Thursday, 1 March 2007

Sometimes it's hard / It's hard to tell

I nipped over to the Proud Gallery in my lunch break today, to take a look at their new exhibition : The Sims Life Stories : The Art of the Teen Dilemma.

It was just about worth fifteen minutes of my day, and it wouldn't have been if I'd got rained on on the walk over there. It's glorified advertising, and I've come to expect better of Proud Galleries, who normally do a fabulous job of blending the aesthetic and the commercial.

Maybe I'm being unfair.

By juxtaposing screencaps of the new Sims with blown up images from girl's magazines from the last fifty years, they're clearly not going for the aesthetically engaging, more the sociological angle, but even so it's just not as interesting as they seem to think it is.

The problem is that it's not *hard* to find photo-stories and comic strips in which teenage girls (1) are shown being insecure and obsessed with boys and make-up and what their BFF really thinks of them, so what does the exhibition think it's saying? The more things change the more they stay the same? Maybe. Probably.

But the heavy dollop of branding doesn't lead you to question or conclude or react to that, it just says 'and now we can do the stilted poses and predictable dialogue without needing to photograph models.' which leaves me with a overwhelming feeling of 'and?'

The press release is peppered with words like 'legendary'
'unprecedented', 'cumulation of the evolution of storytelling'. It's
really not helping me be impressed.

When you think of the actually kind of nifty things people do with the Sims, this exhibition just seems like even more of a let down. (Having Depeche Mode re-record a song in Simlish? Good advertising-meets-art, IMO. This? not so much.)

On the plus side, it's only a two week exhibition, so it'll be over soon.

(1) In fact - that's part of why I found it more infuriating than anything else - they're conflating 'teenager' with 'girl' - at a guess because the Sims is a 'girl game'? (I wouldn't know - I'm more of a Rez / GTA girl m'self) Even when they've picked a comic or photo-story about boys, it's actually about the girl he stood up to work on his boat, or the girl he fancies but can't talk to, or the lass who's been holding an exaggerated cheesecake pose in her bikini for the last couple of hours while, unbeknownst to her, he draws her...

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