The exhibition project "GameOn!" deals with the phenomenon of playing and is intended to connect the most diverse forms of play with the world of art in a multi-layered way. The aim is to open up as many playful approaches and artistic fields of research as possible.
The exhibition thus addresses many possible questions. How does playful interaction open up new fields of tension in art reception and art production? How are the aesthetics of familiar play formats reflected in works of art? Can social and societal realities be reflected and parabolised in play?
In addition to analogue artworks and games, virtual realities (VR) will also occupy their space in the exhibition. How can works be created and played with digitally? What creative potential and what possibilities for reflection lie in computer gaming?
"The built environment and urban planning ideologies are common themes throughout Elizabeth Charnock's practice. Spatial relationships inform her work at all scales – from entire cities and street scenes, to the seemingly banal small structures which permeate our surroundings. By referencing a large body of documentary photography, Charnock mentally collages multiple urban elements into imagined environments, which are meticulously rendered with multiple layers of ink on paper. The drawings in turn act as the reference for architectural models, sculpted mostly from ceramics or polymer clay.
Charnock's work often captures moments ‘in-between’ – miniature snapshots of tranquility before or after human activity. The scenes she creates inhabit realms that are entirely fictional, yet instantly recognisable. The uninhabited spaces evoke feelings of isolation, offering familiarity – but only at a distance – whilst inviting the viewer to reassess their own sense of place within these miniature worlds." (Myles Cook)
When entering the underground, noise and a gush of wind will welcome you while descending the stairs venturing downwards. As you travel the mind tends to wander off and looks for the window to stare in to the distant until it becomes blurry and your imagination starts to take over. But in the dark inner tubes of the metro there is no place for yearning and looking out of the window. The windows of the metro offer no view to horizons or fantasies, but only dark tunnels occasionally broken by the harsh light and bright colours of the stops.
As we use the underground to travel, we enter a world of tunnels that used to be a place only visited in stories and tales. We rush through these tunnels going from one point to another unaware of the fables and creatures that inhabited this place. Fernweh is a videogame about one of these creatures, the Tatzelwurm. A lizard like creature that roams around the Alpes. The player can discover the tunnels of the Tatzelwurm and travel through them together with the other creatures inhabiting this domain.
Have you experienced the child in you today? This question is a fundamental concept throughout all of Ellen DeElaine's works. Touching, playing and puzzling along are clearly desired here: the egg cozy becomes the game of life, the QR code becomes a labyrinth. Can you find a way out before it's too late?
Participating instead of just looking – the artist has long ago internalized this principle and in doing so demonstrates particular courage for spontaneity. She prefers to be intuitively inspired by the conditions of a room, thus creating an installation piece on the spot. She passes on an apparently 'finished' piece, and allows it to be edited by others. But what to do with a painting that you no longer like? DeElaine's answer: She just flips it and creates a new playground for herself - like in the form of an oversized backgammon game.
Renaud Héléna plays with games and theater codes to evoke a faded magic and situate a world between reality and fiction. He conceives games as opportunities for audience engagement. The proposed actions refer to conversation games, hidden identity games, or management tools. He explores the worlds of commercial, public and domestic space, when desire circulates between commercial artificiality and search for authenticity. Ambiguity reigns, from one medium to another, the status of the works sometimes pieces, sometimes furniture, making identification more difficult.
In her artistic work, Mara Heuer explores the oddities of action figures, cuddly toys and all kinds of other toys. In doing so, she moves thematically for the most part in pop culture worlds of the past. In countless serial reappraisals, Heuer thus translates the toy worlds into new contexts in which repetition, alienation or the aspect of the collection always revolve around themes such as personal memory, fun and consumer culture or nostalgia.
"Here comes the sun" is a short virtual reality experience built upon a memory from a day at an Austrian wine tavern. The birds are singing, sun rays are beaming and the wine never tasted better. It's the first day out after many months of lockdown. Joy and laughter compete with one another to suppress the ghastly past. A sudden event pokes at us to test whether we are still the same or if something has changed.
