Polymorphism: Queer Encounters of Intimacy in Games

Opening: Friday, Jan 18, 2019 6 – 9 pm
Friday, Jan 18 – Apr 28, 2019

2418 W Bloomingdale #102
Chicago, IL 60647

Curated by Brice Puls

Opening Reception Friday, January 18, 6-9pm

VGA Society Private Cocktail Preview and Tour: 5-6pm Join here!

Intimacy in games has been traditionally conceived by developers as a means to reward the player, as relationships can often only be developed after completing a given task. Within this largely heteronormative lens, games frame emotional bonding and sexual intercourse as a goal to be achieved, rather than positioning relationship development as a core mechanic of the game itself. While these experiences can expand and develop the language of romantic narrative in games, it may also obscure the medium’s ability to directly engage with the mechanics of attraction and desire.

This exhibition explores the burgeoning field of interactive queer art, which gamifies the mechanics of intimate relationships and reinterprets traditional game concepts as a means to experience affection, desire, and love. While queer desire has been marginalized and pathologized in the mainstream, within LGBTQIA+ culture, a more inclusive acceptance of kink and diverse relationship structures is being articulated. Whether in the context of long-term romance, intimacy with multiple partners, or casual sex, these artworks place the practice of acting on attraction in the hands of the player, furthering our ability to express the personal experiences of an underserved culture and drawing a wider audience into conversations about gameplay and desire.