Designingdialogue

Dialogue test: Black & White relations — 1

On November 19, 2015, I had a dialogue with Serana Angelista about New powerful relation between black and white.

Serana Angelista is a student Graphic Design at de Willem de Kooning Academy. On her portfolio website, she profiles herself as a “open minded” and “socially aware designer”. A major influence on her professional development is her “biracial background”.

Since her personal and professional development is so much involved with her biracial identity, I wanted to have a dialogue with Serana on ‘black and white’. Different than the dialogue with Jacco van Sterkenburg, her search is focussing in her identity and not on the mechanism of racial relation (i.e. ‘institutional discrimination’ or ‘affirmative action’).

The model for dialogue moved away from the initial design, in order to comply with her quest for self-identification. It only provide a grid and an organization of the database. The organization was based on the following classification:

In the Netherlands: Black, Black stereotype, white, white stereotype, racism, discrimination, heritage, black-whit-relation & affirmative action

Outside the Netherlands: Black, Black stereotype, white, white stereotype, racism, protest, progress, inclusion & exclusion.

The dialogue was primarily a internal dialogue between Serana and the model. With the quote of Sylvia Witteman —“giving someone a job based on her skin color is racist, no matter how you look at it”— as a provocation and definition of a idealism of ‘Post—’ the dialogue became a debate on identifying a personal concept of ‘being black’ from a ‘Post—’ desire. Serana showed her ambiguous relation to stereotypical images: as negative symbols of oppression and racism as well as positive symbols that can be used for self-identification. The dialogue also concluded that this dichotomous debate on racial identity does not open up to the full-potential of a cultural identification. In conclusion, when ‘being black’ is viewed as an “imposed uncertainty”, then institutions (e.g. media, education or heritage) should have a more extensive and in-depth display of a ‘black perspective’.