Technology meets art in unusual London show

GAME TIME: Le Blanc Seing; and
(inset left) The Last of US
GAME TIME: Le Blanc Seing; and (inset left) The Last of US


VIDEOGAMES now represent a multi-billion global industry – even bigger than the movie business – which explains why their racial and sexual stereotyping will soon be a thing of the past.  

This view was stated last week by the Victoria & Albert Museum which is to hold an exhibition on an unusual subject.  

The display, Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt, will not open until September but in anticipation of heavy demand, tickets went on sale last Friday (6).  

“Videogames have the potential to con­sider complex and sensitive subject matters such as representation, race, sexuality and geo-politics,” the V&A declared.  

The V&A, which considers itself “the world’s leading museum of art and design”, gener­ally covers paintings, sculpture, photography, tapestry and the like. Venturing into the digital era is cutting-edge – although it has had the foresight to collect digital art since the 1960s, its director, Tristram Hunt, said.  

He explained: “There is a rich universali­ty to videogames in contemporary culture.  

“This is the right time for the V&A to be building on our active interest in video­games to investigate this exciting and varied design field at the intersection between technology, engineering and broader visual culture. There is a wealth of creativity to explore, from the craft of the studios to the innovation of the audience as players. The exhibition will provide a compelling insight into one of the most important design disci­plines of our time.”  

Examples of games that will be on display include Le Blanc Seing (a woman is seen riding a horse both in front of and behind trees) by Rene Magritte; Splatoon from Nin­tendo; Winterfell, Westeroscraft from Mi­necraft; and The Last of US, from Sony In­teractive Entertainment.  

Kristian Volsing, research curator of the exhibition, said: “Highly scripted video­games are now being shot using real actors.”  

Much of the development was taking place at studios in north America, with hun­dreds of engineers frequently working on a single game.  

Volsing and the exhibition’s curator, Ma­rie Foulston, both made the same point – the industry was worth multi-billions, was now even bigger than the movie business and involved 2.2 billion players across the world. Videogames are where “technology meets art”, they emphasised.  

India is expected to get involved in mak­ing videogames because it has the fastest growing smartphone market in the world.  

  • Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt will run from September 8-February 4, 2019