A new exhibition of work by international artists exploring game engine cultures will mark the launch of Modal, a new digital gallery at the School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Manchester Metropolitan’s pioneering School of Digital Arts (SODA), a £35m investment into the next generation of creative content, offers industry-informed courses and state-of-the-art spaces equipped with the latest technologies. It provides a unique teaching and research environment supporting Manchester’s ambition to be a leading powerhouse of the UK’s digital economy.

Delivered in an innovative partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), SODA promises a revolution in how we conceive the future of storytelling. The school was formally launched by Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle at a special event last week.

It will also host Modal, a digital gallery that will showcase artists working at the forefront of digital technology. Its dynamic production centre includes a large LED façade, cinema and open plan gallery space, allowing the exhibiting of innovative work in traditional and emerging artforms.

Slip.Stream.Slip: Resistance and Velocity in Game Engine Culture
The first exhibition to be shown at Modal, Slip.Stream.Slip: Resistance and Velocity in Game Engine Culture (June 24-September 18), explores the concept of game engine culture and how our relationship to images, sounds, and interactivity has been transformed by technologies such as the Unity and Unreal engine software.

The exhibition features work by the nine prominent international artists Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Auriea Harvey, Cécile B. Evans, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Jenna Sutela, Joshua Citarella, Juan Cortés, Lu Yang, Rachel Maclean, and DIS.

The following works will be presented in collaboration with DIS; General Intellects with McKenzie Wark ‘E1: Paul Preciado’ (3:00) by DIS, Metamorphosis ‘E1 Grub Economics’ (15:00) by Queer Ecology, What Do People Do All Day ‘E1 Everyone is a Worker’ (6:00) by Simon Dyboe Moller, A Good Crisis (3:48) by DIS, The Restaurant ‘E1 The Average Chef’ (5:00) by Will Benedict and Stefan Jorgenson, and Slash ‘E1 I Don’t Know Her’ (3:00) by Leah Hennessey and Emily Allan.

Slip.Stream.Slip: Resistance and Velocity in Game Engine Culture focuses on game engine culture and the shift towards gamification as a model for understanding our lived experiences.

The game engine sits behind processes that go beyond creative production and into other industries such as healthcare and manufacturing, cementing its place as the central authoring tool of our time.

Through video installations, audiovisual works, multiplayer experiences and virtual reality videos, the exhibition “explores the tensions and contested spaces that open up when the micro politics of everyday living meet complex, simulated words”.

Highlights of the works on display include Cécile B. Evans’ video installation What the Heart Wants which “explores the person-to-machine exchanges that have come to define the contemporary human condition”.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s environmental multiplayer experience Liminal Lands is shared by four people at the same time which sees each person transform into the basic elements controlling life across the landscape.

Rachel Maclean’s virtual reality work I’m Terribly Sorry is set in a “dystopian British urban landscape filled with oversized Union Jack emblazoned tourist merchandise”. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s video installation The Wilding of Mars “simulates the growth of a planetary wilderness, seeded with Earth life forms”.

Valentino Catricalà, Curator of Modal at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Modal is a unique project, not only because this is a new gallery looking at the future, but because it aims to invent the future. Modal is the new exhibition space of SODA, a space that unites exhibiting with producing and educating. This is evident in the first exhibition based on one of the most contemporary topics, game engine culture.”

Professor Toby Heys, Head of SODA, said: “We’re delighted to be launching our new digital gallery Modal at the School of Digital Arts (SODA) with a fantastic exhibition on game engine cultures featuring work by international artists. SODA, a £35m investment into the next generation of creative content, supports Manchester’s ambition to become one of the world’s leading digital cities. We’re thrilled that SODA will host Modal and we’re looking forward to showcasing some fantastic artists who are working at the forefront of digital technology.”


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