Uma Breakdown: Earth A.D.

24 Sep-11 Dec 2022


I sing softly to myself, unconcerned with either my uncertainty of the lyrics, or my ability to hold the tune. The paddle dips into the water on one side of the canoe and then the other, a rhythm that I sing to, mostly. Above, if I were to look up, the sky is oppressive. It has more in common with visual artefacts in video reproduction or from eyes under stress than something with genuine depth. I dreamt once of a huge eye following me. The eye was so large that I could barely make out its curve. To the untrained, it may have appeared just as a black sky, but I was all too aware that it was a huge pupil, with the iris beginning just at the horizon if only the mountains did not obscure this. That dream stayed with me, and then I pushed it down with my work, and now, now it surfaces in my memory once again, and so I try not to look at this sky above my rhythmic paddling in case I summon that dream to come to be the next night, when I must lie in the bottom of my canoe, the sky feeling as if it begins only inches from my face.

~ Earth A.D. Archive text.

We are thrilled to invite you to Earth A.D., the first solo exhibition from artist Uma Breakdown. This new body of work draws on the artist’s research into the structures and historical context of Gothic narratives, and their creative relationships to time, space, identity and social relations.

The project consists of video games, objects, and an installation. An immersive installation in the gallery made from muslin, concrete rebar, bioresin and lino prints presents coffin-like structures, a hanging coracle alongside a holographic projection and new drawings from the artist. The immersive Earth A.D. game will be playable online on WysingBroadcasts.Art, while a lo-fi "demake" game is playable in the gallery.

Commissioned in partnership with FACT, Liverpool and QUAD, Derby, Earth A.D. will launch as an installation in Wysing’s gallery in September and a game on WysingBroadcasts.Art later in the autumn, before evolving and touring to FACT in Summer 2023 and QUAD in Summer 2024.
Earth A.D. explores the Gothic genre’s relation to deep time, real and imagined versions of England, industrial capitalism, guilt, shame, queerness, and the Gothic’s entangled relationships with the evolution of science fiction, horror and the computer.

That’s one description. Another is that it’s a science fiction story about trans* solidarity and care across time and space, which is repeatedly told, distorted, translated, lost, and reinvented.

Yet another is that it's a room full of coffin technology and holograms, and a video game about the dreams of a sleeping cyborg girl.

Earth A.D. is commissioned by Wysing Arts Centre, FACT and QUAD with public funding from Arts Council England.

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