do it!

load it!
6 Oct 2011

7:30 pm – 8:15 pm: Introduction + Panel Discussion
8:15 pm – 11:00 pm: Games throughout the museum

Location: Auditorium, museum café, and galleries, Temporary Stedelijk 2 
Entrance: Free with a valid museum ticket
Language: English
Reservation: required for the Introduction and Panel Discussion

Moderation: Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Virtueel Platform, HKU Games & Interactie )

This special Do It! event revolves around the presentation of three video games developed by visual artists in collaboration with game designers: 

Sollmann (Part 1: The Harbour) by Marcel van Eeden and Jorrit de Vries
FLX. by Han Hoogebrugge and Sander van der Vegte
Styleclash – The Painting Machine Construction Kit by Jochem van der Spek.

These three short games are the tangible result of “A Split Second,” a three-year research project initiated by the Stedelijk Museum and Submarine Channel, which explores the concept of artistic authorship within the context of video games by fostering cross-disciplinary collaborations between visual artists and game designers. The project started in 2008, when the Stedelijk and Submarine Channel received the DING! Award (awarded by the Media Fund, Virtueel Platform and Fund BKVB) for the initial plan for “A Split Second.” 

Auxpulse (Michael Vultoo (Sinqlogue) and Ruger Muller (DS-10 Dominator)) will be the residence-DJ of the evening and during Load It! they will present the first album of their collective Nintendo DS-act.

The evening begins with a panel discussion, during which experts from the field of gaming and contemporary art discuss how games should be positioned and exhibited in a museum context. 

After that, the floor is yours to experience Gone, FLX., and Styleclash – The Painting Machine Construction Kit first-hand. We also invite you to explore a modest selection of recent games, such as Portal 2, Echocrome 2, The Path, and Limbo, which will be exhibited in game booths as playful interventions in the various rooms in the museum. See what the 21st century remake of Pacman looks like, contemplate the mind-bending game mechanics of first-person puzzle game Portal 2, navigate your way through spaces that would make Escher’s head spin in Echochrome 2, and be sure to get killed before going to the next level in Limbo. Load It! Plug in and come play with us!

Games in the Stedelijk
The Stedelijk Museum has a long tradition of presenting new developments in art and visual culture. One of the most remarkable phenomena in contemporary culture is the expansive growth of gaming. Whereas the film and art worlds often overlap, the gaming industry and contemporary art often seem poles apart. In 2006, the Stedelijk deliberately began bridging these cultural domains by organizing the exhibition Next Level and initiating a collaboration with the influential new media lab Submarine Channel. This resulted in the three game projects that are presented at Load It! Over the course of a series of meetings, workshops, and presentations that took place in 2009, three acclaimed Dutch artists paired up with game designers to create video games that investigate games as a medium of artistic expression. With these projects, the Stedelijk intends to actively explore the relationship between a modern and contemporary art collection and contemporary media art practices.

Three Projects
Visual artist Marcel van Eeden and game developer Jorrit De Vries created a short, first-person, 3-D mystery game that challenges preconceived notions of the traditional game avatar. In Gone, the main character gets poisoned at the start of the game and gradually loses his ability to see, hear, and move. Set in a 1940s WWII harbor, the game's narrative, main characters, and most significant objects such as the ship Cornelia Maas, were adapted from previous projects by van Eeden, tying the game with van Eeden's larger body of work. Van Eeden's analog pencil drawings have been painstakingly translated to a 3-D game environment by Jorrit De Vries. 

Visual artist and game designer Jochem van der Spek created Styleclash – The Painting Machine Construction Kit, a competitive abstract drawing game for the iPad. The player controls a virtual drawing machine whose main properties can be manipulated to influence the machine's visually expressive output. By moving the iPad, a camera circles around the machine, offering the player the chance to observe the machine’s movements. In the final version for the iPad 2, two players will battle against each other for stylistic dominance  over the “painting” in a “style clash.” 

Multimedia artist Han Hoogebrugge has developed a unique game on a multiplayer platform. In FLX., each player controls a character, and each character is physically connected to the other. Thus, players are forced to collaborate without any possible means of oral or written communication in order to navigate through a series of linked spaces. Like playing poker, the behavior of each fellow player is the only sign of communication.  

The Museum: The Right Context for Games?
Games and interactive works are gaining popularity in the arts. In addition, games – as a contemporary art medium – are becoming increasingly visible in museum galleries, for example in the exhibitions Talk To Me (Museum of Modern Art, 2011), Games – Kunst und Politik der Spiele (Kunsthalle Wien, 2008), and Next Level (Stedelijk Museum, 2006). Games are often perceived as an extension of new media, while their specific properties require an equally specific and unique methodology of interpretation and contextualization. But with regard to museums, how games can be positioned, exhibited, and collected within art institutions? Does this kind of museum practice already have a history, and what can be expected of the future?  Should or could a museum be a place for playing games? In order to contextualize the games presented at Load It!, the evening will start with an expert panel discussion, featuring speakers such as Matthias Fuchs (game pioneer, curator, and senior lecturer at Salford University), Steven Poole (journalist and author of Trigger Happy: The Inner Life of Videogames), Isabelle Arvers (curator specializing in art and video games), Bart Rutten (curator at the Stedelijk Museum), Bruno Felix (director of Submarine Channel), and others. 

The projects produced by Submarine Channel and the Stedelijk Museum were made with the support of the Game Fund (an initiative of the Media Fund and the Fund BKVB), SNS REAAL Fund, and VSB Fund.