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Miscellaneous > 17.4 Exhibition Design

It's Art in the Game

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One might sense a certain hesitance among Dutch museums, especially small ones, when it comes to creating exhibitions on the topic of ‘gaming’. Museum Hilversum wanted to break with this taboo and become one of the first smaller museums to explore the domain of gaming within the arts. From artwork based on games and games that are positioned as pieces of art, to the actual art of making games. After more than 50 years, the game industry has become one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. Nowadays multiple creative disciplines represented by graphic designers, musicians, filmmakers, screenwriters and programmers are developing the most diverse kind of video games. Games are influencing our daily life, deal with social issues and form an growing source of inspiration for artists. The exhibition, ‘It’s Art in the Game’ in Museum Hilversum highlighted various contemporary artists and was a showcase for an international selection of art games by renown artists such as Joost van Dongen, Pippin Barr and Jonakin Hunter. Strange Attractors Design was commissioned to design the identity as well as the exhibition and bridge the gap between the museums historical vault and its contemporary ambitions. In order to do so we came up with several solutions. For example, we developed two ‘Collection Games’; ‘Goose Hunt‘ (*) and ‘Dudok Chair Snake’ which could both be played while standing in the middle of the artworks and design objects. We designed a typeface ‘Dudok Raadhuis’ based on the type found in the City Hall of Hilversum (designed by Dudok) which we applied in contemporary settings. We also objectified a number of 8bit prizes/objects from classic computer games that we put on display next to artifacts designed by Dudok. As ‘finissage’ of the exhibition ‘It’s Art in the Game’ a symposium was organized, called ‘It’s Design in the Game’, during which several speakers including programmers, curators, designers and critics discussed the role and importance of games and design in art and the museum. The accompanying ‘bookazine’ we designed especially for the occasion gives insight into topics such as the changing role of the visitor of museums (from passive viewers to participants), the stimulating frictions caused by the introduction of game elements into the context of fine art, as well as the influence of technology on the perception of beauty.
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(*)
Goose Hunt is one of two interactive games (‘Collection Games’) which transforms the traditional experience of viewing artwork in a museum into a routine of play by referencing the ease of interaction and engagement of classic gaming. Inspired by M.C. Escher’s woodcut ‘Day and Night’ (1938), which depicts the flight of a flock of geese, and Nintendo’s classic video game ‘Duck Hunt’ (1984), the personal gaming experience is elevated to an environmental proportion of interaction. It exists across two adjacent walls for 30 square meters of gameplay surface.
This unconventional approach to exhibition design triggered otherwise passive visitors to interact with the content, becoming active participants in the exhibition. Positioned adjacent to Escher’s woodcut, the interactive component allowed an entry into the traditional aesthetic experience and offered a coherence of vision expressed in contrasting, yet equally valid, representations. The familiarity and intuitive operation of Wii controllers was not only utilized, but expanded upon. Our research led us to develop, design and fabricate modules which could project high resolution infrared markers (IR), invisible to human vision, on the interior architecture. This development enabled interaction up to 10 meters, elevating couch potatoes to museum performers. Visitors of all ages and interests shared the experience; for some it was their first video game and for others, their first visit to a museum.

Agency
Credits
  • Creative Directors Strange Attractors Design: Catelijne van Middelkoop and Ryan Pescatore Frisk
  • Art Directors Strange Attractors Design: Catelijne van Middelkoop and Ryan Pescatore Frisk
  • Designers Strange Attractors Design: Catelijne van Middelkoop and Ryan Pescatore Frisk
  • Illustrators Strange Attractors Design: Catelijne van Middelkoop and Ryan Pescatore Frisk
  • Photographers
  • Editors Strange Attractors Design: Catelijne van Middelkoop and Ryan Pescatore Frisk
  • Copywriters
  • Assistant Developer (Goose Hunt) Dave Young
  • Game Development Strange Attractors Design: Catelijne van Middelkoop and Ryan Pescatore Frisk
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