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Art History Of Games: Avoiding The 'Domestication' Of Game Art
Art History Of Games: Avoiding The 'Domestication' Of Game Art
February 5, 2010 | By Charles J. Pratt

February 5, 2010 | By Charles J. Pratt
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At the new, Gamasutra-attended Art History of Games conference in Atlanta, GA, professor John Sharp references the Renaissance period to explore the relationship of games with a burgeoning art movement.

In a separate lecture, Frank Lantz, creative director and co-founder, argues that games should embrace their "wild" side, and avoid the "domestication" of more established forms of art.

The Art History of Games - John Sharp

The question "are games art?" is often asked without a careful understanding of the long, complicated, and intertwined histories of both games and the fine arts. John Sharp, professor of game design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, tried to correct this oversight by surveying the role of both art and games in culture through the ages.

Games and art have been living side by side for a long time, and only recently have they started to intermingle in people's minds.

"If we look at a definition of art we can see that games meet most criteria," Sharp said. "Games have the potential to deliver deep meaning, just not in the places we're used to looking."

Sharp laid out the history of our concept of art, which he argued began in the Renaissance. Before then the role of art was almost exclusively for the personal use of a religious person. Beyond that, artists weren't precious about how they worked, often doing any job for which they were commissioned.

This changed in the high Renaissance, when art became part of the leisure culture of the aristocracy. Art was now considered primarily visual entertainment and the "artist" became a mythological character. "Game makers", Sharp pointed out by way of somewhat acid clarification, "were not given the same respect."

While games were an important part of life they were mostly associated with what were considered 'baser instincts', not the science and mathematics that the people of the Renaissance believed underpinned the elevation of art.

Through the 18th century games had become recognized as an important part of a well-rounded life. The poet Friedrich von Schiller saw art and creativity as only possible with play, but made clear that the games of his time did not live up to his ideals.

"As much as games mattered in life" Sharp commented, "they were not given the status of the arts." But at the beginning of the 20th century, conceptions about both art and games started to change.

Marcel DuChamp, who was influential in changing people's conception of what could or could not be art, was a devotee of chess and asserted that the play of chess was an art in itself. In the years that followed artists began exploring and taking on games.

Even so, Sharp pointed out "by the late '60s the art world is really open, but despite all this games still had trouble finding a place in the new order."

At this point it's not uncommon to see a game in a gallery. Projects by artists like Cory Arcangel have incorporated game elements, and the games of Mark Essen, such as Flywrench, have been featured in a number of shows.

In the end though, Sharp said that the relationship between games and art remains fraught. "To display a game in a gallery is to take away a part of its game-ness."

Doorknobs and Butterflies: Games after Art - Frank Lantz

Games are more and more recognized as an important art form, but Frank Lantz, creative director and co-founder of game studio area/code (Drop 7, Spore Islands), argued that there's a downside to this situation.

The move to more legitimacy can also be seen as a kind of "domestication" of games; a hemming-in of their wildness and often unruly nature. Lantz argued that perhaps the trick is not to change games to make them more like our conceptions of art, but to change the way we think about art in light of games.

Lantz opened his talk by talking about something that had been bothering him. He was concerned about the status of games as an aesthetic form. Video games have done much to bring people around to recognizing the value of games, according to Lantz, but there's still something strange and unruly about games that doesn't fit into common conceptions about art.

"This moment we're in offers an opportunity to look at art in a new light." Lantz said. "I like the feeling of wildness. This is what aesthetics should feel like."

Lantz argued that we should try to see games for what they are, rather than what we would like them to be. We should ask when we talk about games, what games are we talking about? Lantz asserted often when we talk about games we're really talking about single-player games. These games, according to the area/code co-founder, are easy to talk about because they seem like a tidy package of attributes, much like a painting or a film.

"However," he continued, "I can't help but thinking about the other games I play. Some are single-player, but some are not."

