V&A East x A Vibe Called Tech



December 13, 2021

Over the last three months, A Vibe Called Tech joined with V&A East as a part of a new creative residency supported by Google Arts & Culture with the aim of exploring what young audiences want to see on V&A East social media channels. A Vibe Called Tech is a creative agency which explores the intersection of black creativity, technology, culture, and innovation.

Together we collaborated with a group of young creatives based in East London on a series of digital workshops to create a series of content experiments that will inform V&A East’s evolving creative programme. Through discussions and making, we created a series of social experiments to uncover what types of content younger audiences are interested in, what formats these should take, and where they should live online.

We divided the three months of the residency into an exploration of five different mediums; creative writing, film, photography, creative technology and broadcasting. For each of these mediums, we invited an external host that specialises within that creative practice to host a workshop for the group, where they showcased their work and professional practice, and also passed on skills to the group that would also benefit them in their burgeoning creative careers. A large focus of the residency was for the group and all who were involved to participate in a collective sharing of experience, knowledge, skills, insight and opinions which could inform them individually, ourselves (A Vibe Called Tech) and V&A.

Creative Writing

The first workshop on creative writing was hosted by Kate Wong, a Chinese-Canadian writer and curator based in London whose practice explores how writing can be used and showcased on alternative digital platforms. Within the session we explored how creative writing can be used as a method of accessibility through alt-texts, defined as “a short written description of an image, which makes sense of that image when it can’t be viewed for some reason”. The group activity was to write their own alt-text which we then analysed to understand the different perspectives that can be taken with a piece of writing. Examples of the groups texts are below.

Nabiha Qadir

A community garden designed by creatives, organised by design collective Play Nice. Located in the heart of the square mile in the shadow of St Paul’s cathedral.
@nabarchitecture | www.nabihaqadir.com 

Ruqaiya Asim

This image depicts a set of shoe prints walking, with a line arcing through each footprint. The shapes in the image are quite organic and curved. The footsteps and the sweeps of the cane are quite prominent, as they are a bold black on a light coloured background. The ink used in this piece of work did not create solid blocks of colour or line, it has a dappling effect. This makes the work seem slightly fuzzy and have a softer focus. The image is simplistic as it has a blank backdrop and the only subject matter is the footsteps and arcs.
@ruqaiya.art 

Mohammed Noor

Graphic illustration, illustrating icons vibing in a sit down party who have left a lasting impact on this world, from music, film and sports. The top left going down is Kobe Bryant standing, smiling in the 3P LA Lakers leather jacket. Chadwick Boseman laughing as Black Panther and Aaliyah in the hot pink laughing with glasses. DMX holding a balloon, sorting a white tee and a silver chain, with a light chuckle. Nipsey Hussle with his back turned, conversating with 2pac, supporting the crip blue. On the far right of the table, TuPac Shakur wearing the Icon poetic justice outfit with a party hat and Hennessee.

Faizah Hussain

On a brown table sits two slices of pepperoni pizza, where one is sitting with life and the life of the other, is being taken away.

Film

The second medium that the group explored was film hosted by JulianKnxx. Julian is an interdisciplinary poet, visual artist and filmmaker whose practice crosses the boundaries of written work, music and visual art. Within the session, Julian spoke about the personal stories and narratives that have influenced his visual moving images, as well as the importance of spoken word and poetry, two prominent modes of storytelling that he uses within his work. These conversations then developed into a brief set by Julian and explored by the group, which asked them to create a 20+ second film that encompasses a unique story or narrative for themselves. Examples of the groups responses are below.

Nabiha Qadir

I love my sneakers and in this film, I explore a piece of clothing I switch everyday, and I wanted to explore the nature of this quick interchangeability with a ‘film’ I made on TikTok, a platform that allows you to sync sounds to clips. Using a sound with a quick beat let me show all the colourways that exist in my small collection.

