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Games and politics

Games and Politics is a series of events at the Goethe-Institut Cyprus which deal with the role of games and gaming in society. It comprises an interactive exhibition of 18 computer games and three documentaries addressing current social issues. Three different film screenings will shed light on various aspects of gaming while at ‘playthrough’ evenings, the audience will have the possibility to discuss the game being played live with Cypriot and German experts.

The exhibition Games and Politics will be opened at the Goethe-Institut on Wednesday, September 18 and curator Dr Jeannette Neustadt will be present to give an introduction to and guided tour through the exhibition.

“A game is always more than just a game,” say the organisers. “Without considering the influence of the society that plays it, it remains just as impossible to understand as without considering its influence on that society.

“Like other media, computer games permit themselves to be harnessed by the political interests of any faction. Game designers are turning toward new themes and target audiences. Artists are using the medium in order to open its functions up to scrutiny and to explore where the boundary of games now lie. And the big museums are discovering computer games as cultural property, which is meant to be collected and preserved. Reflections on the phenomenon of computer games from the perspective of cultural sciences, however, continue to be few and far between in the discourse of art institutions.”

The Goethe-Institute’s exhibition is intended to close this gap, at least in part. Games and Politics was produced in 2016 and is based on the exhibition Global Games shown in Karlsruhe, Germany. The exhibition curators selected politically ambitious computer games created between 2004 and 2016 which explore the limits and possibilities of the genre. Computer games conceive of themselves not merely as a (re-) presentation of social conditions and conflicts but attempt to simulate the processes and rules that give rise to these conflicts.

The interactive exhibition includes 18 computer games, of which 16 can be played. Visitors become players and experience first-hand how the games affect them. The games deal with topics such as media criticism, migration, power relations, gender roles and militarism on an artistic level. They are complemented by three documentaries on the subject.

What reading is for literature, a ‘playthrough’ is for computer games. On three evenings, selected games are played live, the course of the game is classified and commented on by Cypriot and German experts, and questions from the audience are answered. The award-winning games Papers, Please, Orwell and Perfect Woman will be presented and discussed. While Papers, Please deals with working at the border crossing of a dictatorial regime, Orwell deals with the dystopic consequences of digital surveillance technology and Perfect Woman investigates the question of what distinguishes a perfect woman.

The events include the screening of three films focussing on various aspects of gaming: the vulnerability of computer systems (War games), the limits of reality and play (Returning fire) and women and video games (GTFO).


Games and Politics

Series of events by the Goethe-Institut Cyprus, which deals with the role and relevance of games and gaming in society. September 18-October 16. Goethe Institut Cyprus, Nicosia. Opening night 7.30pm. Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 8pm. Closed on October 1 and 3.


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