Exploring Imagined Realities

This Thursday, 12 November at 3pm GMT, we’ll be going live with the 4th and final Twitch stream supporting La Turbo Avedon’s Virtual Factory creation, Your Progress Will Be Saved.

Show & Tell: Imagined Realities is a free online discussion between artists, designers and video-game developers to talk about playable experiences which blur IRL (in real life) and URL experiences, the creation of digital characters and the development of more inclusive community driven spaces online. You’ll also have a chance to put your own questions to the panel.

Hosted by writer and narrative designer Leigh Alexander, the first half of the stream will feature game developer Paolo Pedercini and Kareem Ettouney, creative director of Media Molecule. Paolo leads game studio Molleindustria, creators of the LikeLike virtual arcade, and his research looks at how games can be used to better inform city design and place making. Media Molecule are the creators of Dreams, the PlayStation 4 creative multi-tool that’s grown a really talented community of hobbyist game developers and interactive artists.

We’ll also hear from LaTurbo Avedon in a pre-recorded interlude, looking at the collapse of IRL experiences and what that means for the ‘metaverse’.

LaTurbo describes Your Progress Will Be Saved as a “navigable poem – a way for my writing, sculpture, installation, and performance to all come together in cyberspace. Video gaming has made this possible, never underestimate what we can learn and create with technology!

Artist Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley works with 3D tools and game engines in an attempt to archive the Black Trans experience, and will be joining us for the second half of the stream along with Pete Billington of Fable Studios. Best known for Wolves in the Walls, Fable specialise in ‘virtual beings’; digital characters that are driven by AI (artificial intelligence) to interact with you across social media and even video calls.

This free online discussion is the latest in a number of special events inspired by avatar artist LaTurbo Avedon’s Virtual Factory project, Your Progress Will be Saved – a digital intervention which takes place inside a reimagining of The Factory, built on an island within the global gaming platform Fortnite Creative.

Since launching on 1 July, over one million people have already visited Virtual Factory, the new digital manifestation of The Factory, the landmark cultural space currently under construction in Manchester, which will be MIF’s year-round home.

Subsequent Virtual Factory commissions will be released over the next year, including a new project by the British-Nigerian artist and director Jenn Nkiru, whose global reputation was cemented by her work on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Apeshit video; the New York City based game developer and professor of video games, Robert Yang, whose work often focuses on gay men, intimacy and queer spaces; and the British artist Tai Shani, whose work encompasses performance, film, photography and sculptural installations and was one of the joint winners of the Turner Prize 2019.

Virtual Factory is the latest in the ongoing series of pre-Factory commissions and events being staged in the lead up to The Factory opening, which offer audiences the chance to experience the breadth of work that will be presented there.

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