We are so pleased to announce the appointment of our new director, Luján Oulton, who will lead Now Play This into our 2024 festival and beyond! We’ve already started plotting what that will look like, and are very excited to start sharing our plans with you soon. For now, here is a small intro from Luján herself about joining the Now Play This team and how the future is going to unfold!
Art and games share a long and complex relationship, stretching back to the roots of mankind. However, it’s only recently, relatively speaking, that we as a society have started to explore it in depth. Now Play This is one of the few exhibits consistently dedicated to this subject, and has grown into one of the most iconic international game art festivals. I’ve followed NPT from its inception, witnessing the evolution and growth of the Festival under different directors and proposals, each marching to the beat of the ever-changing game art scene. I’ve always admired how NPT bridges the gap between artists and game developers, reaching a wider audience and showcasing innovative ways of incorporating play, technology, and art.
I’m thrilled to join the NPT team and to continue the remarkable work initiated by founders Holly Gramazio and V Buckenham, and carried on by subsequent directors Marie Foulston and Sebastian Quack. Their contributions have shaped NPT’s present form and I look forward to pushing the dialogue between Games and Art further, inviting new voices to the table. And I must say, having roots in Argentina I add an extra personal goal to bridge the global south and the global north as well.
The past decade has been pivotal for the game art field. Major art museums have welcomed videogames, countless interviews, articles, talks, and videos have deepened the conversation about the intersection of art and videogames. During this time, NPT has showcased numerous topics that play can address and the ways in which art and play merge. Now, we aim to take it a step further. We aspire to make NPT a hub where inspiration and fun become action, where individuals from diverse fields and places gather to create together. NPT is where magic happens and where games find meaningful context. Now Play This will always be a site for celebration and inspiration—a meeting ground where art and play converge to advance the dialogue. We are planning great things, hoping to expand the festival and to iterate on some of our previous communal experiences.
About Lujan Oulton
Luján is a cultural producer and new media art curator with a specialization in videogames. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, she currently resides in Barcelona, Spain. For over fifteen years, Luján has contributed to the game art field as a curator, researcher, and advocate for women’s involvement in the gaming industry.
In 2009, she established Game on! El Arte en Juego the first exhibition in Argentina to focus on the triad of art, video games, and society, which ran for over a decade, and included pop-up events internationally. Other video game exhibitions include Transitio (Mexico) Oasis (Spain & Mexico). Concurrently, Luján curated and produced contemporary and new media art exhibits and events where bioart, robotics, playful media, and videogames coexisted.
Luján created the research program on game studies, “Cuaderno de Game Studies,” at Universidad de Palermo (Argentina) in 2018. A year later, along with Jim Munroe, she co-founded GAIA (Game Arts International Assembly), an organization and event dedicated to the community of cultural producers, curators, and organizers who regard video games as a cultural artifact.
Luján has co produced a diversity of events such as Fuck Up Nights Buenos Aires, while also contributed to numerous publications and given talks at international events and universities. She is also the co-founder of Women in Games Argentina, a member of the Game Studies Group at IIEAC, and collaborates with Arsgames in Spain.
In her free time she can be found training aerial silk, hoop or enjoying time with her kids Vera and Gael.