Looking at games like golf and chess Lantz pointed out that as much as single-player games might feel like films and photography, they're also undeniably similar to more traditional games. "They don't feel different, or even look that different." he said.

What we shouldn't be doing, he continued, is putting off talking about these games while concentrating on games that might be easier for us to discuss. Beyond that, we shouldn't suggest that single-player games are more important than other games.

"Are we going to say that Super Monkey Ball is inherently more valuable than golf?" Lantz asked. "We make it easy on ourselves by excluding these games. It's lazy."

The problem, Lantz pointed out, was that games like golf and chess don't look much like what we recognize as art. They don't resemble a painting or a novel. "They're more like ways of life." Lantz said. People devote their entire lives to just one of those games.

Finally, Lantz asserted that while games might not fit into the normal templates for how we think about art, this doesn't mean that we should exclude games from our conception of aesthetics.

Instead, he concluded, if aesthetics cannot take games into account then we should re-engineer our ideas about aesthetics: "The way we think about aesthetics needs to change."

[Charles J. Pratt is a freelance game designer and a researcher at NYU's new Game Center.]


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Comments


John Petersen
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Y'know there are alot of beautiful games out there, that have some beautifully rendered graphics and meanings. I would almost considering calling them art, but I can't because they are trapped within a machine, that needs power.



Will that art still be veiwable 200 years from now if all the technology in the world was killed off for some reason. If the answer is yes, then I could consider videogames as art.



But I don't see it happening, I think I've gone through 3-4 maybe 5 operating sytems just in the last 5-6 years, and I can't play most of the games from a few years back. That's not what art is about.



Right now I see three forms of art when it comes to videogames and only one of them will stand the test of time. The Box art... The other two I'll let you figure out.



If you really want to get into the museums, I would suggest "The art of" approach. That'll probably get your foot in the door. But don't mistake craft for art.



And for god's sake don't create the art with a computer graphics program.

Sharon Hoosein
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John,

I have to disagree with you. Paintings are trapped within their canvases just as videogames are trapped within their consoles. A lot of sculpture has been completely destroyed through time, including a bronze stallion by Leonardo Da Vinci that was melted in order to make ammunition. Film fades over time, paintings do too. In a lot of museums, you're not allowed to take pictures of the art because the flash damages the work.

The reason why the old art that is still around is still around is because you have museum curators going around and restoring the work when it becomes damaged. Because no one has bothered to "restore" videogames by reprogramming them for modern consoles does not devalue their artistic merits, at least in my opinion.



As for the needing power to run part, film/animation needs a projector or viewing screen. Holography needs a light source. A lot of robotic art still needs power. Just because a piece relies on technology does not make it any less art.



Also, since when did art have to be shown in museums to be art? Are the murals of Diego Rivera any less art simply because they weren't in museums? What about public sculpture? Even artists today don't always make art museums, some, such as Ally Reeves make art that is meant to be transported around a location http://themobilemuseum.com/about/index.html.



And I'm a bit confused about your objections to creating art with a computer graphics program. How is Photoshop any different than painting, other than it is in the digital realm? The same concepts of lighting, color, composition, etc still apply. It's just virtual instead of physical. Does it suddenly become art if printed out on shiny paper and framed?

Demitrius Pennebaker
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Someone who paints an advertisement on the side of a business may not call that art, but then go home and, using the same brush, paint something he does consider art.

A video game, like a painting, is only the result of the use of various tools.

Also, to discuss this with any meaning, you have to know the definition of both games and art. On this site we should all know what games are. In my opinion, art is simply a creation or arrangement which is called art by it's creator or arranger. It's not limited to visual aesthetics. It encompasses the auditory (Mozart), the experiential (Hermann Nitsch), the literary (Mark Twain), and even the culinary (Masashi Ogata). (google is great for helping me sound like I have a big brain)

The observer's value judgment (whether or not they like it or call it good or bad) doesn't decide whether a piece is art or not.

