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Alternate Realities exhibition explores deepfakes, augmented reality and contemporary storytelling
4 Feet Blind Date. Photo: Anna Vollenweider.

MANCHESTER.- A startling series of "deepfakes" featuring Freddie Mercury, Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian by Manchester artist Bill Posters is one of the artworks in Alternate Realities, a collection of non-fiction stories told through innovative technologies being showcased at HOME from Sat 9 Nov to Sun 17 Nov.

Posters – real name Barnaby Francis – collaborated with another artist, Dr Daniel Howe, to create Big Dada, a series of “cautionary tales” where real celebrities appear to be voicing their support for the shadowy big data organisation, Spectre.

The works were inserted into social media channels as a digital intervention in June 2019. This work went viral to the point that they caused social media giant to amend their policies regarding deepfake content shared on their platforms. Big Dada was created by the artists as part of a Sheffield Doc/Fest commission, also called Spectre.

Other stories told through virtual and augmented reality include University of Manchester graduate Rob Eagle’s installation Through The Wardrobe, which invites the audience to explore the belongings of others and play with gender expression, and Tamara Shogaolu’s Another Dream, which presents the gripping story of an Egyptian lesbian couple who, facing a post-revolution backlash against their community, must choose between love and home.

Visitors can also experience Maria Belen Poncio’s 360° Video 4 Feet: Blind Date, in which Juana, an 18-year-old woman in a wheelchair is anxious to explore her sexuality, and overcomes her fears, doubts, and an inaccessible city to meet ‘Felipe’ for a blind date. And in IP Yuk-Yiu’s game To Call A Horse A Deer, players are challenged to question the relationship between truth and lies.

The exhibits are on tour from Sheffield Doc/Fest, a leading platform for interactive and immersive non-fiction experiences from around the world.

Isabelle Croissant, Talent Development Programme Manager at HOME, said: “We're interested in how arts and culture enables us to share stories and debate ideas about our world and the multitude of experiences in it. We're delighted to work with Sheffield Doc/Fest's Alternate Realities to showcase how artists contribute to these conversations with interactive and immersive artworks.”

Melanie Iredale, Interim Director Sheffield Doc/Fest, said: “It’s such a pleasure to see some of the best-loved digital art projects from Doc/Fest 2019 go on to reach new audiences at prestigious venues across the country. Many of these projects are personal and profound stories of love and identity, each engaging the viewer through interactive or immersive technologies.

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