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ArtScience Museum reimagines videogames with new exhibition Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed

Virtual Realms key visual

Visitors will be transported to a new dimension at ArtScience Museum’s latest exhibition, Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed. Making its international debut in Singapore on 12 June, the exhibition showcases videogame creativity in six new installations that reshape how games can be experienced in virtual and physical realms. 

Co-curated by celebrated game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, in collaboration with the  Barbican in London, Virtual Realms is a co-production with ArtScience Museum and  Melbourne Museum. 

The new artworks presented in Virtual Realms are conceived by some of the world’s leading videogame developers, KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS (makers of DEATH STRANDING),  Enhance (Tetsuya Mizuguchi and team behind Rez Infinite), thatgamecompany (authors of the game, Sky: Children of the Light), Tequila Works (the studio that made RiME), Media  Molecule (creators of Dreams) and David OReilly (creator of the game, Everything). 

They have each developed a newly commissioned installation inspired by these games,  working in collaboration with the media artists and design studios, Rhizomatiks, FIELD.IOThe Mill, Marshmallow Laser Feast, onedotzero and The Workers.

The immersive exhibition introduces visitors to new ways of approaching and enjoying videogames through six key themes – SYNESTHESIA, UNITY, CONNECTION, PLAY,  NARRATIVE and EVERYTHING.

Virtual Realms is a multi-sensorial, interactive presentation of artworks inspired by videogames. To present the global premiere of this extraordinary exhibition at ArtScience  Museum, we had to work together with our colleagues at the Barbican, and all the game designers and artists in the exhibition, on overcoming a myriad of challenges presented by the  Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst the pandemic is a global event, it has the curious effect of making us feel less connected to the rest of the world, due to border closures and restrictions on travel.  So, international endeavours like Virtual Realms feel more important than ever, especially as this exhibition showcases artworks that are fundamentally about forging deep connections between people. We are immensely grateful to our partners for working so hard to allow our visitors in Singapore to step inside these six stunning installations. We hope to share that contemporary videogames transcend entertainment, and can be powerful mediums of exchange, creativity, collaboration and connectedness,” said Honor Harger, Executive  Director of ArtScience Museum.

Rezonance 2021 in SYNESTHESIA
Rezonance 2021 in SYNESTHESIA. Photo Credit: Marina Bay Sands

Virtual Realms transforms the concepts and creativity of videogames into six experiential realms. We are really excited to finally bring Virtual Realms to life and invite the public to activate these works. Collaboration is at the heart of this exhibition, with our co-producers  ArtScience Museum and Melbourne Museum working together with the Barbican on the exhibition’s production across time zones and locations, as well as six new collaborative partnerships being formed between leading game designers and cutting-edge media artists.  What’s also key is the collaboration between the creators of these experiences and their audience – for it is only through interaction and play that these artworks truly take form and become transformative. We hope game connoisseurs and gallery visitors alike find in Virtual  Realms a platform to discover videogame creativity anew: as an art programme in its own right, a  powerful medium of our time, and a playful collaborative experience beyond the constraints of a virtual world,” said Patrick Moran, Co-curator and Acting Co-Head of Barbican International  Enterprises. 

“It has truly been an honour to serve as guest curator for Virtual Realms, work alongside the  Barbican team, Chiara Stephenson, and build the exhibition together with the game developers and media artists. When the Barbican first approached me about Virtual Realms,  I took immediate interest and knew I wanted to be involved. From my own experience, I’ve seen and continue to learn how the pairing of game developers and media designers open up so much potential for new ways to play, connect, experience, and more. This exhibition is only the beginning of something much bigger – it paves the way for a future where the world of games spills out beyond the screen,” said Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Co-curator of Virtual Realms and Founder of Enhance. 

The exhibition design of Virtual Realms enhances the immersive quality of the show and was created by celebrated stage designer, Chiara Stephenson, who has worked with performers such as Bjork, The xx and Lorde, as well as theatres such as Donmar Warehouse, Bristol Old  Vic and Leipzig Opera House. The graphic identity of the exhibition is by Stinsensqueeze.

Complementing the Virtual Realms is a lineup of unique programmes curated by the ArtScience Museum designed to showcase how video games can connect the virtual and physical worlds

Dream Shaping 2021 in PLAY
Dream Shaping 2021 in PLAY. Photo Credit: Marina Bay Sands

ArtScience Museum Complementary Programmes to Virtual Realms

In conjunction with the launch of Virtual Realms, ArtScience Museum is presenting Expanded  Realities Conversations, a new series of talks for ArtScience at Home, the museum’s online programme. Expanded Realities will feature artists, technologists and storytellers from around the world, who are creating art that features virtual reality, augmented reality, and extended reality technologies.

The first talk in the series will take place on 17 June 2021 and features Tetsuya Mizuguchi,  game designer and co-curator of Virtual Realms. He will be in conversation with Patrick Moran,  co-curator of Virtual Realms. Together they will explore how the collaborations in Virtual  Realms push the boundaries of videogames, paving the way for a future that takes games beyond the screen and into the physical world. This first session of Expanded Realities

Conversations will be live-streamed on ArtScience Museum’s website, Facebook page and  YouTube channel.

ArtScience Museum is also creating a series of hands-on workshops which enable visitors to learn more about making games. The “Draw Your Own Game” workshop for children aged 9  and above will take place on selected dates in September and invites young visitors to let their imagination run wild by conceiving and drawing their own game, before taking it into the digital realm. 

Beyond these events, visitors can look forward to tours and school programmes which will be made available throughout the run of the exhibition.

Dates and Tickets

Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed will run from 12 June 2021 to 9 January 2022 at  ArtScience Museum before embarking on its global tour.

Tickets are now available for purchase at all Marina Bay Sands Box Offices and website.  Terms and Conditions apply. Virtual Realms is made possible with the support of HP Inc., Vicon, Epic MegaGrants and London Symphony Orchestra.

For more information, please visit https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.

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Katherine Sng

Katherine Sng

I am a single mother living in Singapore. I am an advocate of living a healthy lifestyle through exercise; eating right; keeping a positive and youthful outlook of life; and, to live vicariously while you can. When not spending time watching Bubba grow, I am catching up on the latest news and entertainment gossip. I strongly believe that empowerment is possible for anyone, as long as they believe in themselves and the people around them.

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