Out of Bounds
Still from The Grannies (2019) using visuals captured from Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar Games (2018)
Stories & Ideas

Tue 03 Oct 2023

Videogames as performance – Marie Foulston in conversation with Jini Maxwell

Art Talk Videogames
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Your museum of screen culture

Like a tree falling silently in an empty forest, what is a videogame if no one is there to play it?

In this conversation, Jini Maxwell (ACMI) sits down with playful curator Marie Foulston, the creative director of The Grannies (2019), to consider the creativity of videogame players, streamers – and viewers. From fine artworks to collaborative Twitch streams, from the fervent commentators of Kaizo Mario at Games Done Quick to Shakespeare performances in Grand Theft Auto Online, Jini and Marie look at five very different examples of player-performers.

This conversation proposes that playing videogames is a collaborative act of creation. Each playthrough is a performance that puts players in conversation with game makers, sometimes in artistic, insightful, humorous or provocative – even jaw dropping – ways. Each performance is unique, changed by the hardware a game is played on, the environment and point in time in which it is experienced, and the identity, history and intentions of the player.

Rather than focusing on the creativity of the game designers, they hone in on the creativity of the player-performers who are bending the rules, the expectations, and even the code of popular videogames, giving their enthusiastic, and often participatory, viewers new insights into what it means to play.

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