You can't say that all games are or are not art. But if the designer intends it to be art, and the game is executed to the designer's basic specifications for that piece, then I would say that it is. That's not to say that it's beautiful, deep, or appealing in any other way to the end user. It is only to say it would still be art.

Fictional test case:

Texture artist on "Hitting Kickballs With a Baseball Bat Part 6" was only able to finish the texture for 'random_pedestrian3' before quitting due to artistic differences. The game was built to tie in to a movie of the same name, and not considered art by the development team. If the texture artist considers the specific texture he contributed to be artistic, then that texture is art and the rest of the game is not.

The question I still haven't figured out is, what if a game (or painting, for example) is made just to make a quick buck, but it is critically lauded as a great piece of art? The critics and public called it art, but the people who made it don't. Then is it art?

John Petersen
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Hey Sharon,



It's ok you disagree, i know many people will.



One of the big complaints the industry is having is they can't get Manhunt to sit next to one of Ralph Wolf Cowen's portrait's in a museum.



Paintings can be seen without anything else other than the eyes or felt with the hands, Music/ears/eyes they don't need anything else for them to be seen or heard. They don't need lines of code or a computer to play them, nor electricity.



I do agree, much beloved and worthy art never makes it to museums. But much like everything else, alot depends on how much money can be brought in by having a certain artist in the house.



Without a computer program and power, videogames will not exist, but contemporary art will... Video games will simply be on a disc or code that can't be used and they cannot be played. So if the power goes out, the art is not there.



Film does not need a projection device for it to be a movie, lot's of pictures (frames) of some thing moving will create a movie. No power is needed to create a movie with pictures. Not so with video games.



As far as computer programs used to create art goes, that's a personal opinion on my part, but to guard that belief all I can really say is, anybody can create a perfect circle with a computer program, but how many of the same people can create a perfect circle without a graphics program?



If I want to create a rust effect on something like a lamp post (something physical) I would mix sand with burnt sienna color and apply it to the lamp post. You can feel it in your hands.



If you create rust on a lamp post in a game, you simply hit the rust brush and apply it to a ingame lampost and it's done, but it really doesn't exist, it's digital, and basically worth nothing. You can't feel it in your hands. It's not made up of earthly materials, it's simply code.



Anything printed from the original art isn't art, it's a print. A copy.



I would suggest "The art of" approach for recognition and development of future endeavors to consider videogames as art.

clyde marshall
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I like what Frank Lantz is suggesting; if games are not art, then we need to change the definition of art.

We need to ask ourselves what we get out of thinking of an image or a melody as art, and then do that for games.

I want to think of games as art in order to better understand how they change us. I want to discuss their design in general terms and write manifestos about what direction they need to go into.

Matthew Elvey Price
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Honestly I think John's argument is slightly absurd - valuing the physical presence of something over the social importance and meaning of it doesn't make any sense. They are fundamentally unrelated concepts. Even if it was the important factor the reasoning for excluding only games is entirely arbitrary. You are not going to hear music if we lose the technology for instruments or playback devices. Films cannot be played without projectors, especially the audio component if you're going to argue about it.



Anyone can make a "perfect circle" without computer graphics. Grab a cup and paint around it, you probably learned that in primary school. Even if we accepted computer graphics somehow rob the creation of artistry, you make no mention of computer generated audio (Which I incidentally dislike because it has been fairly rudimentary, but it can still be used well by skilled people).



A copy of a painting doesn't necessarily have artistic value in itself, but it conveys the artistic value of the original creation to viewers so it does have a place.



In my opinion art must mean something to people and specifically to the creator. Any art can be robbed of that meaning in some way, an example that covers basically all types of art being to remove all life capable of comprehending that meaning from existence. The fact that it's easier to hide or remove the meaning of some forms of art does not make them less artistic, but more fragile. If you create an art game, essentially you need to convey some meaning with it. That's not to say it needs to mean something to everyone as tastes and interests differ, but it needs to mean something to someone, even if that's just the creator.

Francois Kasjan
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The definition of 'art' is enormous. Ask yourself what is art, then ask 10 people and you will never get the same answer :)



A game should not be considered as art only because graphics are great.

