How to Win at Photography: Image-Making as Play is a new multimedia exhibition exploring the relationships between photography, image-making and play. It invites audiences to focus on the playful aspects of visual culture, and creates unexpected connections between the history of photography and the practices of image-making within computer games and wider digital screen culture.
Featuring over 30 international artists and a rich assemblage of multimedia artworks and vernacular images representing a variety of positions across contemporary and twentieth century photography, How to Win at Photography questions the very meaning and function of photography today.
Artists include Chinese contemporary artist, documentarian and activist Ai Weiwei; Polish multimedia artist Aneta Grzeszykowska; post-conceptual technology-based American artist Cory Arcangel; French surrealist photographer, sculptor and writer Claude Cahun; feminist artist, Cindy Sherman; German filmmaker, video artist, theorist and writer Harun Farocki; legendary American artist Ed Ruscha; Taiwanese visual artist John Yuyi and American photographer, painter and conceptual artist Sherrie Levine.
Photography is inherently playful, but the play is not free. There are rules that the photographer must master, skills to conquer, expectations to fulfil. The very circulation of images is now a trackable, surveilled, quantifiable process like everything else on the internet. Photographs receive a ‘score’ in the form of likes and reposts. They are instantly monetised, becoming part of a larger economic competition for attention in which gamified elements and score systems are increasingly influential. At the same time, photography is a fundamental part of today's video game culture. Not only does it drive forward the photorealistic development of digital imaging; it offers ‘open worlds’, vast environments that can be explored and documented by virtual photographers.
Taking over all of the Gallery’s main exhibition spaces How to Win at Photography is arranged in five thematic sections or chapters: Game Travel, Game Play, Replay, Camera Play and Role Play. Designed to be experienced in any order the chapters explore connections and rule-sets between image-making, identity, politics, technology and entertainment.