Play Matters


Play Matters
2/12 – 2/3

The act of playing is intrinsic to the human experience, and games are among the most sophisticated interactive systems ever developed. Over the last decades, video games have become an integral and perhaps dominant part of our culture. They have had a significant impact on technological innovations, influenced our habits, and created new approaches to entertainment.

The existence of games as a medium and art form is nothing new. There is a rich history of artists appropriating and adapting game aesthetics and technologies into their art. However, the internet and the affordable access to software for digital production as well as game engines like “Unreal” and “Unity3D” enabled game aesthetics and culture to expand beyond the game industry and penetrate the art world in unprecedented ways. As a result of this, artists working with the language of video games and game mechanics are now playing an important role in creating a multiplicity of narratives that work against stereotypes, social norms, and gender roles within the mainstream gaming industry.

By experimenting, disrupting and subverting game rules and standards, they create new worlds that provoke speculative and critical reflection on social, political and ecological issues as well as on reality itself. Play can “reveal our conventions, assumptions, biases and dislikes” and can influence actions and propose solutions for our empirical world. Play matters.

Essay by Martina Menegon