Isabelle Arvers is a French artist and curator exploring for over 20 years the fields of digital art and video game, on formal as well as ethical and critical approaches. Her work explores the hacking possibilities of video games and mostly materializes in films called machinimas to be screened in on-site performative installation spaces. Arvers’ work grounded on collaborative experiences reflects all the possibilities of the “working together” processes. As a curator, she focuses on video game as a new language and as a medium for artists, notable exhibitions include Mind Control (Banana RAM Ancona, Italy, 2004), Node Runner (Paris, 2004), Playing Real (Gamerz, 2007), Game Heroes (Alcazar, Marseille, 2011), Evolution of Gaming (Vancouver, 2014)., UCLA Gamelab Festival (Hammer Museum, LA 2015, 2017), Machinima in Mash Up (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2016). In 2019, she embarks on an art and games world tour in non-western countries to promote diversity of gender, sexuality and geographic origin and focuses on queer, feminist and decolonial practices. Working towards an exhibition and an international conference on post colonial game studies to be held at la Sorbonne in 2020, her reports on the research tour can be read online in Usbek & Rica, Poptronics, Immersion.
» Raising Awareness of the use of Video Games as a Pedagogical Tool
In 2012, I started working as a curator of the art and research project, the antiAtlas of borders, concerning the mutations of borders in the 21st century. I curated seven exhibitions on the new types of border representations, the economy of borders, technologies of control and borders as well as the mathematization of borders. Risk Change invited some of the antiAtlas artworks inside its MIG 21 exhibition. In 2016, as a game artist and activist, I initiated a project of machinima workshops (movies made with video games) in the refugee camp of Calais. I directed a short machinima documentary titled “Heroic makers vs. heroic land,” which was then exhibited in Shelters of Babylon, another Risk Change exhibition.
In 2018, we organized TRANS//BORDER in Marseille, Nathalie Magnan’s teachings dealing with alternative media, hacktivism, and borders and technologies in the Mediterranean sea, and we facilitated a mapping and migration workshop in partnership with Risk Change and Zinc La Friche. I also hosted two trainings in the frame of Risk Change at Zinc. Designed as a training of trainers, the latter is aimed at professionals and / or volunteers involved in supporting newcomers. The training aims to make professionals aware of the use of video games as an educational tool. The goal is to create original forms of communication and reach effective new arrivals by offering them the opportunity to work with an alternative and innovative means of expression based on a tool that they know, even master, sometimes better than written or spoken language. Video games are a truly global culture today. These are the same games that are played all over the world, even in countries with a strong local culture, which is why they become a medium that can serve as a common basis to share knowledge beyond language. «
– Isabelle Arvers