PHILADELPHIA — June 22, 2018 — For the first time worldwide, the queer history of video games will be explored in a major museum exhibition: "Rainbow Arcade" will open at Schwules Museum Berlin in December 2018. Temple University's Dr. Adrienne Shaw is serving as a curator in her role as the founder of the LGBTQ Video Game Archive.
"Most historical games exhibits focus on the major milestones of the mainstream games industry, this will be the first time queer games history will be front and center ," said Klein College of Media and Communication Professor Dr. Shaw.
The exhibit will feature a wide variety of materials spanning over 30 years of media history, including playable titles, concept drawings, modifications written by fans themselves and documentations of online communities. The exhibition explores contemporary questions of representation in popular culture, stereotypical and discriminatory narratives in entertainment media and our cultural memory.
While video games have become a significant part of our mainstream culture, games offering nuanced representation of queer relationships and people relatively rare. "Rainbow Arcade" asks how social progress has been reflected in video games and if major progress exists in regards of LGBTIQ* representation in entertainment media. The exhibition also acknowledges the unique challenges posed by digital culture to archives and institutions as well as the archival absence of contemporary queer media history.
"The digital nature of this medium and fan communities means that a lot of recent history has either been lost or is hard to find. Web domains close down and overtime software is no longer compatible with new hardware. This exhibit will bring to light the fact that LGBTIQ* people have always been a part of gaming," Dr. Shaw said.
The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive educational program involving international developers, artists and researchers. There will also be a catalogue for which a crowdfunding campaign will take place this summer.
"Rainbow Arcade" is curated by an internationally networked team of curators, consisting of Sarah Rudolph (herzteile.org), Jan Schnorrenberg (Schwules Museum) and Dr. Adrienne Shaw (Temple University, LGBTQ Game Archive).
"Rainbow Arcade" is a cooperation between Schwules Museum, the LGBTQ Game Archive, Computerspielemuseum Berlin, and Temple University in Philadelphia, PA (USA). The exhibition is also an official partner & program component of Berlin Games Week 2019 and other project partners are Berlin Game Scene and Jugend im Museum e.V..
"Rainbow Arcade" is funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe of Berlin. The LGBTQ Game archive has received additional funding and support from Refiguring Innovation in Games and Temple's Digital Scholarship Center.