RogerBW's Blog

Computers at the V&A 07 November 2018

The Victoria and Albert Museum was having two computer-related exhibitions. Images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

The first was Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers, which was mostly early computer art from the 1960s and 1970s. Of particular relevance was Cybernetic Serendipity, a show at the ICA in 1968; the V&A bought many of the static pieces when that show closed.

Manfred Mohr's P-122, P-155, P-049 and P-021, exploring shapes derived from the cube.

Andy Lomas' Cellular Form 170070025 based on a cell growth simulator.

Rather more recent, Mark Wilson's e4708, with a surprising depth to it.

Then it was on to Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, which was largely about the design process, but (given that it's the V&A) on an entirely non-technical level. It was definitely aimed more at artists than at people who knew anything about video games (with a certain defensive "video games can be art too" feel about it which everyone else accepted at least ten years ago). That said, it did a good job of presenting the artistic side.

Storyboard for Journey

Avatar clothing, and merchandising, for Splatoon.

Surprisingly physical design tools (they were very reluctant to show anything like computer-based design).

The overall layout of the main room, with mesh screens dividing the areas.

The exhibition continued with a small display on political implications (very basic, and mostly mentioning the good stuff rather than the endless stream of "blow away non-white people" shooters), and a large screen with a loop of various things inspired by games (fan art, massive organisations within games that arose spontaneously rather than being enforced by the code, etc.).

A driving simulator based on an actual wrecked car.

And of course the inevitable post-display shop.

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