SFMOMA's Plans for a New Gaming-Focused Project


As many await the reopening of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, what better way to alleviate some of your anticipation than with a look into one of its new "collections," PlaySFMOMA. Featuring analog and digital game offerings, engagement tools, and a new designers-in-residence program, this collaboration between gamers and SFMOMA will prove to be an intriguing exhibition for the modern-day museumgoer. 

“Often in museum and gallery contexts, games are programmed through the lens of existing curatorial paradigms, or seen as tools for education,” said Erica Gangsei, head of interpretive media at SFMOMA, and creative lead for PlaySFMOMA. “Through collaboration with local game designers and thought leaders, we hope that SFMOMA can become a platform for dialogue about games as a medium in their own right. We also hope the process will be a lot of fun for our visitors.”

Selected game designers, representing the SF Bay Area gaming community, will help create new versions of games and activities; lead workshops incorporating game design as an expressive medium; and, will prototype both digital and analog games for staff and visitor playtesting and input, helping to bring the game-designing process out from behind the computerized curtain.

The museum's past gaming programs, including the 2012 ArtGameLab and the 2013 pop-up Ahhhcade, attracted both national and international independent gaming community as collaborators, participants, and attendees. PlaySFMOMA will build on these past efforts with a focus on creating a local hub for exploration of this new-age medium.

With a Games Advisory Network—a group of industry professionals who will assist in program decisions and cohort selections—acting as support, PlaySFMOMA will lead the game-inspired way into the future of gallery visits.

“Games, now more than ever, are expanding,” said GAN member Hunicke. ”They are reaching new audiences via new devices and technologies, exploring deeper subjects via evolving modes of interactivity and empowering bright new voices from all over the world.” Hunicke continued, “Now is the time to focus on how this medium will grow and shape the ways we think of art, entertainment and social commentary in the years to come. As a researcher, maker and evangelist of games as an expressive medium, I am honored to help SFMOMA lead this charge.”

So, whether you still find excitement in a simple game of Atari's Adventure, or you find yourself sketching possible PS5 console designs, PlaySFMOMA is sure to excite the game-lover within you.

Look for it when the museum reopens in 2016. 

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