The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is set to host a controversial new exhibition displaying a history of “sexism” and “violence” in video games.
The exhibition is being billed as the first show by a major international museum to explore the widely enjoyed interactive medium—which makes it unfortunate that one of the main topics it’s set to explore revolves around the portrayal of women as sexual objects intended for the gratification of men.
Set to launch in September 2018, the exhibition will examine a variety of aspects in video games, including core game design and online player communities to the gender imbalance within the game industry.
According to a Telegraph report on September 6, the museum will host large-scale installations and hands-on interactive experiences that show the evolution of video games. This includes the portrayal of women in games from titles like “Tomb Raider,” the “Grand Theft Auto” series, and the “Dead or Alive” fighting games.
“Gender, misogyny, violence – we are not moving away from any of that,” said Tristram Hunt, who was recently appointed the director of V&A. “You have to understand the design component, but you can’t remove that entirely from some of the social political context in which it is placed. We are going to address all of those issues. We are not going to shy away from any of that.”
He said that one of the challenges of V&A was to get visitors to “think differently about what they might not respect visually,” by allowing them to explore the various aspects of something they might not otherwise care about, such as video games.
Marie Foulston, who is curating the exhibition, said that its aim is to get people thinking about what video games are really about.
“The exhibition will consider the development in the social and political discussions around videogames. A new wave of critics and designers are engaging directly with subjects from sexuality, violence to geo-politics and these topics will feature within the show,” she said, adding that its purpose was to “engage with such subjects in a nuanced and sensitive way that provokes discussion.”