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Parsons School of Design MFA Design and Technology program theses2015 ➔ The Rift: An Afronaut's Journey


Related people/organizations

Marko Tandefelt (thesis advisor)
Loretta Wolozin (thesis advisor)
John Sharp (thesis advisor)
Barbara Morris (thesis advisor)
Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde (designer)
Parsons the New School for Design. Design & Technology Dept. (sponsoring body)


May 13 2015


Designer's statement: The Rift: An Afronauts Journey is an Afrofuturist sci-fi time-space travel narrative and performance by Ayodamola Okunseinde. The speculative narrative follows the expeditions of Dr. Tanimowo, an Afronaut from the future, who travels back in time collecting archeo-biological artifacts in hopes of finding the reasons for the collapse of his culture. The Rift: An Afronauts Journey is a response to the persistent disenfranchisement of Africans and peoples of the African diaspora. The Rift recognizes the lack of representation of these peoples and their culture in current projections of the future. Additionally The Rift argues that the denial of this “future space†misrepresents Africa’s potential and denies the intrinsic human capacity of planning and organizing to its people. The deleterious effects of the above is an erosion of the humanity and agency of the subject cultures in the eyes of the dominant Western culture. Afronaut Tanimowo arrives in New York in 2015, he explores predominately African-American communities, such as Harlem, Fort Greene, and Bedford Stuyvesant, making anthropological studies and field reports in hopes of understanding his past. In so doing, Tanimowo displays a possible representation of the future for peoples of this current time-space. The Afronaut constructs his suit of african patterned fabric and other materials available to him in his current time-space. He designs, builds and utilizes 3 artifacts, a communication device, a food device, and a breathing device, that serve as functional apparatus which sustain him during his expeditions. Tanimowo’s wearable garment, a fusion between traditional African masquerade and futuristic space suit, embedded with sensors, actuators, and ceremonial fetishes, allows the Afronaut to transition between dimensions of time, space, and spirit.



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