Games & Tech

Van Gogh and Video Games: Art Institute and Bit Bash To Collaborate Thursday

Four Last Things, an indie game with a “Renaissance” art style and Monty Python wit, is one of the games that you may find at the Art Institute this Thursday. Image courtesy Joe Richardson.

Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Dali…Mario? Worlds are about to collide in a unique and wonderful way at the Art Institute of Chicago and Bit Bash’s collaborative event, Artists Connect: Bit Bash- Interactive Influence. The event is set for February 1 at 6-7pm,falling squarely during the Art Institute’s Thursday free hours for Illinois residents, and not requiring an additional ticket, meaning it’s completely free. It’s part of a new series of in-gallery programs that the Art Institute has developed with the idea to bring artists from all disciplines – game developers, poets, musicians, dancers in touch with works of art that they can then connect back to their own practice.  

Bit Bash, in turn, was established back in 2014 with the express purpose of furthering the independent game development culture in Chicago and to highlight games that offer unique experiences and make artistic statements. Throughout our journeys with Bit Bash, we’ve been introduced to wonderful, emotional and visually stunning works. Bit Bash has always done a great job of bringing the best of games to any event it participates in, so we’re extremely excited to see them in a setting like this. 

We’ve been told that the event will have a scavenger-hunt like feel, and that the games you find in each location will have some direct correlation to the art you’ll find in that same place. There were some whisperings about a game that’s long been a favorite, and includes quite a bit of concentration, stress management and communication skills called Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes making an appearance, and a visually stunning game we’ve wanted to try called Engare. Some other games that have been mentioned on Twitter include Kentucky Route Zero, Proteus, FAUVISTa and Hidden Folks, all tucked in near some epic works of art by the likes of Les Fauves, Magritte and Monet.  

The world of video games can so easily be passed off as unimportant or even damaging. The reality is that the world of video games encompasses so much. It’s a vibrant international art form that’s soaring to new heights every day, and producing meaningful, beautiful art that goes beyond simple button pressing- though that’s just as important and fulfilling. Games bring people together, help them learn to work together, and help them express their feelings or cope with the same. Even as the industry booms, we often fail to appreciate and preserve games as art. It’s institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago and groups like Bit Bash that are on the cutting edge of showing people the art at their fingertips. 

Thursday’s collaboration promises to be a kaleidoscope of interesting indie games in an amazing setting. We can’t wait to wander the halls of the Art Institute and bounce from game to game and painting to painting, and we think it’s something you won’t want to miss out on either. Artists Connect: Bit Bash- Interactive Influence will be a blast, and of course, one of the best parts is: it’s free. Since the free hours start at 5, you can even arrive early and pack in some more art. In our book, this makes Artists Connect: Bit Bash – Interactive Influence a can’t miss.  For more details, check out the Facebook event page and the Art Institute’s site. We hope to see you there. 

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