Zero Gamer is a new exhibition at London Games Festival, from 22nd to 26th of October. It looks at games played, unplayed and unplayable, the spectator and the spectacle. Sometimes we just like to watch, and machinima, gameplay videos and spectator gaming events take the activity out of interactivity. Games that play themselves, video documents of in-game performance, game engine experiments and challenging documentaries on gameplay.
This is the second exhibition, produced by HTTP Gallery as part of the London Games Fringe Festival to focus on the intersection of media art and games cultures. In 2006 Game/Play, a networked exhibition focusing on the rhetorical constructs of game and play in a media art context, was installed alongside the World Series of Video Games in London. Visitors to the Trocadero moved between the frenzied competition of the WSVG events, part of the mainstream festival, and a more critical engagement with a selection of artworks presented as part of the Fringe. The exhibition comprised of a series of games that subverted the stereotypical genres and an installation of [giantJoystick] by Mary Flanagan which “highlighted the spatial and social role of the game interface.” Visitors seemed to slip happily between modes of engagement.
The meaning of contemporary media art is often crafted by the context in which it is encountered by its audience or participants. The way in which participants interact when engaged (in games and art) remains an important factor for both artists and game designers, gamers and audiences for videogame-art. This provides a starting point for this exhibition. It considers on the one hand, avidly and actively immersed gamers, and on the other, the gamer-in-every-viewer of art games who encounters game modifications, appropriations and detournements as jolts to the mesmerizing flow and illusory worlds of regular game play. They are thereby placed in a more thoughtful and reflective relationship with them. This is the fertile antagonism that informs Zero Gamer. So, what happens when the action is taken out of interaction?
The exhibition is co-curated between critical game theorist Corrado Morgana in partnership with HTTP Gallery and Furtherfield.org
Works by: Axel Stockburger/JodiThe Ghost/Corrado Morgana/LjudmilaProgress Quest and more.