I do love it when museums acknowledge the impact of gaming has on society; enough so to put on an exhibition about a game. In this case, the Victoria and Albert museum organised a Friday Late event that promised to explore the design culture of the digital world of Minecraft. A game I love. Seriously, I have a Minecraft tattoo..
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got an invite and despite having a session of squash planned, I made the courageous (in my books anyway) decision to go afterwards. Going to the V&A smelling and looking like the back end of school bus on a Thursday turned out ok in the end.
Luckily for me everybody was too engaged in The World of Minecraft exhibition to smell me and throw grimaces in my direction, and I soon forgot my body consciousness myself (until I got home)!
So without further ado (waffle) what was the exhibition like? Did the V&A really capture and celebrate the Minecraft that almost 12 million* of us play and love? Well I’m happy to report that it did!
Upon arrival, we immediately started wondering where the exhibition was held and after a few minutes of “huh?” and “it’s not on the sign post thing?”, we cracked and asked a V&A attendant where to go. She looked at us in bewilderment and replied that:
After a brief moment of “awwwwe”, we started the treasure hunt for Minecraft stuff that kept us entertained for the next 2 hours, on a Friday evening…colleagues will snigger at how we spent our Friday evening but worth it all the same!
We saw some folks with gaming t-shirts (and thought “they look like Minecrafters”) and made a good decision to follow them as they looked like they knew where they were going.
Turned out to be a good tactic for the rest of the treasure hunt-whenever we saw a small cluster of people in the otherwise quiet museum, we knew that we’d find some Minecraft works there… The first place we hit was the John Madejski Garden where much of the action took place and what a great atmosphere it was. You could see lots of people chilling with the blocks like it wasn’t a thing:
Children splashing about in the water amongst 1 meter sand blocks:
Steve chilling in the corner:
All while some well known parodies from the internet were being played by this awesome DJ (@BrettBoothLDN):
Then back inside we went, to start looking for the stuff hidden amongst the V&A permanent collection. I do have to admit it my Art Historian head took the liberty to remind me that there is a lot of historically significant stuff here, artists poured their soul into creating these sculptures, people spent years of their life training to create such ornate trinkets, but all I cared about was dashing in to the next room to see if there was any Minecraft stuff in it…It was fun though here are the works that we managed to find:
This stained glass sheep pasture in the stained glass section:
This paintings in the famous paintings section:
These swords in the silver section:
And these miniature portraits of Steve, Notch, and wolf as well as some other mobs in the mini miniature portraits:
We then came to the Grand Entrance hall where there were some really projections on the ceilings arch ways which changed intermittently:
These projections were coupled with the piano piece from the game played through a speaker hooked to a laptop in the corner:
You have to hand it to the sound guys, in addition to the entrance hall speakers, they had also set up a couple of speakers in the rooms where there was Minecraft art to be found:
These ones just had water and lava sounds on loop (not sure why they chose those ones really but better there than not I guess…! Personally I think it would have been great to play some Creeper or Endermen sounds to freak you out a little bit!) but I was glad to see that they made a decent effort to create a soothing and euphoric atmosphere in the entrance hall. If you wanted to, you could have got a drink from the bar in the middle and sat down for rest if you felt the old “museum fatigue” kicking in.
But we decided to keep going and hit up the marble room where we saw this marble sculpture of Steve and his Wolf:
And some of the Minecraft Lego you can buy on pedestals:
After a brief diversion to the Medieval rooms (where there was nothing) we decided to head Japan room next where we found this awesome pixel Samurai sword on display:
And an these porcelain models:
Here’s a close up of the Enderdragon:
Steve and a realistic re-imagining of a Creeper:
And finally (of the art stuff anyway) a lovely vase with the Enderdragon painted on it:
By: Cindy (https://plus.google.com/104708606911079610224)