Frozen Donkey Wheel2:
Well, alright. First of all: Why do we need to convince people that videogames are art? What do we stand to gain from this? And especially Roger Ebert: His job has nothing to do with videogames. He is not, and is not claiming to be, an authority on anything gaming related. So why do we care what he thinks about games? And more importantly, why should we care what ANYONE things of games? Maybe if we're talking about legal battles and free speech and whatnot, but we aren't. As it is, we're just squabbling over semantics.
Secondly, even if it DID matter whether or not Ebert considered games to be art, convincing him to change his mind would be impossible. I'm pretty sure he said that as far as he's concerned, art isn't interactive. So his personal definition of art excludes videogames. That doesn't make him wrong, it just means he disagrees with a lot of people. But they aren't wrong, either.
This is why the "debate" is so pointless: It's like "debating" over the best color. (Which, incidentally, is blue.)
Green, actually. Lime green to be precise.
Ebert has nothing to do with video games, it's true - in fact, he even claims that he's never played a video game in his life because they don't interest him. That alone tells me that his opinion is irrelevant, but I must address it anyway for the sake of a balanced argument. Ebert, you see, is a highly reputable film critic and his opinion is held in high regard by many. While it's a pity his insight doesn't extend to video games, he still represents a demographic that believe games are not art.
As to why the entire debate is relevant to the industry, here's a few points:
- The medium of video games does not have the same respect as other mediums.
- For example, "I'm a starving but dedicated game developer" is a lot less noble than "I'm a starving but dedicated musician".
- Art is revered in a way that entertainment is not.
- As an art form, the medium would garner much greater respect from critics and prospective investors.
- An example of this can already be seen in the USA, where the NEA has chosen to recognise games as a legal form of art and thus eligible for artistic funding.
- Games can be censored in ways that art can't.
- Games that attempt cultural dialogue are dismissed.
I'm writing a university paper on this; I have it fairly well covered.
EDIT: And this makes the first thread I've made that's longer than one page! That's a milestone right there.
My thought is Cheese fries are awesome
Ok more seriously my real thought is, whos to say that a video game has not surpassed the greatest paintings, sculpture, film, or novel? Isnt what is the greatest up to personal opinion? For that matter what exactly defines the greatest? Artistic expression is not something that the US focuses on today unlike earlier parts in history in say Europe
Having been overseas many times Ive been able to look at all kinds of art from the Mona Lisa in the Louvre to the city of Petra. Likewise Ive read all sorts of literature from the (IMO highly overated) Shakespear plays to Journey to the west. Then there's films where Ive been a lover of them going from Casablanca all the way through Star wars. Its very hard to argue that something is not art when there's clearly some kind of creative drive to make it but for me I think some games have already surpassed some of the "greatest" artistic pieces in human history. They just arent seen that way and I think its mostly because people making that claim havnt played through them and taken the time to reflect on the games.
I would go further ask, why is some art so highly proclaimed. For example the Mona Lisa is unquestionably considered art in just about every community but having seen it I cant say its anything more then a painting of a lady. It doesnt engage you anymore then perhaps wondering why shes smiling or who she is. At least in absract paintings it triggers a bit of intellectual excersise as a person tries to figure out what it is.
Lets talk about Shakespear's work which is often proclaimed as the greatest literary work created in human history. Its no secret that I just dont get why its so awesome and I have to admit part of that reason is because its still read in old elizabethan style english. Unless you study that period of culture you basicly need a cultural dictionary to read his stuff today. However everything Shakespear wrote has IMO been rewritten and been done better in at least one other medium.
However to be fair, thats how I tend to look at such artistry. Its a personal outlook which will not match other people. People with differing opinions from mine arent wrong because an opinion, a completely subjective thing, cant be wrong
Funnily enough, I'm doing a Philosophy paper at university right now titled, "Media and the Arts", so hopefully I'll be able to say something to help you along.
