Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt celebrates the innovative and rapidly changing design field of videogames this autumn, in what will be the first exhibition of its kind. The V&A will explore how contemporary designers, players and critics are pushing boundaries in playful and radical new ways. Rare glimpses from the creative process of developing games such as The Last of Us to Kentucky Route Zero, including original prototypes, early character designs and notebooks, will be shown alongside cultural inspiration from a Magritte painting to a viral cat video.
From blockbuster titles produced by leading studios such as Splatoon from Nintendo, to independents such as Journey by thatgamecompany, the exhibition will show the craft and skill of creating ground-breaking videogame design. These examples will be presented alongside large-scale immersive multimedia and interactive installations from Minecraft to League of Legends and investigations of the social and political issues in the field, offering an insight into the design process, community and culture of videogames.
The exhibition will explore videogame design since the mid-2000s, when major technological advancements, such as increased access to broadband, social media and newly available means of making, transformed the way games are designed, discussed and played. With at least 2.2 billion players worldwide, the reach and range of gaming will be examined within creative online player communities who modify games and create fan art; spectators and competitive performers at large scale esports stadium events and surprising spaces of the niche DIY arcade scene. Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt builds on the V&A’s activity as a space for contemporary debate, which actively collects, displays and programmes digital design.
“There is a rich universality to videogames in contemporary culture. This is the right time for the V&A to be building on our active interest in videogames to investigate this exciting and varied design field at the intersection between technology, engineering and broader visual culture, presenting the influences, inspiration and debates that define it. There is a wealth of creativity to explore, from the craft of the studios to the innovation of the audience as players. The exhibition will provide a compelling insight into one of the most important design disciplines of our time.”
To coincide with the exhibition, the V&A is inviting applications for a Videogames Residency, from 15 October 2018 – 15 June 2019. The resident will be a UK-based artist, designer or maker involved in the videogames scene who wishes to develop their practice through working with the V&A’s curators and learning team to develop new work and engage with the public.