John Petersen
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I'm pretty sure "art" must have a physical presence and be one of a kind in order to be considered "art". But I could be wrong.



Video games don't do that. The only real physical presence video games present are the disc and whatever else is needed to run the game. They're not one of a kind (Though there are many videogames unreleased, unpublished and unplayable by the general public) but in the end they all end up copies. And that's what makes me believe that maybe the code or the artwork within the games could be considered art. You can make them physical and they can be one of a kind.



But just because something is physical and one of a kind, doesn't mean it's "art".



Movies, music, plays, paintings, sculture and books can all be created and ejoyed without the use of a computer or even electricity. Videogames can't.



But the code can be generated without the use of a computer, that might be considered art. You could shape the disc into a form of something in the game, that could be considered art, you could paint a scene from within the game on a canvas, that would more than likely be considered art.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutraís Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Chris Remo
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John,



Recorded music and books are not "one of a kind." They are released as mass media, as copies. Sure, there's a manuscript of a book and a master copy of a recording, but there's nothing artistically that distinguishes those physical entities from their reproductions. The actual art and craft of the copy is identical to the original. So why do they get a pass on that criterion, but games do not?

Georges Grondin
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John,

I get the impression that your main criterion for defining what is art and what isn't is whether the work in question could survive a zombie apocalypse. Either that or there's some mystical property inherent to the flow of electrons that inhibits audiovisual stimuli from being called 'art'.



Ultimately, I think your definition of art fails because it includes the evaluation of the physical medium which conveys the work to the spectator. It's my opinion that art should be evaluated solely on the basis of how it is experienced. An audiovisual stimulation is an audiovisual stimulation whether it comes from a computer screen or from a canvas. Although the computer image may be 'immaterial' because it can ultimately be reduced to a sequence of ones and zeroes, it still possesses physical reality insofar as it has the ability to impact the spectator and potentially affect how he/she thinks and acts in the world. And that impact can continue, even after a zombie apocalypse.



Saying that a work of art must be physical, durable, and unique misses the point of art entirely. Art has nothing to do with the tools used by the artist, nor does it have anything to do with how the work is presented. Any definition of art that refers to something other than the immediate experience of the work is doomed to fail because it detracts from what is significant in art, which is its message and its potential to affect people.



Also, your injection of technology and its durability into the question of the definition of art is patently contradictory. You say that digital art isn't art because it can't survive the zombie apocalypse, yet you say movies are still art because you can splice together images taken from an analog camera. Who is to say analog cameras can survive the zombie apocalypse? You seem to be imposing ad-hoc an arbitrary technological bar which defines what technology is and isn't capable of producing art. Artists throughout history have been able to produce new works due to innovations in technology. Digital art is a further step in that process, and to consider it otherwise because it uses electricity or makes it easier to draw a circle is downright ridiculous.

Demitrius Pennebaker
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An example of non-permanent art can be found in Buddhist sand mandalas. They are intricate, beautiful, and may take a team of monks weeks to create. When they are done, the whole thing is destroyed in a ritual meant to reflect the impermanence of life.



You'd be hard pressed to find anyone to agree that Buddhist sand mandalas aren't art. I'd even argue that they have more meaning as art because of their impermanence.



Art is broadly defined, which is great. It means that as a game developer, you have the power to be creative in whichever way you find meaningful, and call it art. Then, whether I think it's good art or not, I will concede that it is art, regardless. I'll further argue that if you want to be accurate, then you'd have to concede the same.



Princeton defines art:



1. the products of human creativity; works of art collectively; "an art exhibition"; "a fine collection of art"

2. the creation of beautiful or significant things; "art does not need to be innovative to be good"; "I was never any good at art"; "he said that architecture is the art of wasting space beautifully"

3. a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation; "the art of conversation"; "it's quite an art"

4. artwork: photographs or other visual representations in a printed publication; "the publisher was responsible for all the artwork in the book"



(wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)





That more or less reflects the definition I gave in my previous reply, and also Francois Kasjan's sentiment that "the definition of art is enormous."



