Videogames are everywhere. We play them on our desktop screens and on our handheld electronics. We play them at home, on the bus, on our own and with others. But what do we really know about the creative visual worlds behind the screens?
ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm seeks to answer that question by focusing on the complex world of the artists, designers and developers who actually craft these videogames in its exhibition, Yarny, Medusa och en elefant: The Craft of Swedish Game Design. While the actual games connect us, influence us and even inspire us, behind the screens lie some very diverse and highly sophisticated creative processes.
In the modus operandi of the various firms considered by the curators at ArkDes, handmade pencil sketches and models blend with digital animation to imagine alternative worlds that entertain, puzzle and excite us. Characters are sculpted, narratives are scripted, and the end result – the games themselves – range from the playful to the cinematic.
Videogames and the culture that surrounds them connect, affect, and inspire us. The analogue material behind a game, however, is often buried or forgotten. This exhibition elevates a group of creatives to reveal the visual craft behind one of Sweden’s most important artistic fields.
“Through a broad collection of illustrations, sketches, notes, hand-crafted models and digital drawings, the work on display in Yarny, Medusa och en elefant proves the extent of the creative energy that lies behind the characters, narratives, and immersive worlds that make up a selection of Sweden’s most well-known games. From small and independent to large and international studios, the exhibition hones in on the visual craft of videogame design to reveal a diversity of approaches alongside common points of origin: namely the pen, the hand, and boundless creative imagination”, says James Taylor-Foster, Curator, Contemporary Architecture and Design, ArkDes.
The exhibition Yarny, Medusa och en elefant: The Craft of Swedish Game Design will be running until 25 August and shows the creative processes behind the visual storytelling of the gaming industry. The exhibition is a collaboration between Illustratörcentrum (The Centre for Illustration and Graphic Design), Sweden’s largest provider of visual communication, funded by the government through the Swedish Arts Council, and ArkDes with support from the city of Stockholm and the Region of Stockholm.
Exhibition: Yarny, Medusa och en elefant: The Craft of Swedish Game Design
from 5 July to 25 August 2019
ArkDes, Stockholm, Sweden
Curator: James Taylor-Foster
Co-Curator: Sofia Östlund
Initiators: Caroline Agné (verksamhetchetchef, IC) och Josefine Engström (f.d. ordförande, IC).
Graphic identity: Studio Reko
Images: see captions
01_ Konceptkonst för Shelter 3 med titeln “The herd seen from above” (2019), av Emma Richey för Might and Delight. © Might and Delight_full.jpg
03_ Scen ur Unravel med titeln Watch the waves 2015 av Martin Sahlin för Coldwood Interactive. © Electronic Arts._full.jpg
4. Miljö för den medeltida falangen i Totally Accurate Battle Simulator med titeln ”Medieval Lvl 1” (2019), av Johan Lund för Landfall Games. © Landfall Games_full.jpg
5. Scen ur Totally Accurate Battle Simulator med titeln “Stone Thrower” (2019), av Pontus Ullbors för Landfall Games. © Landfall Games_full.jpg
8. Konceptskiss för ’Unravel’ med titeln ’The Sea’ av Dick Adolfsson. © 2014 Coldwood Interactive_full.jpg
11. Konceptkonst för Shelter 3 med titeln Tigers Den av Emma Richey. © 2019 Might and Delight_full.jpg
12. Elephant and Calf Design för Shelter 3 av Emma Richey. © 2019 Might and Delight_full.jpg