Video Games at the Metropolitan Museum of Art #ArtTuesday

Thankfully, there is now a definitive answer to the question of whether or not video games are art. As has been clearly proven by Marcel Duchamp’s commode sculpture “Fountain,” anything that makes its way into an art gallery is art. Years ago the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired a number of video games, including Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, and EVE Online. Even if MOMA wants to call them “examples of interaction design,” we all know that these are video games. Now, MOMA has a new exhibition focused on new acquisitions that include the enigmatic work Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy.

As our devices like to remind us, we spend a huge portion of our lives in digital worlds. The interfaces we use to access them—from Zoom to FaceTime, WhatsApp to Discord, Roblox to Fortnite—are visual and tactile manifestations of code that both connect and separate us, and shape the way we behave and perceive others. Yet like other ubiquitous tools, interfaces are seldom recognized as design. This exhibition brings together notable examples of interaction design, a field that considers the points of contact between objects—whether machines, apps, or entire infrastructures—and people.

…Games range from global staples such as Tetris and Pac-Man, to immersive explorations of the natural world, like Flower, or records of indigenous traditions and culture, like Never Alone, to forays into the absurd like Everything Is Going to Be OK. These works remind us that while the digital realm has different, and often untested, rules of engagement, interaction design can transform our behaviors—from the way we experience and move our bodies to the ways we conceive of space, time, and relationships.

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