María Ibarra y Saporito. Munus.


Starting from the fact that there are many possible ways of making a city, and that some of them may not imply its definitive materialization, Luca Carrubba and Eurídice Cabañes, both directors of the ArsGames collective, have presented today in CentroCentro the exhibition “The visible city/ The city ​​at play”, which delves into the technologies and devices where symbolic proposals are deployed that investigate other ways of experiencing and constructing the urban environment. Taking into account that today our relationship with cities, or at least an important aspect of it, is mediated, whether we like it or not, by technology, we are invited to approach the video game as a conducive tool for said interaction, as a virtual space capable of modify our ways of acting in society and promote our dialogue (at a distance) with other actors, physical or equally digital, who inhabit the urban environment.

Due to their nature and interactive essence, those responsible for ArsGames believe, video games can foster a collective representation of populations that in turn gives rise to an equally group intelligence, with transformative potential for the future. On the fourth floor of the Palacio de Cibeles awaits us a set of projects carried out by national and international authors who participate in the ultimate objective of the viewer appreciating these video games, not only as a consumer good, but as games suitable for imagining other environments. possible lives from a critical approach. And they won't just be screens: also photographs, sculptures or installations, dated since 2012.

Some of these proposals have to do with architecture, urban and recreational spaces: Aida Navarro, in Playspace/Gamespace, explores how the technical specifications of video game consoles can have repercussions in the places where they are used, even in the placement of our furniture and its ornamentation; Joan Lavandeira, Sofía Balbontín and Mathias Klener offer us resonant spaces, a virtual reconstruction of urban industrial infrastructure using meticulously studied field recordings, reverberations and sounds; and Santiago Bustamante presents Cities and video games: towards interactive urbanisma documentary in which he analyzes the links between the material and the virtual ludic from parameters associated with art theory, the development of video games and architecture itself.

The beautiful Munus, a performative intervention in an online gaming space by María Ibarra and Saporito. They carried it out in a time of pandemic, outlining a poetic reflection on the way in which at that time we built community from distances. Dinosaur Polo Club brings us a minimalist subway design as the setting for a network of relationships with the city, time and daily activities; Leo Sang proposes, in Game Tourismphotographed urban and imagined spaces, which could be the result of massive video games, and another series of images is the one exhibited by Elise Aubisse in Controla review of virtual domestic spaces based on everyday objects, such as chairs, tables or plants.

Pablo Garrido Martínez, in Place Utopiaquestions our desire to colonize Mars, simulating walks based on the audiovisuals that NASA and ESA have taken there, and Outconsumer and Roc Massaguer focus on Madrid to propose its playable reproduction in Madrid Cities-Skyline Streamer.

Pablo Garrido Martínez.  Place Utopia, 2020-2023
Leo Sang.  Ingame photography taken in the video game Cyberpunk77

Three other works in “The visible city/The city at play” suggest open and also playful modes of city governance: we will see a selection of game projects around the city, both analog and digital and designed for viewer participation. ; the video game by José Sánchez and Carlos Padial Block'Hood, based on a block of homes in which each one provides the water, air or resources that the rest need, so that none of them can fail to avoid breaking the balance; and also Craft, collective urban planning proposals by Arsgames and a group of children who have contributed their ideas through Minecraft. The commissioners explained that UN organizations are seeking possibilities for action in similar initiatives.

We will also watch Kelichi Matsuda's video in CentroCentro Hyper-reality, which offers a multiple vision of a future in which playful aesthetics linked to video games and virtual reality generate a landscape of saturated dystopia; Alba G. Corral composes in Barcelona Clean Location, a data visualization program that compares tourist apartments in Eixample according to the city council and Airbnb; Agustina Isidori exposes the disturbing video game Alone, which puts the player in the shoes of a woman walking alone at night as an exercise in empowerment and risk; and Mónica Rikíc shows us pieces that emerged from a workshop to rethink the city that she gave in Cibeles last March. It will not be the only one accompanying this exhibition: two will take place in April and May, one on intergenerational gaming and another on video game design.

This project demonstrates that sometimes it is precisely through play that it is possible to understand concepts of urban planning and architecture that are otherwise very distant from the layman; and that, although we currently do not consider video games as public spaces because they are privately managed, and because of the commercial interests that determine them, it is possible to speculate what their development would be if common governance models were applied to them. Like the terrain of the virtual, of the video game, and so often of the urban, the aesthetics and background of this exhibition suggest non-closed processes, they are under construction and the visitor is expected to contribute their particular vision of the city.

Monica Rikic.  The Unflovable Machine.  Installation for Sensorium and Silbersalz Festivals

“The visible city / The city at play”


Plaza de Cibeles, 1


From April 12 to August 25, 2024

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