Watch the video on YouTube

Lukas Rackauskas

Following a journey through East London, Lukas Rackauskas’s video piece shows a fast-cut journey through the city of London, as he makes his way to an unidentified location. Whilst the protagonist, the artist himself, is facially absent throughout the piece, we are able to identify him through his movement and action, from the tying of a shoelace to the tapping of an oyster card. Using playful motion and imagery, as well as sounds of the city- Lukas takes the audience on a journey through his eyes and camera in a city that seemingly never stops.

Watch the video on YouTube

Ruqaiya Asim – The Infinite Blue of Confusion

In this piece of film by the visually impaired artist Ruqaiya Asim, she demonstrates the confusion and fascination of colour. As she is visually impaired Ruqaiya struggles with seeing colour, however she has a deep interest in learning about it.

Ruqaiya is aware that several shades of each colour exist, however for this piece of art she focused on the colour blue. Ruqaiya finds the idea of blue extremely captivating, as there are shades such as baby blue, periwinkle, ocean blue, sky blue and plenty more. Ruqaiya scribbles multiple shades of blue into an abstract shape. She did this by digitally drawing the image. After the shape is completed showing all the blue, she dots on braille to quote something. After the braille it fades to printed text saying “Blue is complicated it reminds me of a flickering candle flame”. This is so she can convey her confusion of colour, however at the same time acknowledging it is calm and relating it to the sense of a flickering candle flame. As a visually impaired artist she does not need to relate colour with an object or a memory with the same hue, instead she enjoys matching colours to memories and emotions.

Watch the video on YouTube

Photography

The next medium explored with the group was photography, hosted by Jason Bell, a British portrait photographer whose work spans across editorial, commercial, and personal archival practice. Jason has photographed a series of celebrities, with his work appearing in many of the world’s foremost publications including Vanity Fair and Vogue US & UK. The session explored Jason’s previous work, with a focus on his use of casual conversations with his subjects, used to create a feeling of comfort when being photographed. The group were asked to create a Photographic Triptych – a work of art that is divided into three sections. Jason then asked the group to take a series of three portraits, which capture a story, essence, feeling or emotion of the person/s being photographed. The photographic work of the group is displayed below.

Nabiha Qadir

Deconstructing European Philosophies
The text in the background reads ‘Deconstructing European Philosophies’ and the embodiment of this exists in the craft we do. I wanted to capture this affirmation in the subject’s emotion, placing the subject in front of the text to show its importance in the way we must progress as POC’s in the creative industry.

© Nabiha Qadir

Pathetic Fallacy
On this day it was a cold, rainy day, which meant it was the perfect opportunity to capture a duller emotion. I tried to capture a raindrop, which you can slightly see falling in front of the subject’s neck.

© Nabiha Qadir

Chai Reclamation
Tea, or chai, has been colonised for years and it’s origin in Asia is often overshadowed by the British. Tea leaves were of course stolen by the British to create a tea industry in India. Whilst tea is certainly universal now, it’s time we reclaim its origins and celebrate it’s Asian heritage.

© Nabiha Qadir

 Mohammed Noor

Mohammed Noor’s photographic work documents the everyday encounters of daily life. Using his camera to collect snapshots of communities and individuals across his local area of East London, Mohammed’s intimate portraits echo his personal relationship with his subjects, many of whom were strangers to him before his photographic encounter. Looking at subject matters such as faith and the recent global pandemic, Mohammed’s series echoes his interest in documenting relationships between himself and his subject, and between his lens and his environment.

© Mohammed Noor
© Mohammed Noor
© Mohammed Noor

Iranga Iguette Tcheko

Lost

Lost is a collection of photographs aimed at capturing loss, kinship and community. From the everyday mundane losses to the loss of country, loss of language, loss of connections to people, places and times, this photography collection uncovers the gravity, beauty and discovery that can arise from loss and the regathering that occurs in  the aftermath. Whether you are lost in a city or at a loss, these images serve to remind us that someone is always there to guide you if you’re brave enough to enquire.

