A playful theme for art

A playful theme for art

When bored from the mundane routine, the thought of playing a game of cards or plugging the video game to play Mario brings relief to the mind. Ever thought that this world of games could be explored as an art?

Games and gaming is the underlying theme of the two ongoing exhibitions titled ‘Of Games: Frameworks In Question’ and ‘Of Games: Theatre in Code’.

The exhibition titled ‘Of Games: Frameworks In Question’ juxtaposes art with games and gaming technologies including the old board games of India like Ganjifas, a video work titled Parallel by Harun Farocki and computer games like Façade by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, Osmos by Hemisphere Games, Otomata by Batuhan Bozkurt. These works try to capture the image making process explored in both, games and art, and highlight the audience engagement while gaming.

Façade demonstrates the promise of algorithmic storytelling by developing individual characters and their mechanisms of response. Whereas Osmos projects a simulation of a Physics-based world. Its the designers talk about the ‘calming’ effect of playing the game with headphones that makes this game unique. Otomata, on the other hand, is a musical instrument that makes music from the chaotic and generative result of a series of accidents running in a loop. It becomes popular as a music-making tool for amateurs.

The video work titled Parallel is 17-minute long and is based on the subject of development and creation of digital animation. “For example, if a forest has to be covered in foliage, the basic genetic growth programme will be applied. Here we use more generative algorithms. The more the image detaches itself from the appearance, it becomes an ideal-typical.Using the example of trees and bushes, water, fire and clouds we compare the development of surfaces and colourings over the past thirty years in computer animation images. We want to document reality effects such as reflections, clouds, and smoke in their evolutionary history,” says Harun Farocki, the creator.

In the other exhibition titled ‘Of Games: Theatre in Code’ the exhibited works were created by Akshay Rathod, Centaur, Gayatri Kodikal, Oleomingus, Pramod Kumar and Vishal Dar during a month-long residency. This exhibition intended to articulate the contribution of games towards visual culture. It aims to look beyond the interpretation of gameplay as an artistic activity and thus explores platform-bending paradigms. During their residency, the young participants took part in various public engagement programs structured and undertook workshops to come up with interesting ideas.

For instance, Gayatri Kodikal’s game The Travelling Hand is modelled on the dreams of a Georgian queen whose remains are buried in Goa. “I read an article in Deccan Herald about this Georgian Queen whose remains were traced in Goa after undertaking a 20-year excavation which ended in 2009. She was captured and tortured in Iran in 17th century and I planned to make a film on her. It was for this that I looked for new mediums such as games, to narrate this story and The Travelling Hand thus developed,” shares Gayatri.

These exhibitions are on display at Khoj Studios, Khirkee Extension till September 29.

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