Sex, drugs and vi­o­lence are all part of the game at V&A

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Pa­trick Sawer in Lon­don im­pact of ugh tory , on­sider ld. ght o ur t inte tech­nol­ogy vi ex com­pellin Do Con­stab diffe

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

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