Art & Museums

Preview: Polymorphism: Queer Encounters of Intimacy in Games at VGA Gallery Explores Sex and Relationships through Games

Ali Krouse, KMG Tournament: Kiss More Girls. Photo via VGA Gallery

Some of the work here is of a sexual nature, and may be NSFW

The Video Game Art Gallery in Chicago is a vital part of the video game culture in Chicago. Along with BitBash and programs like the Game Making Workshop at Adler, the Video Game Art Gallery focuses on games and the culture that surround them as an art form, and as a means of expressing yourself, both as a developer making games and a person experiencing them.

Since the gallery’s inception in 2013, they’ve continued to bring forth thoughtful exhibitions on a variety of topics to their space. In the past, this has included the role Chicago played in the history of new media, as well as looks at alternative expressions of the keyboard, a look at how games aestheticize violence, and a special exhibit on sound games. They also produce a peer reviewed journal for facilitating conversation on the “far-reaching influence of video games on history, society and culture.”

This Friday, the VGA Gallery will debut their latest exhibit, Polymorphism: Queer Encounters of Intimacy in Games. The exhibit is a look at how the LGBTQIA+ community is eschewing the mainstream to create their own video games that look at the traditional concepts found in mainstream video games, and reimagining them to be more inclusive and representative of the diverse relationships that make up the LGBTQIA+ community. These pieces are a means to explore feelings, and start conversations on topics that are usually not typical of video game discourse, like gender, sex and intimacy. Because of the nature of the subject matter, the gallery advises that this is an explicit show and content warnings may include nudity, sex, violence, mental illness, and suicide.

There will be a wide range of pieces in the show across different game styles and genres, as well as a wide range of topics covered regarding sex, gender, identity and relationships. Some of the artworks that curator Brice Puls feels represent these goals most closely (and that you can check out on itch.io by clicking the following links)  include titles like Raunchy Feast XXX by Fernando Ramallo, the earth is a better person than me by Kara Stone, GENDERWRECKED by Rose Aceae and Radiator 2: Anniversary Edition by Robert Yang.

We’re excited to see all that Polymorphism: Queer Encounters of Intimacy in Games can bring to the table. Their diverse viewpoints, desire for creating intelligent conversation around games as art, and careful curation of topics and works mean that this will be an illuminating and fun exhibit to experience. Polymorphism: Queer Encounters of Intimacy in Games, curated by Brice Puls, opens on January 18 and runs through April 28 at the VGA Gallery at 2418 W Bloomingdale #102, with hours from 5-8 pm on Wednesdays and 12-5pm on Sundays. The opening reception for this exhibit will be held Friday January 18 from 6-9pm with a special private cocktail preview and tour from 5-6 if you become a member of the VGA Society. You can browse the gallery’s beautiful giclees and posters for sale, or find out more about the opening reception by clicking here.

Contributing author: Marielle Bokor

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