Selected Works from Game Room 2012
Game Room was birthed from a conversation between exhibition curator Allison Agsten and artist and UCLA Design & Media Arts Department Professor Eddo Stern. They were speaking about changes in the world of gaming in the last five years. As Agsten noted when speaking to a dozen visitors, “If I asked how many games were amongst us in 2007, the answer would have been one or two. Maybe one person would have a crossword puzzle rolled up in their back pocket, maybe not. Today, the answer could be fifty. What changed? The iPhone was introduced five years ago.”
Now, many of us carry at least a few games with us at all times. Gaming has moved from a social practice to one that can be very isolating. Game Room deliberately looks to an earlier tradition of analog, multiplayer games. The works in the installation are meant to be touched and played. Visitors are welcome to spend five minutes in the gallery or the entire afternoon. The range of games is broad. On one side of the gallery we have Sarah Bay Williams’s piñatas, which act as a confrontation of death and ephemerality. Then there is Noa P. Kaplan’s examination of the food production system in the United States with Subsidized. Alexis Smith’s Playing Cards, Made in U.S.A. take a traditional deck of playing cards and modify them to add another layer of meaning. There is also a game that may be played outside of the four walls of the museum, and a brochure that doubles as a work of art that visitors may handle, amongst others.
-Miriam Newcomer, communications fellow, based on the Lunchtime Art Talk given by Allison Agsten, curator, Public Engagement on December 5, 2012.