Heart to Heart at MSI & Manchester Art Gallery: Once more, with feeling

Desmond Bullen

Heart to Heart at MSI and Manchester Art Gallery reinvents machines with human qualities across live performance, film and installation.

Memory is a contradiction, at once insubstantial and visceral, both within and without, as unreliable and as central as identity. Memory is also a metaphor, the term used to describe today’s electronic playthings’ ability to numbly retain songs and snapshots, encoded in binary certainty. What, however, if technology remembered as humans do? What if it learned by heart, and was suffused with feelings?

What if technology remembered as humans do?

This is the premise of Yu-Chen Wang’s Heart To Heart. Kindled during her experience as artist-in-residence at the Museum of Science and Industry last year, this multi-media work has holographic fragments that splinter across both the museum and – as part of current exhibition, The Imitation Game at Manchester Art Gallery.

A collaboration with science fiction novelist Matt Hill and curator Sarah Baines, Heart to Heart imagines human qualities transposed into machines. Existing in a number of different formats, its separate iterations – science fiction text, live performance, film and installation – are entangled with the strangeness of quantum particles, distinct yet connected. Like devices linked by broadband, like hearts entwined by love, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

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