace new.” – Emily Candela, pathway leader
Potentially, the pandemic can serve as a portal between two worlds and what we must now ask ourselves is: how are we going to walk through it? Are we really dying, or is this an opportunity to be reborn? What ‘Apotheosis’ can offer is a way through the portal towards a new paradigm that is totally supportive.
Apotheosis is an epistolary novel in verse, consisting of 65 key-frame texts unfolding from 1988 to present day. Or depending upon how you wish to read the book, one can start in the 2020’s and go back-in-time to the innocence of 1988. Or then again one may simply wish to hold the book in one’s hands and flick to see which page falls open.
In this interview with ‘Exceptional Individuals’ I talk about graduating from a Master of Arts degree at the University of the Arts London, some of the ideas behind my art and the challenges of overcoming Dyslexia.
Unfortunately the MA Book Arts Course at UAL: Camberwell College of Arts (which ran for thirty years) is now closed as of July 2020. However, if you would like to see the course reinstated at UAL in the near future do please sign the petition >>HERE<<
‘Exceptional Individuals’ specifically work with neurodivergent people and support neurodiversity awareness. For more information please visit: https://exceptionalindividuals.com/
If you are interested to find out more about what constitutes dyslexia there is a book called: The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can’t Read and How They Can Learn(Revised and Expanded), by Ronald D. Davis with Eldon M.Braun. Published by Perigee Books 2010. Book Finder:ISBN: 978-0399535666
First published in 1994, Ronald Davis theorises that dyslexic individuals do not think in words and are picture thinkers. I would go a step further and postulate that it is a kinetic combination of absorbing and processing information that results in visual tapestry or collage of information to which the individual will keep updating and adding to for the rest of their lives. This often gives a Dyslexic an overview of the bigger picture and how certain elements mesh together.
For example did you know that Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Auguste Rodin, Cher, David Bailey, Erin Brockovich, Jennifer Aniston, Leonardo da Vinci, Jim Carrey, John Lennon, Keanu Reeves, Kiera Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Curie, Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Edison, are also dyslexic achievers?
Why I think Art is important in society today and why everyone should go to Art School:
Holiness of the Heart: A Concrete Poetry Art Installation and Artist’s book featuring my ‘Holiness of the Heart’ poem printed upon the feathers of the wings, one wing in English and the other wing in Spanish, which I photographed and printed up large 2.2 m x 1.5 m utilising the room as book, with the walls as pages and the corner as the spine or fold, exploring: The Viewer as Performer / Reading the Gallery Space like a Book / Leading the viewer through the space / The importance of language and translation / The concept of unity – ‘We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another’ – Luciano De Crescenzo / and the concept of spiritual integrity- ‘I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination–what the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth’ – John Keats. In this piece each viewer becomes an Angel on Earth.
Rafael MC and Cat
How it began:
What I have produed:
My aims and goals:
The viewer experiences and engages with the piece by wearing a viewing device, (3D-Spex) to read the affirmations which are designed to create new neurological pathways in the brain that are totally supportive. The prints are available as an Artist’s Book from the Book Art Bookshop in Pitfield St., Shoreditch with a free pair of 3D specs.
Sequence: An Artist’s Book inspired by my mother who has Dementia on the subject of memory, self-identity and intergenerational change, reframing the past to serve in the present, through the materiality of the Artist’s Book and analogue photographs. It is also about the processes of looking. The Summer Show exhibit was accompanied by a series of framed prints which featured only the backs of the analogue photographs, as unique objects in time and space in their own right, which have their own story to tell.
A hardback copy of this book is part of the special collection of Artist’s Books at The British Library, and a saddle-stitched copy of ‘Sequence’ is part of the special collection of Artist’s Books at The Wellcome Library, The Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths University, London, and The Tetley’s special collection of Artist’s Books in Leeds.
The hardback version will be on display as part of the MA Select Show at the Camberwell Space Gallery, 45- 65 Peckham Road, London, SE5-8UF until 23rd August.
Grateful thanks to everyone who came to the show and engaged with the bookworks.
I am pleased to announce that The British Library‘s special collection of Artist’s Books has recently acquired a hardback lay flat first edition limited print run of my Artist’s Book: ‘Sequence’. This is now the fourth special collection that has acquired ‘Sequence’.
You can see ‘Sequence’ at the MA SELECT SHOW at The Camberwell Space Gallery, Camberwell College of Arts, 45 – 65 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UF, from 11th July – 23rd August 2019.
Delighted to present a talk on the subject of Arts & Wellbeing Practice at the Maker’s Fair held in the DIY Space for London, Sunday 12th May.
There will also be a zine making workshop presented by Lu Williams, a ‘Being an entrepreneur Artist and Maker in London’ talk by Tere Chad, plus makers stalls selling zines, illustrations, prints, ceramics, jewellery, and more.
The DIY Space For London is a cooperatively-run social centre located in South London, just off Old Kent Road, who offer low cost creative facilities, meeting rooms and social spaces, as well as space for screenings, talks and performances. DIY for London operates via a members’ club model so that everyone has an equal say in how the place is run. The space works to promote the ideas of mutual aid (helping each other) and cooperation (working together). Providing a welcoming space for everyone, including those whose voices and contributions are not always heard or appreciated.