Video game: This is art!

Video game: This is art!

The Julia Stoschek group in Düsseldorf, Germany is currently dedicating an exhibition to video games. An opportunity to remember that they are an integral part of art. At risk of upsetting some.

The late American journalist Roger Ebert once said that “video games will never be art.” The Julia Stoschek Group in Düsseldorf disagrees with this view. The German Cultural Foundation is currently dedicating an entire exhibition to them entitled “Global Construction: Games and Arts in the Digital Age” and shows how they are increasingly being integrated into contemporary visual culture.

For Hans-Ulrich Obrist, curator, video games are “what films of the twentieth century and novels of the nineteenth century were.” To support his statements, he chose about thirty works of multimedia that elevate the gaming world to the rank of art. Some of them are from the Julia Stoschek Collection and were specially adapted for the exhibition, while others were commissioned for the occasion.

The works included in the exhibition differ greatly from each other in size, scope and purpose, but also in form and function. Some games like “SHE KEEPS ME DAMN ALIVE” by Danielle Brathwaite Shirley are actual video games. In this installation, the British artist raises public awareness of the condition of transgender blacks. You challenge him to protect this marginalized community in three scenarios, Ocean, Dungeon and City. Visitors are armed with a pink pistol, whose texture resembles a brain, to eliminate threats against the game’s characters. This is not an invitation to shoot at sight, but rather to question the (imaginary) power that a firearm confers.

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Video game aesthetics

Changing the atmosphere with Lu Yang’s “Great Adventure of the Material World.” At first glance, this three-panel installation looks like a classic role-playing game. Visitors are invited to embody the character of the knight of the material world. Target ? Complete multiple missions while fighting enemies. But, as in all of Lu Yang’s work, the game is only an excuse to address existential themes. “[Nous] Let’s create various ideologies, mental states and social systems in order to rationalize and justify the material world,” explains the Chinese artist through one of his other characters, Uterus Man.

The exhibition “WORLDBUILDING” shows how visual artists rely on the aesthetics of video games to address issues related to our existence through virtual worlds. It must be said that Internet users devote more and more time to it. They were spending 6 hours and 58 minutes a day online, according to GWI data. There is no doubt that some of these watches are for gaming, notes Hans Ulrich Obrist. “In 2021, 2.8 billion people – nearly a third of the world’s population – played video games, making niche pastime the largest mass phenomenon of our time. Many people spend hours each day in a parallel world and live many different lives,” he said in a statement.

Art lovers can discover the creations of Ed Atkins, Judy, Peggy Ahwish, Lawrence Lake, Maryam Bennani and Kao Fay, included in “Building the World” until December 10, 2023 at the Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf. The exhibition will then be presented at the Center Pompidou Metz from June 2023 to January 2024. The Grand Palais has already honored video games during a major exhibition on its history in 2011.

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