"Toys 'R' Going Nuts" imagines a world in which playground equipment comes to life. The installation uses materials from the playground. On the other hand, the digital play creatures, in their appearance and material composition, are not linked to any real specifications. The aim is to investigate play worlds as sensual spaces of experience (from children's memories).
Nets implicate a contrary dynamic full of suspense: when falling, one can be stuck in it, as well as being rescued. Like in sports when a ball gets caught in the net, it either means loss or win.
The series Hyperfemininity II is inspired by male dominated sports like basketball or table tennis.
I vary between different nets from different sports in this series.
Because of the implementation of real human hair extensions in the series Hyperfemininity II, these sport objects, like a basketball basket, a soccer goal, or a ping pong table – which are predominantly attributed as manly in the European cultural sphere – become humanized, to be specific, effeminate.
The nets I knot, which would in an active play successively dissolve, build a reference to the fragile constructs of gender identities.
Stormy Night is an interactive game in which the viewer chooses their path inside a three-dimensional space. Each room hides one of the story chapters. Navigating their way through a sleepless night, the participants unfold a flexible narrative, questioning the online space, linear thinking and truth. The multi-layered story reveals the tension between the personal inner world and the outside virtual one, while the journey through the sculptural architecture resembles the labyrinth of online information. In between reality and fiction, processed media images from the physical and virtual world peep through the windows.
Normally, W.N. van Ravenhorst's installations are huge site-specific spatial drawings, which directly react to the space in which they are made, focussing on the process of interaction, redefinition and signification. In the smaller 3D works on show at the GameON exhibition, the space as a whole has been replaced by spatially interesting, mathematically inspired predesigned frameworks. For these works, van Ravenhorst has taken the playful, interactive and processional element of her work as a starting point. Instead of the redefinion and alternative experience of a certain space, the emphasis in these works is on the process of construction - and thus signification - itself. Visitors are invited to alter the spatial line drawings themselves and to make their own constructions within the framework.
I barge in and de-bury the long forgotten. Heaps and mounds, hills to be found, notes and drawings, scraps of thought. Archaic tendencies in the making. It's all fun and games, but on a serious note. Series of notes. Grotesque! But i need the archive for.
For to act as if is the basis for all play. The basis even for thinking up futures, for planning ahead. I live as if tomorrow my head will still be in the right place. Now it is but a small step towards the total relativisation of play. Everything is play, as long as one pretends it is.
Wait a minute.
Every sign says no, but I act as if they proclaimed a yes. Programming reality, kicking of allegories towards the Matrix, Oceans Eleven of life even – but then, who is on your team?
Spaceship earth as if-ed the assumption, that we're all on the same page. Big narrative, and a wild one at that. What does a human do with a human of different attitude? There is no gear that runs smoothly by any means. Still, the machines keep running like silk, exactly because they adopted the as if. Olympic records set in the 80s are unmatched to this day, because doping during the cold war as if-ed a whole new necessity.
A bit far fetched from the realms of science fiction, but orcs from WH40K with their psyonic abilities are closest to the absolute power of as if. A car painted red goes faster, there's no doubt about that.
Just look at the fire trucks!
Salvage work. I plant myself in it, leaning on my thoughts. For the sake of a good text I pretend as if I were comfortable. An interesting perspective opens up from this here position. When everything is seen as a game, different rules open up, goals transform, previously unthinkable vectors of action emerge. I associate safety and fear with gameification. I am confident that it will always be that way. At least I act as if it will.
After all, there is no test run.
15 October - 20 November 2022
Friday, 14 October, 6 - 10 pm
Sunday, 20 November, 5 pm
Glenn de Cock
Line Finderup Jensen
Maria Kobylenko & Raiko Sanchez
Jule Tabea Martin
W.N. van Ravenhorst
Concept and organisation: Stefan Brock, Cornelius Grau, Raiko Sanchez
Images works: © the artists
Images opening: © JS/Künstlerhaus Dortmund
Kindly supported by: Kulturbüro Dortmund, Sparkasse Dortmund, DEW21