New exhibition at FACT invites you to feel the future and imagine a world without division

New exhibition at FACT invites you to feel the future and imagine a world without division

by Culture Liverpool

Opening at FACT on 1 November, you feel me_ invites visitors to an alternative world: a mystical space free from division and bias and a sanctuary for healing. From 360° virtual reality experiences to a neon-lit restaurant orbiting in space, the exhibition brings together multisensory artworks which disrupt systems of power.

We experience power every day. It rules our actions, opinions and responses to the world through systems like education, politics and technology. But who holds this power and who really benefits from it? you feel me_ seeks to challenge the systems we live with, and asks how we can work together to repair, rebuild and restore justice to groups affected by bias. The exhibition aims to allow for other voices to break down the old, and create new, ultimately different worlds.

Presented by FACT Curator-in-Residence Helen Starr, you feel me_ will transform FACT’s galleries into alternative worlds. Interactive artworks will suspend in air, float in a hazy mist and explode onto walls. The immersive exhibition includes artworks across disciplines including ceramics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, video and game design. Exhibiting artists are Rebecca Allen, Megan Broadmeadow, Anna Bunting-Branch, Phoebe Collings-James, Brandon Covington Sam-Sumana,  Aliyah Hussain and Salma Noor.

you feel me_ has been developed by Helen Starr, Curator-in-Residence at FACT – an opportunity made possible with support from Art Fund. Helen said:  “It has been a privilege to be a resident here, in multicultural Liverpool – I am much changed from the experience. The team at FACT have taken a group of interwoven ideas and developed them into a beautifully ordered exhibition. The exhibition is dedicated to my Mother; a Carib woman, for teaching me to trust my feelings, tropical rainforests and turquoise seas.”

Nicola Triscott, Director/CEO at FACT, said:Curator Helen Starr has brought together an extraordinary group of artists to explore how prejudice is perpetuated in the systems that underpin society. The exhibition features an array of dazzling artworks, which suggest connections between societally engrained systems of power and the built-in biases of video games, artificial life and VR, and consider how we might move towards a place of healing.”

you feel me_ will comprise of a number of new commissions and existing artworks. These include Warm Worlds and Otherwise (2018) by Anna Bunting-Branch, which engages painting, digital animation and virtual reality to explore ideas of worldbuilding. Central to the project is META. This experimental animation uses digital technology to transport viewers between environments including unknown planets and a restaurant orbiting in space, transforming hand-painted characters, props and backdrops into an immersive virtual storyworld.

Amongst other works, Phoebe Collings-James will exhibit okokok (2013-2019); a collection of plaster sculptures which evoke the image of hoods, at the same time spectre and mask. The title suggests the exhaustion of a community and the battle against a colonial project that exists – although in a relatively fragile ruin – with a power that is ever raging.

Why can’t we do this IRL? (2019) by Megan Broadmeadow is a virtual reality experience created in collaboration with an intergenerational group of participants, who will be working on the project up until December. Based on video game Red Dead Redemption 2, the artwork will challenge a viral video from the game in which a player uses his in-game avatar to kill a suffragette. Blending the boundaries between the game world and the ‘real’ world, the work exists as an act of justice. The video game character is placed on trial to be judged ‘in real life’, with the ‘verdict’ set for December when the artwork will be installed in FACT’s galleries in its final form.

Throughout the exhibition’s run, visitors are invited to dive deeper into the alternative worlds of you feel me_ in FACT’s series of exhibition related events. Highlights include a cult film season featuring classics Barbarella and Belladonna of Sadness, an artist-led tour with ROOT-ed Zine and a series of video game-based adventures through our galleries with performer and gamer Conway McDermott.

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