The title for VIRTUALLYREALITY’s AW20 festival is taken from acclaimed visual artist Jenny Holzer’s Inflammatory Essays, 25 100-word parables from the megaphone of an activist, the bellow of a dictator and prophetic whisperers all at once. They are emblematic of our times - hillarious, horrific, hopeful, revolution-ready. They are ready to swallow us whole.
Over five core events, VIRTUALLYREALITY present five approaches to ‘slowpocalypse’ aversal and maintaining humanity. Disconnection: exposing the dislocation of our societal bubbles, Devotion: loving and time-giving as protest against incessancy, Antagonisation: of societal structures to blow apart systems of power, Symbiosis for Survival: returning to the soil as homosapien, and Reconnection: quite literally seeing through the eyes of others.
Across the week, ferns will be fondled, lost lovers mourned, corpses reanimated, rave culture mined. VR glasses will be donned, breathing tubes inserted, the piano will be fed and men will rage and embrace as animals. If you can stomach it, seas will rise, trees will burn, personal data will be publicized; you will be mauled by hounds, your eyes will falter, you may be whipped, and there will be blood.*
The public will be infiltrated and
confronted with the Royal Northern College of Music’s UnHEARD society. Come watch us shout in train stations, tickle the corners of shopping centres, or serenade the stars. An additional series of coffee shop talks, lectures and workshops at Nexus Art Café, RNCM and Studio25 will deliver you skills to navigate the festival theme and our wider tumultuous present.
In solidarity with the Earth, our SS21 season will be carbon neutral. We encourage you to join us in the movement against the climate crisis, as artist travel and venue energy will be offset through donations to Eden Reforestation Projects.
*our way of writing about the series borrows from the style of London Contemporary Music Festival. We hope the emotional pull of our programme spurs you to attend, to get closer to adventurous music, film and performance like never before.