Emmy award-winning digital artist Rebecca Allen showcases iconic works

A new exhibition of work by Emmy award-winning digital artist Rebecca Allen is on display at Modal Gallery at the School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University.

From the earliest days of computer generated graphics in the 1970s, Allen has shaped how we experience the world through technology – from popular culture to augmented reality.

Rebecca Allen – A Tangle of Mind & Matter showcases pioneering work from the 1980s to present day, exploring the artistic influences in her work to inspire the digital creatives of tomorrow.

On display in the exhibition is the award-winning iconic music video Musique Non Stop 1986 for the album Electric Café by the German group Kraftwerk. The work involved the development of state-of-the-art facial animation software to bring the virtual mannequins to life.

Rebecca Allen, Kraftwerk Portrait, 1986. Still from Video. Courtesy of the artist

Visitors can also experience the immersive virtual reality installations The Tangle of Mind and Matter 2017, which is inspired by the mysterious relationship between the mind and the brain, and Inside 2016, which explores the inner world of the brain, the connection between virtual and real humans, and the sensation when immersed in artificial nature.

Valentino Catricalà, Curator of Modal at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “I am so honoured to have curated the first Rebecca Allen solo show in Manchester, the second in the country. Rebecca is someone who has envisioned a new world, when this world was completely hidden.

“The use of technology in Rebecca’s work has been absolutely unique, mixing arts, design, innovation, video music, and much more. We have tried to give an overview of Rebecca’s path from the former digital images to the more recent Virtual Reality project. I think that looking at Rebecca’s work today is not only an historical experience, but it can give us the tools to understand our reality.”

Allen is an internationally recognised artist inspired by the aesthetics of motion, the study of perception and behaviour, and the potential of advanced technology.

Rebecca Allen, Inside, 2016. Still from VR Installation. Courtesy of the artist

From the mid 1970’s, Allen was a rare female artist working in the early stages of computer art and digital technology.

In 1982, Allen won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Design for the title sequence for CBS Walter Chronkite’s Universe, the first Emmy to be awarded for computer animated work.

Throughout her celebrated career, Allen has experimented with a space where organic and digital meet, combining imagination and ability to expand how we see the world.

As creative technologists reshape our understanding of art, politics, and social life, Allen’s work offers a unique perspective and inspiration for the journey ahead.

Rebecca Allen, Inside, woman looking, 2016. Still from VR Installation. Courtesy of the artist

Her work explores the movements of human and natural forms – from ballet dancers to flocks of birds – and how these are translated into digital.

Allen has a passion for the aesthetics of a living world rendered in a virtual space, questioning the future of the body, and ultimately of the possibilities of human experience.

Rebecca Allen – A Tangle of Mind & Matter is on display at Modal gallery at SODA until April 30, 2023. The exhibition is supported by Zelda Art and This is Arcade.