© Iranga Iguette Tcheko

Creative technology

The next medium explored was creative technology, in association with Google Arts & Culture, an online platform of high-resolution images and videos of artworks and cultural artifacts from partner cultural organisations. This session gave an introduction and overview of the work being created within the Google Arts & Culture team, presenting a range of projects which explored various ways to interact with Arts and Culture online. The session featured five invited members of the Google Arts & Culture team who each showcased their area of expertise, and showcased various GAAC projects from Music, Makers & Machines to Street Galleries.

 

Broadcasting

The final medium that the group were able to explore was broadcasting. The workshop was hosted by NTS producer Josh Farmer where he mentored the group on radio and sound, and different ways to compile audio. NTS is an East London founded and based internet radio station, broadcasting live from London, Manchester, Los Angeles and beyond. This session paid homage to the musical cultures and traditions of East London, and invited the group to select and create pieces of audio which they felt reflected their local areas. Using music, voice recordings and field recordings, the session explored different ways to mix, edit and create audio using online software, to create a collectively curated audio show.

Listen on SoundCloud

Friday Late

For the final stage of the residency, we wanted the participants to create content that related to something pre-existing at the V&A. We chose to focus on the V&A Friday Lates. The Friday Late which we focussed on was the collaborative takeover by POC and Non-Binary POC publication and media platform, Gal-Dem. In line with the Friday Late event which took place in October 2021, the final brief for the group was themed around Gal-Dem’s autumn issue of rebuilding and remaking, with a specific focus on craft. The group were asked to create a piece of content related to the theme of the event, and representing the celebration of culture and seeking of new experiences whilst also being clear that it’s advertising this specific event. As a group, they decided to explore and create a piece of content each surrounding the themes of craft within their individual cultures, creating a multimedia output, which explored- ‘the cultural transmission of craft through generations and diaspora’. Each taking a different approach, the group created a series of different pieces of content from photography to audio pieces. Responses to the brief are below.

Nabiha Qadir

Food is a dear thing to multiple cultures, and the way in which second generation immigrants in Western countries revive traditional dishes is shown in this photo response. As a British-Pakistani, one thing my parents and grandparents always ensured we maintained in our upbringing was food. Having been taught how to cook by my mother and grandmother, I’ve been able to appreciate the craft, intricacy, steps and care that goes into each dish. With every spice, onion, seed, comes a vital step in the transformation of ingredients to a meal that forever retains history, ritual and memory.

© Nabiha Qadir

Ruqaiya Asim

Discovering the Lost Art of Culture & Crafts 

Ruqaiya Asim is the creator of this audio interview, rediscovering her culture and crafts from Pakistan. Ruqaiya is a visually impaired artist currently studying at University for the Creative Arts. Ruqaiya moved to England when she was born in Pakistan, however around two years old she moved to England. Unfortunately, growing up in London, Ruqaiya lost a lot of her cultural knowledge and understanding of the traditional craft of her home country. 

In this interview Ruqaiya’s mum Asma Aasim, talks through the different crafts she grew up with in Pakistan and answers several questions about culture. This helps Ruqaiya immensely with understanding her hometown, her routes and traditional craft. 

 Listen on SoundCloud

Iranga Iguette Tcheko

Over the last three months, as a collective and an agency, we were able to share and learn in a way unique to a digital space, learning from creative practitioners around the world, each with their own personal way of telling a story. 

Our residency with V&A East highlighted the importance of digital content and social media platforms as spaces for young people to create, share and publicise their works beyond presumed museum dynamics and structures. We sought to create a space where the group could present their feelings towards their local area, their individual cultures, and the diversity of the surrounding neighbourhoods where V&A East is set live.

Screenshot of group session. September 2021.
0 comments so far, view or add yours

Add a comment

Please read our privacy policy to understand what we do with your data.

MEMBERSHIP

Join today and enjoy unlimited free entry to all V&A exhibitions, Members-only previews and more

Find out more

SHOP

Explore our range of exclusive jewellery, books, gifts and more. Every purchase supports the V&A.

Find out more