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WEBSITE 72dpi FACT Uma Breakdown OCTOBER 2023 Rob Battersby 1

Uma Breakdown

Artist Uma Breakdown takes us on a journey through the gothic genre and its relationship to horror, intimacy of care and technology in their exhibition, Earth A.D. 2 (2023).

FACT Liverpool
88 Wood Street
L1 4DQ
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Earth A.D. 2 is an expansive body of work by artist Uma Breakdown, spanning immersive installation, writing and video games, and draws on their research into ongoing collective repair. The work explores the structures and history of Gothic narratives, and their creative relationships to time, space, identity and social relations. At the same time it’s a science fiction story about trans* solidarity and care across time and space, which is repeatedly told, distorted, translated, lost, and reinvented.

The gallery can be thought of as a video game ‘save room’, where players can rest, or hold useful items collected along the way: a quiet, dark, storage area of gifts, kept in a high bell tower. The space contains collections of sculptures carefully piled up: things that look like maps, parts of video games, and projections that drift across the space.

Online, Uma presents Low Estate (2023), an adventure game about the aftermath of ‘The Event’ - a desperate last act that ended a violent siege, wreaking havoc in the process of wiping out invaders. Playing as the last known survivor - saved from the fallout by working in the depths of a library archive - the aim is to journey to where the Dreadnought is sleeping, and update its databases with the community’s history since its last awakening 1500 years previously.

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Uma Breakdown, Low Estate (2023). Courtesy of the artist

Fiction allows us to explore new understandings of who we might be and how we might live. Through its explorations of extreme experiences from fear, horror, and violence, to passion, love, and tenderness, the Gothic genre offers us new understandings of care and intimacy through the intensity of these emotions. A frequent motif is the coffin, viewed as a tool for resurrection or repair, rather than an endpoint. Uma explores the possibilities of how these narrative devices can keep a person alive indefinitely: sleeping, awoken occasionally to share old wisdom or absorb new knowledge, and existing across time on a scale unimaginable to our perception of a human lifespan. With this altered relationship to time and reality, this being becomes an oracle, acting as an anchor to a different sort of community -- one committed to building on the best parts of each previous generation, rather than doomed to repeat their worst mistakes.

Uma links this idea with the continuous mutual support and care that has to exist within the trans* community. They refer to this as radical solidarity, an act of looking out for someone without having to know who they are. Elements of our histories can be destroyed, but collective respect and care mean that the generational knowledge and histories will endure.

→ Trans* is an umbrella term that refers to a range of identities within the gender identity spectrum.

‘There is no limit to the number of reparative attempts we can make at retelling the story, at remaking ourselves.’

Access Information

The exhibition includes:

  • Nine short looping videos on screens, projections, and holographic fans.
  • Six coffin sculptures with smaller sculptures and drawings.One chest sculpture with small sculptures, drawings and an e-paper display.
  • A simple text-based video game, playable on a controller. The game has a repetitive lo-fi electronic soundtrack
  • The gallery is wheelchair accessible.
  • There is no seating in the gallery, but folding chairs are available on request.
  • The gallery has dark walls but is lit with ambient light from the projections, plus spotlights on all sculptures and structures.

If you have any questions or feedback about the accessibility of the exhibition, please ask at the Information Desk on the ground floor and we will be happy to help.

Uma Breakdown. Earth A.D. 2 (2022) & Low Estate (2023). Commissioned by Wysing Arts Centre, FACT and QUAD. FACT is supported by Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council, with support from Culture Liverpool.

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