Taking place from Thu 26 Oct to Wed 20 Dec, Manchester Met Uni’s Modal gallery hosts its profoundly intriguing new A/W exhibition, Web to Verse, an innovative artistic odyssey which aims to unpack the compelling idea that we and the digital art we produce now exist in a boundless, shifting, liminal ‘Verse’ space between the two-dimensional internet landscape and corporeal reality.

Featuring an array of captivating artworks across various media forms, Web to Verse showcases a group of internationally renowned artists who each bring a singular vision of human-machine relationships and our projected interdependent future.

Here are five fascinating pieces of art to catch at Web to Verse.

Duologue - Osinachi

Known internationally as Africa’s first crypto artist, Osinachi creates pieces which employ a unique aesthetic vernacular to echo his personal experiences, with a captivating portfolio of digital art that has amplified intriguing discourse regarding NFTs and their untapped creative potential.

In 2022, Osinachi curated Africa Here, an inclusivity initiative which featured the onboarding of more than seventy African-born artists on an NFT market place, with six creators going on to have their works exhibited at the SCOPE Art Show at Art Basel.

Using Baroque period-inspired dramatic composition, Duologue invites the beholder to reflect on the human form as a boundless canvas of artistic possibility, to be interpreted both as precisely and creatively as the artist wishes. The piece is inspired by the case of a school principal in Florida who was forced to resign after parents decried Michelangelo’s David as pornography.

duologue by osinachi


Selachimorpha - Joey Holder

Hailed as a rigorously philosophical visionary who interrogates universal mysteries of the present and future, Joey Holder works with scientific experts to develop immersive, arresting multimedia installations which explore human limitation, how we engage with non-natural and technological forms and the as-yet-unknown fate of tomorrow’s biology, medicine, science and human-machine interactions.

In Selachimorpha, Holder uses a particular scene from the 1975 film Jaws to look at the ways in which manipulated images are appropriated, repackaged circulated by Internet culture as ‘fact’, as expanding capacities for digital distortion influence our shared belief systems.

joey holder- selachimo

CU Soon - Nye Thompson

A former software and human-machine interface designer and winner of the 2021 Lumen Prize Gold Award, multi-disciplinary pioneer Nye Thompson showcases her art at Web to Verse at the height of an illustrious career, with previous exhibitions at The Barbican, The Lowry, Tate Modern and the V&A.

Specialising in everything from sculptural installation and film-making to archiving and experimental architectures, Thompson’s sprawling oeuvre has earned her comparisons to Jacques Cousteau (Bob & Roberta Smith) and Orwell’s Big Brother (Vogue), while her debut solo show in 2016 achieved viral fame after receiving an international government complaint and Channel 4 declared it ‘too shocking to broadcast’.

For her latest piece, based on her performance art CU Soon, digital façade of the the SODA building becomes a temporary antenna, sending digital postcards into orbit to communicate with satellites, which return them remade as relics of their epic journey, malformed by noise and glitches.

Illuminated in LED lights on the SODA façade, postcard images from the original performance interweave to playfully recreate the fleeting moment of connection between artist and satellite.

nye thompson cu soon

Critically Extant - Sofia Crespo

Operating at the nexus of biology and technology, Sofia Crespo focuses on the similarities between AI image creation techniques and the instincts of human creativity to explore the complex symbiotic relationship between organic life and artificial mechanisms, with particular emphasis on the ways in which the former utilises the latter to ‘simulate itself’ and precipitate evolution beyond natural capability, implying that technology is a biased instrument of organic life rather than a separate object.

On display at Web to Verse, Critically Extant uses open, publicly available data to explore the limits of accessible information as a method of engaging with critically endangered species, ultimately producing representations which reflect the true degree to which they appear in our daily digital lives.

sofia crespo critically extant

FARMING - Federica Di Pietrantonio

A graduate of Rome University of Fine Arts and winner of the 2020 Fondazione Cultura e Arte Emerging Prize, Federica Di Pietrantonio’s artistic research aims to map the unique, shifting relations and processes sown through virtual realities, video games and social media. Her work oscillates between the ‘perceived reality’ and ‘fictional quality’ of virtual platforms and devices, confronting the feeble, illusory security offered by modern technology in place of authentic self-actualisation.

Her latest work, FARMING, examines the lives of hikikomori, neet, and gold farmers, groups who choose to live in isolation, with a focus on the socioeconomic impact of their solitude. Shot entirely within Farming Simulator 22, the artwork blends a range of video, audio and written testimonies with pastoral visuals, ambient sounds and an AI voice-cloned narrator to transform the stories into the artists’ own.

web to verse at modal gallery

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Thu 26 Oct - Wed 20 Dec, Modal Gallery,
School of Digital Arts (SODA), 14 Higher Chatham Street, Manchester, M15 6ED
, Tel: (0)161 247 2000, FREE
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Tue 31 Oct 2023