Sex, drugs and violence are all part of the game at V&A
A LANDMARK exhibition will explore the cultural video games.
Opening at the Victoria & Albert Museum in September, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt will explore video game design since the mid2000s, when major technological advancements such as increased access to broadband, transformed the way games are designed and played.
The exhibition – the first on video games by a major international museum – will also examine the player communities who modify games and create fan art, as well as the spectators and competitive performers at largescale sports stadium events.
But the V&A says it will not shy away from looking at the darker side of gaming, including the often violent and misogynistic representation of women in games such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto, where they are often represented as highly sexualised characters existing purely for the gratification of men.
Tristram Hunt, the director of the V&A and former Labour MP, said: “Gender, misogyny, violence – we are not moving away from any of that.
“You have to understand the design component, but you can’t remove that entirely from some of the social political context in which it is placed.
“We are going to address all of those issues.”
The V&A says video games have the potential to consider complex and sensitive subject matters such as representation, race, sexuality and geo-politics. A selection of the work on show will illustrate radical themes, including a semi-autobiographical game by Nina Freeman which tackles the discovery of sexuality through dolls and Phone Story by Molleindustria, a satirical mobile game which invites players to consider the impact of their consumption on people in the globalised world.
Mr Hunt added: “This is the right time for the V&A to be building on our active interest in video games to investigate this exciting and varied design field at the intersection between technology, engineering and broader visual culture. “The exhibition will provide a compelling insight into one of the most important design disciplines of our time. “We are very happy to have them in the same building as Donatello, Botticelli, Constable and Turner. “One of the challenges of the V&A is to get people to think differently about what they might not respect visually.”
Sony’s The Last of Us, above, Nina Freeman’s How Do You Do It?, right, and cosplay-loving dog Vox, far right, will all feature at the museum