If you made it, and you call it art, then it's art. If you didn't make it, but you own it and have rearranged or modified it, then it's art if you say it is. This doesn't define good art, or provide a definition that excludes art you don't like, but it's as accurate as anyone will get without cutting out good examples of unorthodox art.



Can games meet the criteria? Obviously yes. Do they always? Obviously no.

Andrew Spearin
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An artist wants to stimulate your senses through their work, to create a resonating impression that formulates into an interpretation of both the artist's and viewer's experience. Where the important part of art is found, is not necessarily in the piece itself, but in the thought that resonates.



Games already are works of art because they are designed with the player's experience in mind. Where they need to concentrate more (outside of the marketing department) is the lasting impression when the player is not actively in the game, when their mind remains in the game world.



Some people can feel art, but others obviously cannot. The number of people playing and making games is shifting more towards those who can feel art... that is why this issue arises.

John Petersen
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Y'all eventually figure it out. Keep poking around.

Andrew Spearin
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We already figured it out John, we're just trying to make sense of it for the sake of those who do not understand.



;)

John Petersen
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Just out of curiosity I'm doing a test... I am querying a pretty famous art gallery about videogames as art and let's see how they respond. When and if I get a response out of them (lol) I'll post it up. Here's the query:



Sent to: Human Resources Manager of the Norton Museum of Art and various other recipients on Feb, 07 2010 10pmish EST.



Subject line- Art submission guidelines



Hello,







My name is John petersen and I'd like a little information about submitting art to the gallery.









I would like to know if videogames are considered art, and who do I contact about displaying them at the Norton Art Gallery?







If Videogames are not art, what could I do to make them art, and display them at the Norton Art Gallery?

John Petersen
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@ Andrew



Yeah yeah ;)

John Petersen
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@ Demitrius Pennebaker

I think as long as it's not mass produced it could be considered a peice of art.



I have a table that i slapped some designs to that alot of people call art, but I don't think it's art.

Germain CouŽt
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@ John



Nope still wrong. How about all those famous photographs? They're basically mass produced from an original roll of film.



If something determines what is art, it's that there is NO criteria except the experience and meaning that comes out of it. Whether people get it or not doesn't matter. Whether everyone has a copy in his home or not doesn't matter (especially with internet). Think about the best song you can recall, it's art right? Yet how many people have a copy of it? probably thousands.



It doesn't matter what it is. If it creates meaning, feelings or emotions... it's art. Therefore games can be art.

John Petersen
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Ok, so on the other newsblast, I told them that I was researching this and my opinion on this matter and art may change as I go along.



Here's some info that could be possible reasons why museums won't consider videogames as "art"



There are so far 2/3 possible reasons:



1. They are Utilitarian: The rule of utility: the good is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism



2. They are a functional object - Art usually implies no function other than to convey or communicate an idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetics





Edit:



3. Commercial or industrial use- Likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way it may be considered design instead of art, or contrariwise these may be defended as art forms, perhaps called applied art. Some thinkers, for instance, have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with the actual function of the object than any clear definitional difference.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetics





Now, granted I do not know for sure whether or not this is true, but it seems very likely this might be part of the problem

Heliora Prime
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www.deviantart.com, art? I think that what is considered art, is considered traditionally.

Games can be art, but I don't think it will hang in a museum. Maybe in the future with holograms and other Star Trek interactive stuff it could be possible.

then you still have the issue of copying. Anyone can get the game, but not anyone get get the real Mona Lisa.



And no, I don't think photoshop stuff is art. That's simply craftsmanship, it's so easy to correct stuff. CTRL Z. Okay painters can get a new canvas, but they have to start all over again.

It's like finishing a game with no saving options and checkpoints, it takes way more skill then when you could save at any point.

