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Heart to Heart 2015-16

Multimedia installation featuring 3-screen projection, 4-channel sound work, 3 theatre lighting (20'00"), prints, linotype casts and pencil on paper (1500x3000mm)

I propose to consider the question, “Can machines think?... Are there imaginable digital computers that would do well in the imitation game?”

Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, 1950


What if machines sitting in museum stores could remember, talk and interact with each other? What would they say, think and remember? Do machines have human qualities? Do humans have machine qualities?

Manchester Art Gallery presents The Imitation Game, an exhibition by eight international contemporary artists who explore the theme of machines and the imitation of life. The exhibition includes work by artists Ed Atkins, James Capper, Paul Granjon, Tove Kjellmark, Lynn Hershman Leeson, David Link, Mari Velonaki and Yu-Chen Wang. With a title inspired by Alan Turing’s ‘Turing Test’, devised to test a computer’s ability to imitate human thought, introduced in an article while he was working at the University of Manchester, The Imitation Game includes three new commissions and works never before seen in the UK.

Manchester has a rich history of computer science, as the birthplace of the industrial machine-age, where the world’s first stored-program computer was developed. The exhibition looks back to Turing’s timeless questions about our relationship with the machine, and explores their continuing relevance today. The Imitation Game forms a major contribution to Manchester’s role as European City of Science 2016 with new commissions, a publication and a public programme of talks, performances and workshops.

What if machines sitting in museum stores could remember, talk and interact with each other? What would they say, think and remember? Do machines have human qualities?

In Spring 2015 Yu-Chen Wang was artist-in-residence at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester. Her research and reflection on the Museum’s collection and historic site has led to a major new work, Heart to Heart for The Imitation Game, which encompasses text, performance, film, drawing and installation. Her work can be seen at both Manchester Art Gallery and the museum.


Following the residency, Yu-Chen collaborated with science fiction novelist Matt Hill and museum curator Sarah Baines to write the story of four characters inspired by a chosen group of objects at the Museum, who reminisce about their past and imagine their futures, revealing the interconnections between machine and human histories.


The fictional text has become a script for a live performance, featuring the four machine characters. A film of the performance is showing in the Liverpool Road Station building at the Museum of Science and Industry and an immersive installation using video projection, sound and drawing to evoke the machine dialogues is on display at Manchester Art Gallery.

Heart to Heart was commissioned by Manchester Art Gallery, as part of ESOF 2016 – Manchester, European City of Science programme.



The Imitation Game

13 Feb – 5 June 2016

Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

Yu-Chen Wang:

Heart to Heart

13 Feb – 5 June 2016

Science and Industry Museum, Manchester


Yu-Chen Wang
13 Apr – 12 Jun 2015
Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

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