Digital Realness – Online with Site Gallery

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Exhibitions in Manchester and the North
Phantom, Sian Fan

4 March — 31 May 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Though we might talk of longing for a return to IRL experiences, the fact is, the virtual realm very much is part of ‘real life’, and the separation between it and offline existence is growing narrower by the day. After a year of Zoom gatherings, online teaching, and work meetings attended from the kitchen table, the need to address the nature and politics of this (not so) new space in which life, work and culture now occur, has only intensified. Especially as the digital sphere – once celebrated for its utopian potential – has increasingly come to reflect the power structures and social inequalities so deeply engrained in the non-digital world from which it spawned.

With this in mind, Site Gallery’s latest online programme, Digital Realness, seems a pertinent vessel to carry us through the (hopefully) final few months of lockdown. The programme will explore the merging of digital and physical realities through immersive online exhibitions, discussions, family workshops, reading groups, and screenings, which will centre around three core themes: How we touch and feel online; how we enable digital learning; and what biases and systems of oppression are built into our online structures and what we can do to subvert them.

A series of new commissions by artists Sian Fan, Rebecca Jagoe and Vishal Kumaraswamy will also consider how performance can not only exist, but expand and flourish in an increasingly digital world. Each artist has approached the question very differently. Fan using motion capture to record and map a live performer’s movements onto a set of ghostly video game characters dancing in a glitchy digital forest. Jagoe through a piece that will broadcast in two versions – audio-only and visual-only – exploring touch-based interactions between the body and ancient healing stones. And Kumaraswamy, through a networked series of performances occurring in a range of physical and digital spaces that will explore questions of race, caste and the subaltern body.

Together, this wide­-ranging programme looks set to invite a fascinating closer look at the strange world in which so much of ‘real life’ now occurs – taking in the opportunities and challenges it presents, and asking important questions about how we might want to shape its ever-evolving creation.

4 March — 31 May 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Digital Realness – Online with Site Gallery

Fairfield Social Club

Launching in spring 2024, Fairfield Social Club is a multi-purpose site next to Angel Meadows Park in the Green Quarter.

The Coro

Nestled in the heart of Ulverston, a rural market town on the fringes of the Lake District, stands The Coro —an esteemed historic hub for arts, culture, and entertainment

Sam Read Bookseller

Award-winning small bookshop in the Lake District. Est. by Sam Read in 1887. Run by Will Smith and Polly Atkin.


Capri serves up homely, family-style Italian food in North Yorkshire.

Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a relaxed, fun wine tour, taking in four or five venues across three hours, plus six high-quality glasses of wine.

Juno Books

Friendly local queer and intersectional feminist bookshop in Sheffield. Visit for interesting fiction and non fiction books.

The Dusty Miller

Family friendly pub situated in the beautiful village of Mytholmroyd.

Winckley Square
Winckley Square

Hosting a variety of year-round events, from guided walks to jazz evenings, Winckley Square is a Georgian square packed with history in Preston city centre.

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