Georges Grondin
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I think it's a mistake to say that art has to be a display of expertise in a particular medium in order to be called art. If anything, I would say 'mere' technical expertise is the realm of the craftsman, not that of the artist. Art is different from craft because of the way in which the medium is used to convey a message.



John,

While I think many of the reasons you outlined above make some sense and could be argued for, I don't think they necessarily exclude games from being considered as art. When you strip a video game down to its basic elements, it's essentially an interactive audiovisual experience. This experience doesn't necessarily have to be created for utilitarian or commercial purposes; it's very possible to conceive of an interactive audiovisual experience that has no function other than to convey an idea. Whether or not any videogame has ever demonstrated such a thing is a matter of debate, but it is conceivable.



In fact, I'd argue videogames have great potential as an artistic medium because they include the spectator in an active rather than merely passive function. By making the spectator's input an intrinsic part of the work's message, videogames have the potential to be a powerful way of conveying the artist's sentiment.

Dragos Stanculescu
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Hello.



Perhaps this will be slightly offtopic at first, or even part redundant, but since I do have a big interest in art and also a big interest in games, I must add my proverbial 2 cents to the pot,.Apologies for my English, for it is not my native tongue.



Art (as far as humans are concerned), is by excellence a platform for expression, This has been stated above. If it is not experienced (never seen , never heard, never felt by anyone, not even its creator) it might as well not exist.

That experience generated in the spectator (or creator) is immaterial by nature. Is nothing tangible in my feelings about a painting, is nothing tangible about the emotion a sculpture would generate. (or if you are not into the spiritual stuff, and want to get technical, is all electric impulses in the brain, much like a computer).



The skill of the creator should be less about impressing the spectator with his craftsmanship ( "I can do this painting without many mistakes, without Ctrl+z, so I am better then the ones that would do the same thing digitally" is a craftsmanship statement, not an art one), and more about the final result talking to the spectator.



Of course there are the cases where the physicality of the art piece, the effort implied in creating the object is the message, more then the idea it is trying to communicate. I do agree that part cannot be fully replicated, at least yet, in digital media. But that is not ALL what art is about. It is not its essence. It just a part.

Digital media however brings interactivity. That cannot be replicated with ease physically. That's also an important part in communication, in creating emotion, art.



Is perennial nature a condition for art that classical art fulfills? Not so much. Physical art also has the decay over time. We can only speculate how the ancient Greek statues were painted. They were not marble-white. The original message of the creator is lost to us. Pigment decay in paintings also made them look different now. Of course highly trained teams of restorers can try to figure out how they look, and restore them, but then so can software engineers do with old pieces of interactive software (again this has been stated again in this thread). the differences are, odds are restoration of software will produce a more faithful representation of the original then restoring classical art.



When we leave this world will not be with anything material . So I absolutely don't get the obsession about art having to be material or limited edition in order to be considered art. If it has generated the same kind of emotions, feelings as classical physical painting did then it is art just as much. It has fulfilled its purpose.





Regarding digital art as art.... the dispute bears a lot of resemblance with the critique that abstract art has received when first raised its voice . I must admit that as a teenager learning to draw I regarded abstract art to be a fraud because it did not fit my thought patterns. It did not speak to me. It was thus not art. Now when I am ( hopefully) wiser I can see its merit. I can appreciate composition without a figurative scaffolding. I can appreciate an experiment for what it is trying to do rather then what it is.



In short, I find no grounds for dismissing the digitally created media as viable art.





And now on-topic :).



It can be argued that if we only consider emotional response as an art yardstick, then we risk mixing up art with kitsch. It can be argued that art is defined by the cultural value of the segment of the public it talks to. Games talk to gamers. Gamers do not have a good public image when it comes to broad cultural horizons, at least not in 2010.



Taking into account the above, the only hurdle that we have for games to be considered art is then to educate the our public. To refine their taste past just blood splatters and omglol. And then their cultivated feedback will aid us in honing our skills with this new medium.



