The Factory undergoes Fortnite transformation in virtual exhibition

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Manchester’s multimillion pound cultural space is being reimagined by international artists through a series of commissions from Manchester International Festival.

Influential avatar artist and curator, LaTurbo Avedon, has created a new work for Virtual Factory, Your Progress Will Be Saved. This has been built on an island in the gaming platform, Fortnite Creative.

Designed in the real world by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA architectural practice, it’s believed to be the first major cultural building to be recreated in Fortnite. It will be the first to be launched virtually, before it opens in real life.

Your Progress Will Be Saved will be based around mirrors, taking visitors on a constantly evolving journey through shifting spaces, across illuminated dance floors and into private booths, experimenting with and blurring the distinctions between what we call the real and the virtual worlds.

“You begin to see reflections throughout the Virtual Factory. From the memesis of the installed works and locations, down to noisy reflections from the game engine itself,” explained LaTurbo Avedon.

“As much of the world grapples with a cultural moment of immateriality, Your Progress Will Be Saved shines back the close-yet-far tension of being alone online, together.”

Gamers and non-gamers will be able to experience Your Progress Will Be Saved, which is free to try by playing the full game in Fortnite Creative, choosing their own adventure in an adapted journey on the Virtual Factory website and taking tours of LaTurbo’s intervention on Twitch.

Further commissions will be announced over the next year, with each artist encouraged to use augmented reality, interactive and mobile gaming, film and social media.

“Virtual Factory reflects a time when we are increasingly inhabiting non-physical environments, from social media and virtual reality to live-streamed theatre and videogames,” explained Gabrielle Jenks, Digital Director at Manchester International Festival.

“These artists through their distinct practices construct worlds through computer games, cinematic tools and augmented reality. They are creating work for a building that hasn’t opened yet - alluding to the reconfigurable shape of things to come and sending out a message that The Factory will be open for everyone to re-interpret and re-use.”