Second and last chapter of my report from the GAMERZ festival, one of the very few French festivals that doesn’t play it safe nor stiff with a programme that endorses the unexpected, a laid-back atmosphere, a few famous names but also an impressive line-up of fresh talents. Plus, it’s in Aix-en-Provence so as the French say “y’a pas photo!” (which means something like ‘it’s a no-brainer.’)

This year’s edition of the GAMERZ festival not only demonstrated that there is nothing trivial about play but it also explored how our relationship to play has changed with the advances of technology. And, more interestingly, it invited us to join artists whose work investigates how the digital age is changing man, whether we’re talking about Huizinga’s homo ludens, the working man (Homo Faber) or more generally the modern man (Homo sapiens.)

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The piece is made of Exxon, Shell, BP, and Mobil oil cans, but overnight, the local gallery staff had them secretly changed to Petronas labels. Though this violates the contract, I decided to keep the piece in the show because of the strange situation this tampering creates–a nationally owned oil company rushing to put its logo on a piece of art that is highly critical of the oil industry and what it appropriates and extracts

The works on show range from a robotic soccer robot to the Soccket energy generating football, from the ever irresistible and painful Leg Shocker to the world premier of Jer Thorp’s immersive installation The Time of the Game. The result is an exhibition that brings into a highly popular museum an entertaining but also critical and provocative view of the impact that technology has on ‘the beautiful game.’