Games may provide new ways for museums to have a profound impact on society if they are designed, as alternate-reality games are, to change people’s real-world behavior. -Dr. Jane McGonigal
WoW: Emergent Media Phenomenon explored various forms of cultural production based on World of Warcraft® in particular and on gaming in general. While surveying Warcraft’s Fifteen-year history, the exhibition looked at artistic practices that have been influenced by game culture. The actual works by the producer of World of Warcraft®, Blizzard Entertainment® (headquartered in Irvine, California), provided a starting point and reference.
Fourteen international artists were selected to consider this movement. These works looked at elements of desire, the collapse of fantasy, medievalism, creative critiques, and public intervention. Artists in this exhibition took on the visual marker of World of Warcraft® to consider, implications of gaming, and their greater impact on our culture. In addition to the works of these artists, fan art and the growing culture of machinima (computer animation that uses the graphic engines from video games) was explored in this exhibition.
Gaming is a movement that encompasses a large population and holds the potential to greatly impact society. Jane McGonigal, a game designer and researcher, states, “This is a new generation of hard-core gamers, and what they’re doing is generating unprecedented participation bandwidth. They are donating more cognitive cycles, more heart share to game worlds and virtual worlds than we’ve seen dedicated to any project before.” The artists in this exhibition extended these concerns.
The exhibition was curated by Grace Kook-Anderson with assistance from Blizzard’s curator Tim Campbell and artist Eddo Stern. This exhibition was generously supported by Blizzard Entertainment®, the Samia Family and Tierzero.
Participating artists: selected artists from Blizzard Entertainment®, including Chris Metzen, Sam Didier (a.k.a., Samwise), Chris Robinson, Justin Thavirat, and Roman Kenney; Aram Bartholl; Jorg Dubin; RSG; Jacqueline Goss; Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, Tale of Tales; Cyril Kuhn; Antoinette LaFarge; Mashallah Design and Linda Kostowski; Robert Nideffer and Alex Szeto; Airyka Rockefeller; Anne-Marie Schleiner; Eddo Stern; The Third Faction; and Zeng Han.
“WoW is the most sophisticated happiness engine that exists now.”-Dr. Jane McGonigal
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