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Game Art

2007-11-25 to 2008-01-20

Computer games are one of the leading popular culture products of our time. Once a marginal part of the toy industry, video games are now a major industry that affects society on several levels. The Game Art exhibition at Bildmuseet shows how artists work with the aesthetics, culture and tools of video games to create new art.

Game Art has become established as a term for art that is inspired by or based on computer games in some way. Bildmuseet displays a selection of works by eight artists, from SAAB engineer Göran Sundqvist’s simple 1960 missile game – considered one of the world’s first computer games – to Joseph DeLappe’s as-yet unfinished work dead-in-iraq.

New forms of computer games are developed, and virtual events have direct real-life repercussions. In Entropia Universe and Second Life, virtual lives are lived through avatars while the purchase and sale of virtual goods is transferred to the mainstream economy. Other games go in the opposite direction, introducing real-life events into the games. One of these is the US military’s American Army war game, which is closely linked to the Iraq War and also serves as an important recruitment site for US soldiers. American Army forms the basis for Joseph DeLappe’s abovementioned work.

Several works in the exhibition address the relationship between the physical and virtual worlds. They address the icons, the aesthetics, and the social and economic contexts built around video games, and ask questions about how games affect our perceptions of ourselves and reality. What happens when someone lives much of their life in a computer game? What do body fixation and stereotypical gender roles or the strong presence of violence mean in terms of our self-perception? Which new realities are being produced in the world of computer games?

Participating artists: John Paul Bichard, Gonzalo Frasca, Natalie Bookchin, Feng Mengbo, Joseph DeLappe, Göran Sundqvist, Linda Erceg and Petra Vargova. Curators: Björn Norberg and Peter Hagdahl. The exhibition has been produced by Mejan Labs, Stockholm.

In conjunction with Game Art, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts’ Dataspelsgruppen artist collective is showing the development of Yod Burrow and the mix-up of Chaste City. The game, which is still at the production stage, is presented at Bildmuseet via screenshots, sketches, game examples and animations.