The exhibition ‘Homo Ludens’ addresses videogames from an anthropological and artistic point of view

The CaixaForum Barcelona opens a new exhibition. Is about ‘Homo Ludens. Videogames to understand the present ‘, which aims to analyze the phenomenon of videogames as an industry, communication medium and artistic expression in today’s society. The sample is for all audiences, it is not only directed to the gamers, but is approached from an anthropological perspective and a multidisciplinary approach. The exhibition explains the multifaceted complexity of video games.

‘Homo Ludens’ is the last show of the year at CaixaForum and It can be visited until April 18. This exhibition has already been exhibited in Madrid, where it was visited by more than 50,000 people.

Anthropology and videogames

Games have always been part of our society. As the deputy general director of the Fundación la Caixa, Elisa Durán, points out, games have always existed. The toys found in archaeological finds show that, for centuries, human beings began to use them at a young age to pass the time, learn and socialize. “The game is present in life,” emphasizes Durán, who also states that, Until the creation of the algorithms, the game had always been free.

If there is one thing that technology has done, it is to make games a phenomenon. Video games are more than entertainment, they are also culture and art. Video games can also define us individually and collectively. The curator of the exhibition, Luca Carrubba, explains that players put our identity in them and that the way we play also identifies us. “Playing makes us belong to a community“, deepens the commissioner.

Video games are also spectacle and both Durán and Carrubba exemplify it with the e-sports (electronic sports). Carrubba also describes the games as “articulators of conscience, values ​​and, likewise, negative attitudes”. Sometimes games can also teach and normalize negative attitudes, such as gender-based violence. The curator highlights one of the works by Agustina Isidori, which focuses on the children’s song ‘Don Federico’, a clear example of gender violence.

Durán relates that when we play, we are participating in a fictional world, a parallel reality. However, “there are people who conceive fiction as reality and reality as fiction”, he develops.

The exhibition

Durán expresses that ‘Homo Ludens’ is designed to be “reflective, participatory, current and innovative”. “It combines art, design and science” to show to what extent “the identity of societies, relationships between humans and, ultimately, all aspects of life have changed,” adds the deputy director general.

In the sample you can see 58 pieces from 36 creators of different games, artists and experts, each with their own different approach and style. There are some works, such as that of the Catalan Mónica Riki & cacute;, which were thought and created for ‘Homo Ludens’. Some others have also been adapted. “We have been working hand in hand with all the creators exposed”, assures Carrubba.

The initial room is, as in all video games, the lobbie, that is distributing to the assistants by all the rooms. “We go in, we go out, we stop to reflect,” explains Carrubba. “It is the backbone, the DNA of the exhibition.” At lobbie are the five systems or mechanics of the games defined by the commissioner.

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In ‘Homo Ludens’, there is no single itinerary. Visitors are the ones who decide what to see at all times and how much time to dedicate to each space. What’s more, the tour through the rooms is interactive. Each of the attendees can have a kind of chip – called ‘Coin’ by the organizers – with which to answer some questions. At the end of the exhibition, visitors can discover what kind of player they are.

According to Carrubba, the exhibition is designed to create engagement and retention. That is are video game strategies are brought to life and there is a gamificación O gamification.

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