The Gallery At Play: On the Politics of Exhibiting Game Art


Presentation Title:

  • The Gallery At Play: On the Politics of Exhibiting Game Art



  • n this round table discussion, curators and practitioners with diverse perspectives on game art and interactive media art explore the historical, cultural, and political stakes of exhibiting interac-tive new media works that incorporate game technology across a spectrum of experimental, institutionalized, and commercial con-texts. In response to digital games’ emergence as a powerful component of contemporary culture, large cultural institutions are beginning to collect, archive and exhibit videogames. The result-ing ‘blockbuster’ initiatives fall in line with established main-stream ludo-industrial narratives, but they do little to explore the roles digital game technology is starting to play in new media art practices. This panel considers the contributions of independent cultural initiatives (exhibitions, festivals, etc.) to this process of exploring game culture and game technologies beyond commer-cial and consumerist contexts. Drawing on their own practices, perspectives, and experiences with art-making and curation, the participants will engage in an open discussion on topics includ-ing: *historical gaming exhibitions; *early avant-garde game modification practices; *the institutionalization of experimental game art; *the rise of the new arcade and ‘indie game’ cultures; *the establishment of the practice of machinima; *the emergence of appropriative practices under the banner of ‘game art,’ and the use of game-like interfaces in new media installations.

    Key Questions Addressed:

    1. What are the implications of exhibiting games under the larger umbrella of New Media Art?
    2. What curatorial methodologies are employed in the field?
    3. What are the consequences of the disciplinary siloing that we can observe within game ration?
    4. How can critical questions of interdisciplinarity be addressed within the field?
    5. How can we unpack the problematic categories of ‘game art’, ‘art games’ and ‘indie games’?
    6. How can we create critical historiographical investigations of the roles games occupy within gallery cultures, blockbuster ex-hibitions, festivals and alternative spaces?
    7. What future contexts are possible in light of these histories?