Exhibition

Consoles, democratising the digital image 1972-2003

15.07.2020 - 30.01.2021

The Etopia Centre for Art and Technology hosts an ambitious project on the digital image, consoles, and video games. The exhibition “Consoles, democratising the digital image 1972-2003”, curated by Abraham San Pedro, is made up of an impressive collection of more than one hundred consoles displayed within their technological, social, artistic, cultural and ideological context. The exhibition is open to the public until January 30 2021, and will form part of a wide program of parallel activities in Etopia.

On July 15, the Etopia Centre for Art and Technology inaugurates “Consoles, democratising the digital image 1972-2003”, the largest exhibition held in Spain on the history of computer consoles and the digital image. An exhibition curated by Abraham San Pedro, a renowned expert in art and new media, with a collection of more than one hundred consoles, will allow the visitor to learn about the birth of the digital image, and various scientific, technological, and artistic milestones.

This exhibition documents the trajectory of the digital image, and how its destiny was marked by the consoles that democratized the digital image, which, thanks to its military origins, was originally restricted to military, technological, scientific and artistic use during its early years.

Video games social dimension through history

Visiting “Consoles, democratising the digital image 1972-2003”, will allow you to see a selection of the most important audiovisual works in military, scientific and artistic fields. It is within this audiovisual context that the first video games emerged. After this complete aesthetic and technological introduction, the exhibition offers a rigorous selection of all the consoles from the period 1972-2003; from the first console in history, the Magnavox Odyssey (1972), to the highest-selling console to date, the Playstation 2 (2001). The visitor will also be able to see a selection of video games from various points in history.

Etopia is backing this project as a new way of viewing and analyzing video games as cultural products with an artistic and social dimension. For this reason, throughout the exhibition, the Art and Technology Centre will host three parallel exhibitions in which video games are viewed as works of art.

Paralell exhibitions

The first of these parallel exhibitions is “Geometrics. Visual synthesis as an involuntary avant-garde art form” (15 July- September 26), dedicated to cubist abstraction in video games. The second, “No places. Configuration of space in video games” (30 September – November 28), will show the different ways of creating the illusion of space as a living environment throughout fifty years of history. The third, “Activism. Transforming the world through video games” (December 2 – January 30) will show video games that, from different points of view, have used their ability to seduce to modify the thoughts and behavior of player’s lives.

The exhibition “Consoles, democratising the digital image 1972-2003” will remain open to the public until January 30 2021, and will offer a wide program of parallel activities for all audiences in Etopia, ranging from presentations by renowned specialists in the field of digital, art and video games such as Karin Ohlenschlager, Roberta Bosco or Pau Alsina, to workshops related to video games aimed at children and young people, a cycle of screenings of film sequences included within the latest video games, and the projection of Visual pieces on the Etopia LED facade.

“Consoles, democratising the digital image 1972-2003” is a project developed under the direction of the art and new media curator Abraham San Pedro and produced by the Zaragoza City Council through the Etopia Centre for Art and Technology. It is part of the smARTplaces Program, co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union, and counts on the collaboration of Azkuna Zentroa – Alhóndiga Bilbao for its production.