Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow
Design Histories between Africa and Europe
As a teenager, I spent my time wondering why in sci-fi movies, every landscape, every object I could see was Western or Asian based. I've finally understood that somewhere our legacy had been locked in the past, that we couldn't be "futuristic" in the eyes of our fellow Europeans. We have to look behind our shoulders, get back to our traditions, seize the best of them and shape a future with it. This without forgetting we are part of the world, totally, unquestionably. The future is for me not only a matter of dialogue with the past, but and beyond everything a dialogue with the rest of the planet.
How is it possible to adequately capture histories of design in Africa, a continent with fifty-four countries? How can one avoid producing just another essentialising master narrative of "African Design"? How can one make sense of the many entangled yet often asymmetric and sometimes ambivalent histories of form-finding processes between Africa and Europe? In keeping with the premises of a global art and design history approach, the book offers a change of perspective: focusing on the mobility of people, objects and ideas – on flows between Africa and Europe as well as on a South-South axis – allows for multiple yet necessarily fragmented design histories to be identified and recognised. The contributors trace multi-faceted design case studies from a historical perspective, with attention to the present as well as towards possible futures.