SODA presents the first look at the film-making process of Reality or Not, weaving elements of CGI, storytelling and activism

A group of girls are asked to participate in a reality tv show only to reject their own reality, a statue rages against their role in the world and a hacker uses a live-stream to run an anti-imperialist bling-ring.

These are the stories threaded through the latest work by American-Belgian artist Cécile B. Evans, a film that explores the fabrications of reality.

Cécile B. Evans, Reality or Not, 2023, Production Still, made with Tida PN, Adam James Sinclair, Lotti V Closs
Cécile B. Evans, Reality or Not, 2023, Production Still, made with Tida PN, Adam James Sinclair, Lotti V Closs

Reality or Not was partly commissioned by Manchester Met’s School of Digital Arts (SODA), and the University will be the first to host this behind-the-scenes exhibition of five key scenes from the film with commentary by Evans and members of the team.                                                                   

SODA is a £35m investment into the next generation of creative content, offers industry-informed courses and state-of-the-art spaces equipped with the latest technologies.

Delivered in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise (GM LEP), SODA promises a revolution in how we conceive the future of storytelling.

Evans filmed for a week at the University, making use of SODA’s Virtual Production Studio and the Motion Capture Studio.

Valentino Catricalà, curator at the MODAL Gallery, said: “We are so proud to show the new work of Cécile B. Evans and to have collaborated with them in producing it. I think that this is another step that makes MODAL one of the most interesting galleries for art and technology.

“It’s Evans’ most ambitious project to date in terms of scale. They really tested the limits of SODA. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to be inspired by one of our greatest artists in their use of CGI.”

The film itself will be screened at SODA’s cinema at a later date but this will be the first look at the creative and technical process that brought it to life.

Thomas Dukes, assistant art curator at the MODAL gallery, said: “I’ve never seen a Cécile B Evans exhibition that is behind-the-scenes. I was over the moon because I love Cécile’s work. You can really appreciate the impact of their work in a cinema space.” 

The exhibition launched in a preview night on January 25 and will run until March 24 at the MODAL gallery within SODA at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Read more about the exhibition here.