News - Videogames at the V & A


This Friday (25th) sees the first Friday Late at the V&A of 2019 which will explore the future of gaming and how makers and players are challenging the notion of what play can be in the 21st century...

Press Release

 Inspired by the V&A's current exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, visitors will solve riddles to find their way out of an escape room, work together to decode a puzzle of dancers and play newly commissioned videogames that are being showcased for the first time. During Friday Late: All to Play For visitors will also have the chance to visit the critically acclaimed exhibition for a special one-off price of £5 (usually £18).

Earlier in the day, the V&A will also host Parallel Worlds: Videogame Design and Culture, an annual one day international conference will take place on the design and culture of videogames and playful immersive worlds. This ticketed event will bring together talks from leading designers and thinkers whose works spans independent and blockbuster videogames, controller design, escape rooms and theme park rides. More information on booking tickets can be found here.

Friday Late: All to Play For – Programme highlights:

• To coincide with the exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, the V&A has commissioned three leading international independent designers to each develop a new digital playable work: Oceanarium by Paloma Dawkins, In the Pause between the Ringing by Studio Oleomingus and 29 Steps by Kitty Calis and Jan Willem Nijman. These commissions will premiere at Friday Late and will be available for free online here shortly after. These commissions are intended to extend the exhibition’s theme of ‘disruption’ and to support the work of independent designers whose work pushes the boundaries of videogame design. Each of the commissioned designers were tasked with creating a game that could either be a one-off vignette game or a playable prototype that explored a larger idea or concept. Beyond this the designers were free to explore whatever genres, ideas or subject matters they chose.

• STACK is a playful and interactive dance-puzzle choreographed by Janine Harrington with sound design by Jamie Forth. STACK behaves like an open-ended game where dancers amass and scatter in various configurations following a logic to be discovered by the audience through their own positions in space.

• Black Girl Gamers is an online platform dedicated to heightening black women's voices in gaming and promoting diversity and inclusion in the gaming industry. Gaming is experienced in all different walks of life, but its culture has long been considered a monolith. The rise of social media has brought new diverse experiences and narratives to the surface that are challenging the status quo. Black Girl Gamers talks to a new wave of innovators who are diversifying gaming culture in their own way.

• The Xbox Adaptive Controller was designed primarily to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility and was built from the ground up through strong partnerships with charities and many community members. Input from these groups has helped shape the design, functionality and packaging of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Visitors will play a selection of popular video games in this live demonstration of the controller, which was acquired by the V&A as part of its Rapid Response Collecting programme in September 2018.

• Robin Baumgarten's newest experimental, playable platform Wobble Garden is made of bright LED rings, door stopper springs and a variety of interactive modes – an installation somewhere between a video game, toy, and interactive art installation. Visitors will explore the platform alongside early prototypes of Wobble Garden.

• Eli Rainsberry: l i m i t is a collaborative and interactive sound art performance where visitors are invited to direct the soundscape. Visitors will have the chance to select words which set different limitations for sound artist Eli to play with and sit in and hear the improvisational soundscape change with accompanying geometric visuals.

The commissions Oceanarium by Paloma Dawkins, In the Pause between the Ringing by Studio Oleomingus and 29 Steps by Kitty Calis and Jan Willem Nijman will be premiering as part of Friday Late and they will be available for free online shortly after that at: vam.ac.uk/articles/play-videogame-commissions 




V&A Friday Late: All to Play For 25 January 2019; 18.30 – 22.00 
Admission free Special Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt price £5 
Full programme available at vam.ac.uk/friday-late

Image - artwork by Yuk Fun for Parallel Worlds Programme Cover