My ONCA Story by Irene Fubara-Manuel

2018 Exhibiting Artist

In the late summer of 2018, I held an exhibition called Dreams of Disguise at O N C A. It was a part of my University of Sussex doctoral dissertation and also a part of ONCA’s 2018 Visionary Fictions programme.


Dreams of Disguise explored the biometric surveillance of black migrants and comprised videogames and animated videos that explored the biometric/digital border. The exhibition was the first time I was showing as a solo artist and would be a marking point, signalling the beginning of the end of my three-year doctoral project. I was nervous and excited — perhaps more hands on than I should have been. For the first few days of the exhibition I would share duties with the gallery assistant, Yuvinka, who would direct guests to me whenever they had questions. The first few gallery visitors were my provisional playtesters for the videogames and the conversations we had finetuned my communication of the academic theory behind the project.

Aside from ONCA financially supporting the show by offering the gallery space, the staff also put in an impressive amount of care in making sure it was successful. I had made 3D printed game controllers and was displaying videos from a Raspberry Pi microcomputer I had on loan from the Sussex Humanities Lab. I was grateful for Susuana’s (the Communications Manager) patience in looking after my setup.

Since the exhibition of Dreams of Disguise at ONCA, I have shown the videogames with the 3D printed controller in other locations. These more recent shows have made me aware of the complications of exhibiting maker projects. For this reason, I am even more appreciative for all the care ONCA put into supporting the work of this local early-career academic-artist.

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