Exhibition Strategies for Videogames in Art Institutions: Blank Arcade 2016

Emilie M Reed


While debate over videogames’ cultural status can still become contentious, theorist Bruce Altshuler describes the contemporary exhibition form as a route into art history, and exhibitions of videogames and their display choices have already drawn videogames into the discursive construction of the history of art. Therefore, contextualizing past exhibitions of videogames and examining curatorial practices is a vital part of shaping an interdisciplinary history of videogames. This paper summarizes my research and practical work in games curation within this context through a case study of The Blank Arcade 2016,
specifically focusing on unexpected ways spectatorship and interaction coexist in videogame exhibitions. By reviewing the process of exhibition organization and the resulting visitor feedback, and finding intersections in game studies and contemporary art perspectives on tensions between spectatorship and interaction, I reflect on the effectiveness of the present curatorial process at addressing the varied ways gallery visitors experience videogames as an art object or aesthetic experience.


Art games, art history, curation, game exhibitions

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26503/todigra.v4i2.91
Published by the Digital Games Research Association.