Art marries tech at Khoj exhibition

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Technology and gaming work in tandem, but when art blends in, it creates a surreal narrative. That’s what the third edition of Khoj International Artists’ Association has tried to convey in a show titled “Of Games-III”.

The artists in the show have produced works on six topics through an array of board games and digital games. Some of the topics include the Indian political system, the refugee crisis in Europe and even the Kashmir issue.

“It is an attempt to push the boundaries of contemporary art practice by exploring the burgeoning culture of ‘art games’ within game development. Art Games defy and critically engage established tenets of gaming experience by breaking down traditional game mechanics, incorporating notions of identity, identification, experientiality, immersion into the structures of game making,” said Promona Sengupta, the curator at Khoj.

The event is a result of a six weeks of brainstorming at the Khoj Studios in New Delhi. The participating artists include Chinmayee Samant, Juliusz Zenkner (Poland), Krishnarjun Bhattacharya, Leonardo Castaneda (US). Others working as a team are Mario D’Souza and Sanket Jadia; and Thukral and Tagra.

The attempt has an underlying theme of community. Samant, who has over a decade’s experience in design, has worked with user experience (UX), interface design, wire-framing and branding, using visual art as a catalyst.

“The Indian government’s structure is ambiguous to Indians. My project looks towards decoding and understanding conversations between the system and the common man. The game’s objective is to increase the interest level of the player in complex political and social changes through a light and fun based game play,” Samant told IANS.

Zenkner’s work is on the anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric resonating in Europe, especially in the social media. The game is a complex narrative exploring the journey of a dispossessed woman refugee across seas to a destination where she is unwelcome.

The artist represents the characters in his game as different breeds of dogs, through innovative concept art and evocative backgrounds.

Among the others, Bhattacharya, an author, film-maker and storyteller showcases two projects — Amor Fati, about an eternal battle between hope and despair; and ‘An Old Lady Dies’, a gameplay on how after a rich woman’s death relatives turn up for the inheritance.

Jadia and Mario D’Souza have put together a single player virtual board game called ‘Motherland/Homeland’ played to toy with the idea of jargonised perception of Kashmir. In this players can communicate to each other as they essay the roles of Azadi and Swatantra.

The exhibition is on at the Khoj Studios S-17, Khirkee Extension till Saturday.

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