It goes without saying that video games are an art form in and of themselves.
From breathtaking visuals, technically extravagant visual storytelling, to heart-wrenching stories that will make even Academy Award-winning films blush, video games have truly transcended from being just a pastime. Who knew that a string of code (and a complex one, at that) could engage not just the mind, but the heart as well?
The latest exhibition at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed, takes you on a visceral journey on the sensory side of video games when it makes its international debut on 12 June.
Co-curated by game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Sega and Enhance fame, this showcase comprises six components, each of which are designed by established names in the gaming industry, and are based on six core themes. Each individual exhibition explores the theme in a way unique to the game designer’s vision, and involves one or two interactive parts that gamify the set-piece.
In a nutshell, here are the six exhibitions within Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed, along with the game developer and the design studios who collaborated on them:
- WALL, 2021 by Kojima Productions (makers of Death Stranding) and The Mill – a two-section exhibition celebrates the theme of CONNECTION where visitors interact with a wall that makes visual impressions on either side via moving particle and wave effects, and vice versa.
- Together: the distance between (us), 2021 by thatgamecompany (Sky: Children of the Light) and FIELD.IO – a spatial-based exhibition inspired by the theme of UNITY where visitors stand on four tiers of rings that give off light and music depending on where they stand. This exhibition is inspired by the theme of Unity.
- Dream Shaping, 2021 by Media Molecule (Dreams) and Marshmallow Laser Feast – this exhibition celebrates the theme of PLAY. Visitors take on the role of different geometric shapes and embark on an improvised performance while attempting to match shapes on the screen.
- Rezonance, 2021 by Enhance (Tetris Effect) and Rhizomatiks – based on the theme of SYNESTHESIA, this exhibition encourages visitors to bob and weave to the beat of a 5-minute music track as they hold a “seed” that pulses to the music as they move.
- Book of Sand, 2021 by Tequila Works (RiME) and The Workers – this exhibition takes on the theme of NARRATIVE as visitors embark on a visceral storytelling journey by stepping on spotlights at the right timings to shape the outcome of a moving and heart-wrenching story.
- Eye, 2021 by David OReilly (Everything) and onedotzero – exploring the theme of EVERYTHING, this exhibition is a scintillating feast for the eyes as visitors interact with a series of kaleidoscopic patterns by adjusting its ‘flow’, ‘scale’, and ‘warp’ by rotating different panels while a soothing soundtrack from the London Symphony Orchestra plays in the background.
“By creating these exciting new collaborations, Virtual Realms offers game developers a unique opportunity to break free from the constraints of consoles and formal game playing and really push the boundaries of how video games can be experienced together. This exhibition paves the way for a future where the world of games spills out beyond the screen,” said Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Co-curator of Virtual Realms and Founder of Enhance.
“We are delighted to be working with the Barbican in London on the world premiere of this extraordinary new exhibition at ArtScience Museum. Perfectly aligned with ArtScience Museum’s mission to explore the intersection of art, science, culture and technology, Virtual Realms brings cutting-edge videogames into a museum setting. It enables visitors to step inside worlds created by renowned video game developers. The six newly commissioned artworks at the heart of the exhibition take the form of stunning participative installations. By extending the story worlds, aesthetics and interactivity of well-known videogames into spatial environments, the exhibition offers a different kind of museum experience. It invites visitors to venture on a journey of light, music, contemplation and play, experiencing how contemporary videogames have truly become a 21st century cultural phenomena,” said Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum.
Having experienced the exhibitions at Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed in full, us at GameStart highly recommend that you give this excellent celebration of video games as art a go. Here’s what you need to know should you find some time with friends and family to visit it:
Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed
Availability: 12 June 2021 – 9 January 2021
Admission times: 10am – 7pm (last admission at 6pm)
Ticket prices: from S$12
You can learn more and make reservations at: https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum