Event Profile – Vector: Game + Art Convergence Festival 2014

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As video games continue to surge in cultural relevance (particularly with the rise in attention toward the indie scene), the long-winded, long-debated argument over whether or not games can truly be considered ‘art’ has since been resolved into a confident and persuasive “Of course they are, why wouldn’t they be?”

We might finally be in the age where articles like these introducing the medium as an artistic platform no longer really need that tiresome preamble. Games are art. They always were.

And that’s really where the Vector: Game + Art Convergence Festival 2014 comes in. The festival, (running from Feb 19 – 23) is if anything, a showcase and celebration of game-based artworks.

“Games go so far beyond the popular conception of them as popular entertainment,” says event curator and columnist for Broken Pencil’s Error State, Skot Deeming.

“Most people think of video games in relation to the history of a cultural industry that produces products. What we’re here to do is to lift the lid on this thing, and shine a light in the corners where groups and individuals are engaged in a whole other strata of creative production around games.”

Punk Arcade ExhibitThis year, Vector 2014 will explore a wide array of topics surrounding the confluence of games and culture. The festival will feature Impedance: Games + Resistance, a special exhibit on video games as tools for political change through commentary, advocacy and as forms of resistance. Other features include the screening of Machiniglitch by France’s Isabelle Arvers, and Sarah Brin and Lee Tusman’s Punk Arcade exhibit at OCADu.

“This year, what’s different (and therefore the most exciting for me) is inviting other curators to Toronto to curate exhibitions and screenings at this year’s festival,” says Deeming.

“It’s exciting times as curators for Team Vector. We’re beginning to understand the history of experimentation and avant garde-like practices in games, and situate them historically. Most people make the contention that this is a new phenomenon, but it’s been happening for quite some time. As for its potential, time will tell where it goes, but like any art form, that’s not up to the medium itself. It’s up to those who are using it to create new works. It’s in their hands.”

The Vector Game + Art Convergence Festival will run from Feb 19 to 23 in Toronto, Canada. Tickets and passes are available at its online store.

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