The exhibition theme “A-Real Engine” alludes to video games as an engine full of energy that keeps driving the development of digital culture. In the common formats of contemporary arts, such as kinetic installations, network art, technology art, encrypted art, and other creations in different aspects, such corresponding technological driving force can always be identified. Certainly, computer games are also included; they can even be evolved into creations like machinima. Computer-game-related software and hardware technologies, design mindset, and contents generated by users have all injected a stream of freshwater into artistic creations. On the other hand, the privative prefix, “A-” of “A-Real” refers to an explicit rejection of the distinctions between real/unreal, online/offline, and virtual/real. It is most probable that such a distinction may be invalid and has never been applied. In fact, games are a kind of reality.
Game engines are the environments and rulesets of game development and operations, whereas exhibitions are the environments in which artworks are being experienced or even completed. Artists build a brand-new narrative through computer game concepts and elements or deconstruct the game mechanism by disassembling the engine. Under guidance, the audience can further understand their own standpoints, or even find a path to escape from the system’s control, becoming a potential rule breaker. Additionally, repairing game consoles that preserve and recreate games that once brought pure joy to people is also an approach, and is one that makes people willing to spend all the coins in their pockets — all of these aspects are presented in the exhibition.