AGO Let's Play: Picture This

Figure stands on the street in front of a taxi.

Image courtesy of Origame Digital 

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AGO Let's Play: Picture This

Wednesday August 5, 4PM

AGO Let’s Play is an exciting series of new programs investigating the intersection of art history, game arts and design. Join us on Twitch as we play and talk through a different game each week. We’ll explore how games shape culture, adopt art historical traditions and inspire new forms of community engagement. Twitch is an online space for viewers to watch others play while offering their insights about the game and, in our case, art more broadly.

In this program, we will be joined by Meagan Byrne, an artist and game designer, to investigate games as a form of speculative fiction. Together, we will discuss Umarangi Generation, a newly released game developed by Maōri artist, Veselekov. Set in a dystopian Tauranga, Aotearoa (New Zealand), you play as a photographer documenting various neighborhoods amidst a global crisis. Drawing upon a diverse set of references including Polynesian lore, iconography and history, the game creates a world that unites indigenous culture and science fiction within broader realities of climate change.


Image of a building at night.

Greg Girard. Home Base Bar, Okinawa, Japan, 2008. Archival pigment print, Overall: 101.6 × 124.5 cm. Gift of Greg Girard, 2017.  © Greg Gerard


Since the invention of the camera, artists have employed photography to document how crisis affects their cities and shapes their identities as citizens. Canadian photographer, Greg Girard, has spent much of his career in Asia, documenting societies amidst war, industrialization and political transformation. Two large format works, Home Base Bar, Okinawa Japan (2008) and ATM and Aircraft Carrier, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan (2008) are among those in our collection that best represent Girard’s body of work. Through the medium of photography, both Veselekov and Girard have shown an investment in a documentary approach that values color, technical prowess and composition. In presenting these scenes to us, they proffer the question: what is the role of photographic beauty at a time of change, discovery and disaster?

This conversation will be led by Aden Solway, AGO’s Curatorial Assistant for Live Projects & Performance.

. . . 

Meagan Byrne is an Âpihtawikosisân (Métis) digital media artist and game designer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She has received a B.A. of English Literature (2009) from McMaster University and a B.A. of Game Design (2017) from The Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Meagan’s practice, deeply rooted in Indigenous Futurisms, language and Indigenous feminist theory, marries narrative, game mechanics, sound and traditional art. Her first major work Wanisinowin | Lost (2015) has been shown at imagineNATIVE Media Festival, Toronto; Different Games Conference, New York; and IndieCade, California. Meagan was the first Digital + Interactive Coordinator at the imagineNATIVE Media Festival and is the current owner/lead designer of Achimostawinan Games, an Indigenous-run and staffed video game studio.

Aden Solway is an artist, curator and writer. They have held positions across three continents, supporting projects led by Sullivan Galleries, The Scotiabank Contact Festival, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Princeton University, The Art Institute of Chicago and York University. Over the last decade, they have maintained residency and fellowship positions at Burren College Of Art (Ireland), Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto), Cornell University's Faculty of Architecture, Art and Planning (NYC) and Nave Projects (Ecuador). They are the founder of Closed Office, a research laboratory that investigates the myriad intersections of urbanism, art and performance.


We acknowledge GAIN (Game Arts International Network) as our consulting partner.

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AGO Let's Play: Picture This


Friday, February 5, 1 pm
Friday, February 12, 11 am
Friday, March 5, 11 am
Friday, April 2, 11 am
Friday, April 23, 11 am
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