Running until Fri 16 Dec, part two of the Modal Gallery‘s inaugural exhibition Slip.Stream.Slip offers a captivating examination of gaming culture and the global shift towards ‘gamification’ as a means of processing our lived realities. Free to visit, the exhibition features a range of multidisciplinary artists whose uniquely pioneering works explore the tensions which arise when ‘the micro politics of everyday living meet complex, simulated worlds.’

Aiming to ‘deconstruct the idiomatic meaning of TV’s structural codes and conventions’, such as the intercut and reverse shot, Dana Birnbaum appropriates conventional television genres in a frenetic pastiche of commercial channel broadcasts from 1980. In Pop Pop Video [Kojak/Wang], Birnbaum splices images from Kojak, an advert for Wang TV and color bars to starkly equate the direct, pulpy brutality of the crime drama shootout with the passive violence of corporate America.

Funded by and Creative Scotland, Joseph Delappe’s interactive Killbox: A Game About Drone Warfare soberly emulates the experience of conducting a modern drone strike. The project explores the depiction and virtual experience of violence, and how processes of play might function as an empathetic experience of remote conflict, challenging players both cerebrally and viscerally to consider the nuances and consequences of drone warfare, as well as the growing callousness of combat set against a welcoming, peaceful and pastoral landscape.

Using AI GAN systems and video reenactment programmes to create ‘a set of modern chimaeras’, Mishka Henner’s Influenzer perverts modern technology to explore the toxic capabilities of social media algorithms, corrupting the human soul as a kind of virus – ‘Influenzer’. Employing technology originally developed to reanimate old photographs, Henner turns the programme back in on itself to produce infinitely distorted features, representative of the loss of personal identity amongst the inanity of performative online presence.

Described as a ‘bachelor rite’, Pierre Huyghe’s Human Mask speculates on the nature of contemporary labour, its stifling inhumanity and its technological successors. Set in the fallout of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, a solitary monkey wearing the mask of a young woman oscillates endlessly between executing its trained gestures and complete inertia, ‘left between instruction and instinct’, while a programmed drone scans the landscape nearby.

In Trevor Paglan’s set of dye sublimation prints, Cloud #211 Region Adjacency Graph, the original works are overlaid with algorithmic lines and strokes to show what computer vision software ‘sees’ and attempts to simplify in the images. Using different algorithms designed to search for different things – faces, circles, areas of interest – Cloud #211 offers a fascinating insight into the technology used in self-guided missiles, self-driving cars, facial recognition systems and more.

With ultra-high definition footage of Cornwall’s tempestuous seas as a dataset, Quayola’s Storms generate new digital paintings in an extension of the artist’s research on the tradition of landscape painting, exploring its substance through advanced technologies. An expeditionary collaboration between human and machine, the works ‘paint themselves over the flow of dilated time, pictorial forms that untangle on the canvas/screen crumbling towards abstraction.’

Based on interviews and research into the role of creative technology industries and present military scenarios, Hito Steyerl’s The Tower presents a ‘three-channel video installation, environment and sound’ drawing largely on a conversation with Oleg Fonaryov, founder of the computer science company Program-Ace, based in Kharkiv – once a Cold War computer science hub. Steyerl’s video combines these renderings with her own 3D scans of Kharkhiv’s cityscapes, while focusing on one of Program-Ace’s projects, a zombie shooter video game set at the Tower of Babel.

For more information on Slip.Stream.Slip, head to the School of Digital Arts website.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Thu 13 Oct - Fri 16 Dec, 12pm-5pm, Modal Gallery,
SODA (School of Digital Arts),14 Higher Chatham St, Manchester M15 6ED
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 21 Nov 2022