V&A Dundee opens its next major exhibition, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, this weekend (Saturday 20 April).
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt celebrates and explores the cultural importance of videogames.
It reveals how they are designed, how they are confronting issues such as politics, race and gender, and how the future of videogames is being shaped by huge online communities, as well as tiny independent studios and collectives around the world.
The exhibition focuses on major shifts since the mid-2000s, when changing technology – from mobile phones to increasing internet speeds – transformed how games are designed, discussed and played. Visitors can see a range of fascinating objects that unpick the design process, from rarely-seen sketches and notebooks to storyboards, musical scores and computer code.
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt is international in perspective, showcasing blockbuster games from major studios such as The Last of Us as well as prototypes by independent developers such as Jenny Jiao Hsia.
The exhibition celebrates the power of play as a means of creative expression, which will be explored further in the museum’s wide-ranging programme, including a conference, talks, workshops, a games jam and the museum’s next Tay Late evening event.
The new exhibition runs from 20 April to 8 September. Tickets are available atwww.vam.ac.uk/dundee
Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “We are delighted to be opening our next major exhibition, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, this weekend. This is a very exciting show for anyone with an interest in art, creativity and design, as well as makers and players of videogames.
“As you walk through this exhibition you get to see how a game is designed, from the earliest sketch right through to the online communities and independent designers that are reshaping the future of gaming.
“At V&A Dundee we want to present the very highest quality exhibitions, and having such wonderful exhibition galleries enables us to create immersive, beautifully designed experiences that are really thrilling for visitors.”
Marie Foulston, lead exhibition curator and V&A Curator of Videogames, said: “It’s hugely exciting to see this new iteration of Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt open at V&A Dundee this week, in a city which continues to have such a profound impact on videogame design and culture.
“This exhibition opens up the design and culture of contemporary game design and culture in radical new ways. It celebrates groundbreaking work from a period of time that has been defined by a democratisation of both the means to make and to play games.
“Whether you come as a local game designer, a seasoned player, or are simply creatively curious, I hope you leave feeling inspired and with a greater understanding of and appreciation for one of the most fascinating mediums of our time.”
The exhibition includes a major new commission from Glasgow-based illustrator Ursula Kam-Ling Cheng, who has created a colourful and chaotic mural called Girl Evader that is inspired by virtual worlds. Cheng has also incorporated designs by V&A Dundee’s Young People’s Collective and members of the public into a special installation of PVC hangings called Ipseity Invades!
Videogames designed by Abertay University lecturer Niall Moody (Hummingbird) and Abertay graduate Llaura McGee (If Found by Dreamfeel) are showcased in a section focusing on the work of alternative and independent studios all over the world who curate events that celebrate the social side of games. The two new games are housed in bespoke arcade cabinets designed by Edinburgh studio We Throw Switches.
V&A Dundee is also working with We Throw Switches to create a one-off Tay Late event on the evening of Saturday 18 May. The Tay Late will showcase the very latest Scottish and international design creativity with multiplayer party games and unique playable experiences. Earlier the same day V&A Dundee will host its first conference, focusing on videogames and co-curated with Biome Collective.
To accompany the exhibition, the museum has commissioned a new videogame that will soon be available to play on V&A Dundee’s website. Plaything is a joyous and intimate web-based game being created by Will Anderson and Niall Tessier-Lavigne, which will allow you to create a character in your browser, a beautifully hand-crafted creature that grows with you.
Visitors will able to play the game, and find out more about the process of bringing a videogame to life, at a free Family Design Day on Saturday 8 June. The game’s development has been supported by InGAME, a games innovation partnership led by Abertay University.
Dundee has a thriving videogame design community, centred around Abertay University which launched the world’s first degree in Computer Games Technology in the 1990s.
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt was curated by Marie Foulston, V&A Curator of Videogames and Kristian Volsing, V&A Research Curator, and shown at V&A South Kensington from 8 September 2018 to 24 February 2019.