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Contemporary Art Practice (MA)

Rahul Rahanu

As a 22-year-old postgraduate student studying for an MA Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art, this emerging artist has cultivated a solid foundation in the field and now aspires to delve deeper into the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of his practice. His personal experiences and cultural background have played a profound role in shaping his artistic journey. Growing up in a Punjabi, lowly caste, working-class family, in Hayes, West London, as a second-generation British Indian, he has grappled with the complexities of navigating multiple identities. Fuelled by empathy, which has ignited a strong desire to explore the experiences of immigrants to the UK, he has observed and reacted to their experiences of identity, alienation, rootlessness, brutality, compromise, and conformity through his artwork. Using sculpture, portraiture, and photography, his works strive to challenge perspectives and blur boundaries, offering his own perspective on the world.

Inspired by Nicholas Schöffer's CYSPP1, this artist presents three sculpture boxes incorporating computer motherboards.

Inspired by Nicholas Schöffer's CYSPP1, this work has at the very core three Perspex boxes, each encasing computer mother boards and Pencil on paper portraits. Two of the these portraits are of renowned poets: Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate in Literature who throughout his life traversed two worlds (India's mystical, divine values and the spirit of the West); and Benjamin Zephaniah, whose work is infused with his personal experiences of anti-Black racism in Britain. The third box presents self portraits completed by members of the public that attended a workshop at the Tate Modern.

The three boxes are linked to a screen, which flashes three respective sets of random words. Yet upon closer inspection and analysis of these arbitrary words the viewer can identify patterns including a quote from the mathematician Theodore Motzkin, which is found in all three, suggesting that all poetry (art) regardless of its political, social, cultural differences has at its very core a common universal thread.

Is all poetry based upon seemingly random words, where the reader is programmed to look for embedded patterns, in order for the poem to have meaning and personal resonance?

The artwork explores the very nature of art (poetry and the written word). Are the process of conception and production of a poem a mere computational exercise? We acknowledge that a programmed digital computer, AI application, can produce a poem and appear to understand language but vehemently argue that it can not have real understanding.

We are at the cusp, where from physiological and psychological perspectives we will be able to formally, and comprehensively, model what is human consciousness and intentionality. And once we have this it may well reveal to us that humans are nothing more than elaborate biological, mechanical artefacts.

Poetry: Literary Art Found in the Output of a Random Word Generator [Love,      Nature,      Death,      Identity,      Spirituality,      and Time], cable ties, metal, pencil on paper, plastic wires


cable ties, metal, pencil on paper, plastic wires


400mm x 310mm (each box)