Andrew Earl is a designer, engineer, artist and researcher from Cape Town. For Earl, the synthesis of complex ideas into tangible forms, whether written, tactile or spatial is what he enjoys the most. It is in the early exploration of this synthesis, through varied manifestations and prototypes that he feels most creative.
His work consists of installation pieces and products that create unique and interactive experiences. The designer's design and engineering projects blend spatial analysis, urban design and human-computer interaction. They are centred around transport engineering and economics, mechanical and mechatronics design, and human-centred, experimental product design approaches.
Earl's work always aims to be critical, reflective and appropriate to its context. In particular, he hopes to provoke new ways of experiencing urban life and to help disrupt post-colonial power imbalances through technology.
In 2017 Earl embarked on his my MA and MSc studies at the Imperial College London and the Royal College of Arts (RCA) Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) programme. He left UCT in the midst of the #feesmustfall protests and found the RCA and London to be an effective place to begin critically exploring how he was to locate himself as a creative within a post-colonial/decolonised context.
Some of his work includes a chair titled 'Violence', which explores his family's experiences with violence and sexual violence, 'PlaceHolders', which is a 'smart' string of beads and sculpture work for the Afrikaburn festival.
His most celebrated work is titled the 'Honorable Speaker'. It synthesises decolonisation theory through creating forms that discuss issues of transculturation. It's a strong provocation, as well as critique of current trends in technology. In particular, it discusses natural language processing and algorithmic biases and how often these can homogenise groups of people's ability to express themselves and, most importantly, stymie the chance that that expression is heard.