The sad part is that the corporate hunger for money is always an enemy of art. For massive gains the large corporations (and governments alike) want a mis educated public that devours everything it is thrown at it without many thoughts. That's way past commercial. That consumerism. Our art creating ancestors had the luxury of a highly educated art public, even if their work was in many cases commissioned by aristocracy and church (and thus, to some extent, commercial).







Bottom line.



Can digital paintings be as much art as a classical one. Definitely.

Can games be art?. Definitely.

Are they there yet? Only a few.

Can we get there on a large scale? Not without the public and trade evolving massively.

John Petersen
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@ Georges Grondin



Yeah, I gave that some thought before I posted. There are some types of art that completey disregard skill as being part of the meaning as art. But so far these make more sense than anything. And it's reasonable.



For me, art really is one of a kind. That's why mass production makes sense. I can understand why using something for commercial purposes wouldn't be art, because the only thing someone is really saying when they mass produce something is "Buy me". (granted there are many peices that speak to me that are mass produced, but it doesn't have the same magic, because I know someone else has the exact same thing somewhere else)





As far as functionailty of an object. I don't really care much for that reason, but it does distinguish it as different.

John Petersen
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@Dragos



For me the reason it needs to be in a physical form is because, it simply won't disappear or be forgotten as easily. It's sort of like someone else holding up a goldchain in the mirror, the goldchain is in the mirror but you can't take it from the mirror and freely do what you want with it.



Games do have art in them, and are made by artists to invoke certain feelings and send certain messages, just not for the right reasons (sometimes for the right reasons). That's my personal opinion whether it be right or wrong. Art to me is more about integrity, suffering, joy and the human condition than it is about money. And where videogames are concerned it's mostly about money.



I love playing games, and at many points I can see the art, until I start seeing Burkerking ads, and big flashing advertisements of other games. It just get's rediculous.



At this pace, in time there won't be a seperation of what distiguishes art from anything else, and everything will be considered art, then there won't be any art at all.

John Petersen
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Ok, so I got a reply back from the museum and this will end my journey on this subject until a much later date lol., here's what they suggested:



Dear John,







No, we do not consider video games as art. You might try the Experience Music Project/ Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (EMP/SFM) in Seattle.

Dragos Stanculescu
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But John, who says digital art is not here to stay. I can open old format graphic files from the 286 days just fine. They look the exact same way as they did the day were created.

My pencil sketches from that period however have turned yellow.



And there was a time when anyone from a museum would not have dreamed of considering photography art.



It is very easy for that museum employee to fall into the superiority trap. Is very easy to have preconceived notions about gaming because he was only looking towards the past, (like any good museum employee does) and only to what he knew about games. I'm willing to make a bet that, upon hearing your question, he did not dare to challenge his preconceived notions nor look towards the future.



Just my 2 cents :P.

John Petersen
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We don't need the acceptance of videogames as art in the traditional sense interfereing in the progress of videogames. Why would we want art interfering in the beautiful beast that is videogames anyways?



You know, i'm willing to back the "art of" videogames. Heck I've even got some idea's for it, I think videogames should continue to go their own way and create their own art museums. They can do that. It'd also be interesting to see the guidelines for submissions too.



It'd probably look something like this:



Must be in a playable form

Must have sold 1 million units

Must have a website (Free websites aren't acceptable)

Must have used at least 3 different software programs

Must relinquish all rights

Concepts are not accepted

Demitrius Pennebaker
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I like to think that as the novelty of high-end graphical prowess wears off, it's only natural that the next step for games will include more artistic expression and personal creativity.

That's what happened in traditional art. The skill of painting photo-realistic images was and is an amazing skill. But as a style, photo-realism in painting turned out to be just a quick blip on the radar of art history.

It's also interesting to note that a lot of great art early on was commissioned by churches and wealthy families. It wasn't until paint became less expensive that artists became more expressive.

Now we see that as the tools for game development become more accessible to indie devs we're seeing a lot more risks taken.

So as for high-art in games, I think we're getting there.


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