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Venice, Italy, 13 June 2011
On June 4, THE major event for contemporary fine art, the Venice Biennial, opened with a remarkable premiere: an officially recognized collateral event entirely devoted to video games. Italian art critic and curator Debora Ferrari is the master mind behind Neoludica. And the work of Belgian independent game developers Tale of Tales is presented prominently in the exhibition.
The Neoludica exhibition takes place in two locations. In the Centro Culturale Candiani in Mestre, commercial game consoles and video game history artifacts introduce the audience to the context of games culture. While in Sala Laneri, the exhibition focuses on the work of independent artists.
"Ironically, there are only a few playable video games in this exhibition," Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn (Tale of Tales) observe during the opening in Sala Laneri. "Most of the works on display are simply works of fine art that appropriate elements from video games, much like Duchamp famously appropriated a urinal almost 100 years ago.
Still, the presence of even a few artistic games in this prestigious event will probably become a historic mile stone in the recognition of the medium as a new art form."
Next to "The Path" by Tale of Tales, Molleindustria's "Every day the same dream" and Santa Ragione's "Fotonica" are on display in Sala Laneri, as are the games-related art works by Mikayel Ohanjanyan, Miltos Manetas, Eva&Franco Mattes et al. The Mestre part of the show features a large collection of prints of Lorne Lanning's "Oddworld" series as well as playable game consoles running Gears of War, Ico, and so on.
To celebrate the occasion, Tale of Tales have bundled their major games on a special limited edition USB stick that can be purchased from their online store. The drive contains both PC and Mac versions of The Path, The Graveyard and Fatale, and several extras.
Tale of Tales is an independent development studio dedicated to the exploration of video games as a mature artistic medium, founded in Belgium by Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn in 2002. Their work is available for download from tale-of-tales.com and distributors like Steam, Direct2Drive and the App Store. They are currently working on a prototype for a new version of their first, never published, game "8".
"Neoludica. Art is a Game 2011-1966" can be visited until November 27 in Scuola dei Laneri, Sala Laneri, Santa Croce 131/131/A and until October
31 in Centro Culturale Candiani, Mestre in Venice, Italy.