In Real Life (IRL)

In Real Life (IRL)

In Real Life (IRL) is an exhibition by cybertwee, commissioned by Birmingham Open Media. The exhibition is a soft, sweet environment that challenges the traditional aesthetics of sci-fi found in video games, movies and online. By immersing yourself into this fictional world, you are invited to contemplate a sci-fi future that is romantic, cute and feminine.

In our increasingly-connected world, the internet, smartphones and social media have distorted the lines between fantasy and reality. Many of us curate ideal versions of our lives and moodboard world experiences that may otherwise be inaccessible to us. cybertwee’s work explores how we can create IRL versions of that kind of space, one that feels both safe and excitingly alien.

With 6 ‘trinkets’, cybertwee explore what kinds of animal or electronic chimera might accompany us in a future in which the cyborg infiltrates every aspect of companionship.

In biology, genetic chimera are individuals who exhibit a mosaic of different DNA. Despite being a single cohesive being, they have a kind of embedded duality. The name chimera stems from a frightening female mythological creature made up of many animal parts. Chimera can also represent an unattainable fantasy, for example, a utopia. In this exhibition, cybertwee is interested in how human-machine and animal-machine chimeras relate to Donna Haraway's concept of strength in hybridity in The Cyborg Manifesto.

With DIY electronics, the artists have created these trinkets to represent a setting, character or motif that could exist in a cybertwee fiction.

The exhibition continues with a virtual reality experience of the fictional cybertwee headquarters. This work offers an insight into another cybertwee world, a safe space where ‘cutesy’ is default and digital art takes centre stage. This virtual exhibition is comprised of digital works by 22 artists, selected from an online open call, and displayed in the Cybertwee Headquarters.

photos by @thombartley unless specified otherwise.