Computer games have become one of the world’s leading cultural economies. Although they initially provoked distrust, especially because of fears about addiction, physical risks or violent content, today they are largely integrated into the lives of a majority of users, whether on a console or smartphone.
Logically, several creators have sought to try new ways to divert the playful dimension of the medium. Therefore, when we talk about serious games, we are referring to creations with challenges that are pedagogical, documentary or engaged. More broadly, some games take advantage of their popular potential to promote alternative social or political content.
The interactive exhibition- until the 23 of February, Games And Politics, brings together 18 computer games created in the last fifteen years and with explicitly political and social content. Visitors are invited to play all games on tablets, computers or smartphones incorporated into the exhibition. They are grouped around six themes: migration, media, war, public opinion, power and gender identity.
Through them, the exhibition invites visitors to reconsider the thought-provoking potential of the video game: what would you do if you had to control a border crossing? Survive in the ruins of a civil war? Govern a country? Follow hormonal treatment for a sex change?
This presentation of social issues, as well as the ability to make political decisions and defend opinions in the
games, represents a reversal within the leisure industry.
Hosting of this project created by the Goethe Institute and the Karlsruhe Art and Media Centre (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, ZKM) in an art centre makes us confront our position as spectators. This time, the exhibition will only work if we actively participate in it: role playing is essential for the content to make sense. Whether it’s computer games or fine arts, even if the mediums are clearly different, the issues largely overlap.
GAMES AND POLITICS is a project created by the Goethe Institute in collaboration with the ZKM / Zentrum für
Kunst und Medien (art and media centre) in Karlsruhe.
The video game is now the most popular medium for people under 25, yet it is treated in a moralistic way by mainstream media, seems absent from school curricula and remains the poor relation of media education. This while he raises crucial questions about representations of gender, relationship to the world, political models … Daniel Bonvoisin and Martin Culot return to these questions as well as their work of training educational actors on these hot topics
While video games have long since emerged from a niche cultural practice, more and more voices are emerging to criticize conservative content and an overly homogeneous industry of young heterosexual white men from privileged backgrounds. The game, a political issue?
A round table of Belgian game designers to question the political ideas, the genres, the industry and the rights of its workers, the equality, its representations.
For more information regarding the program, please visit their website.
– Free entrance from Tuesday to Saturday, from 11AM to 6PM – Mediation every Wednesday afternoon and Saturdays
Jeanette Neustadt (Goethe-institut)
In 2016, Dr. Jeannette Neustadt-Grusche, created the exhibition «Games and Politcs», exhibition of the Goethe-Institut and ZKM, which has been tourned in more than fifteen countries ever since.
She works at the Goethe-Institut in Munich as Head of Touring Exhibitions, Observer of the German Cultural Scene, and Exhibition Consultant for the Goethe Institutes around the world. She has published the catalog «Games and Politics» in 2016 as well as «Ökonomische Ästhetik und Markenkult» (2011) with transcript Verlag editions.
Stephan Schwingeler (ZKM),
Stephan Schwingeler, born in 1979 in Dortmund, is an art historian and media specialist. Since 2018, he is a Professor of Media Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim, Holzminden and Göttingen. His areas of research include video games. He is one of the most important pioneers at an international level of games studies, in which they are considered a relevant art form. In 2013, he got his doctorate thanks to his thesis on the artistic modifications of video games. He has organized numerous exhibitions and written publications on the subject.
Julien Annart (FOr’J),
Seconded to FOr’J, Julien Annart is the creator of the first Belgian exhibition space dedicated to video games, trainer and author of a manual in video game pedagogy, columnist with RTBF, organizer of the Belgian festival of professionals of the video game industry and regularly requested by the Walloon Region and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation on these issues.