You've already got a definition of "art" but here are some ideas that might help you to refine it:
1. Is "art" a product or a process? I think you'll find a lot of aestheticians claiming that a video game cannot be "true" art because of the process by which it is made. Classical art philosophers have a problem with mass production because there is not a single instance that can be called, "The work". It is one thing to say that there exists the Mona Lisa (original) and then millions of reproductions, and another to say that there is in fact no original copy at all (as is the case with video games and all mass-produced art forms).
2. Is something an artwork by virtue of it being an instance of a form (artform)? In other words, can we make an argument that "video game" is an artform, and so anything that belongs to the category "video game" is inherently an piece of art? Or can something belong to an artform while not being considered "art" (i.e, it must fulfill other criteria such as serving a function).
3. What is the relationship between the artist and the art work? What difference does it make if there are multiple people responsible for the work, and does a video game's interactive nature come into this?
As far as that statement goes, I'm of the opinion that an individual "work" is art by virtue of belonging to an artform. If I draw a stick man picture, that is "art" by virtue of it being a drawing, which is commonly called an artform. However, merely being "art" does not guarantee that it is good, so in this case I have simply made BAD art. This is a line of argument that speaks directly to your statement, and if I were you I would revise your definition somewhat so that it is form and not content that creates the work - and then go on to create an argument as to why this is the case.
You may, however, want to say that some people will simply not accept that it is the content that dictates whether an individual work is "art". For this you can draw upon what is sometimes called the "Eliminativist" view, by which art is only so-called because people in the position to do so call it that. That is, people in the economic or academic upper class. This view claims that there is no objective difference between subject matter than is "base" and that which is "artful", and so here your average video game is merely being subjected to classical snobbishness in being stripped of its "art" title.
This is getting rather long, so I'll just direct you to a couple of articles. For a definition and rebuttal of the "Eliminativist" position, you can read Noel Carroll's, "The Nature of Mass Art" (I believe this is in his 1998 book, "The Philosophy of Mass Art", but hopefully you can find that chapter in isolation online). Two related (short) articles that talk about academic snobbishness towards "mass" art, and the reason why it is important that something is labelled as art in the first place are:
"High and Low Thinking about High and Low Art", and;
"High and Low Art, High and Low Audiences", both by Ted Carroll.
I have to disagree. I would say that art is defined by the artist - if it is a meaningful expression that is designed to leave a profound emotional impact, then the creation of that artist is art, regardless of how it is received by viewers - regardless of whether or not the viewers experience the emotional impact that was intended.
The intention of the creator has no bearing on if something is art. It is best demonstrated, I think, by analogy. An engineer can endeavor to craft a fine weapon of war but just because this was the intent has nothing to do with the result. Just look at the Chauchet as an example. It also works in reverse just as well - one can create art without intending to do so. The city planners of Petra probably hoped the place would inspire awe, but when carving out of rock with ancient tools one must be pragmatic. A novice photographer can snap a photo that will touch someone deeply without consideration of framing or context.
By assuming intent defines art, you hopelessly undermine any attempt to define art even in a rudimentary sense. You include in the ranks of art every lousy doodle, every bad poem, every terrible short story, every terrible piece of music, every film that wasn't worth the celluloid, every trite photograph, every silly t-shirt logo; such a definition would encompass most works of man. Worse still, you remove the viewer from the equation because art is a form of communication - a dialog formed between the artist the experiences and prejudices of the viewer.
Art, as far as I'm concerned, is defined broadly and yet precisely. By defining it as some work of man that elicits a profound emotional response from the viewer you include all the eclectic tastes of the world and, in the end, would have a proper accounting of all things that could be called art by any viewer. Better still, it inherently allows something to have the variable stature of being art or not art. Because, in the end, the only difference between the master painting that has touched millions and the scribble on the sidewalk that touched a single person is scope. That doesn't mean that unpopular art is bad art - simply that the art failed to communicate a message that resounded with the viewer on a regular basis. The same effect could be achieved by translating a piece between vastly different cultures. I would expect, for example, that Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" would have that profound emotional impact on a resident of France far more often than a resident of North Korea.
I suppose the better way to frame the discussion isn't on "good" or "bad" art but rather "effective" art. If one person in an audience of billions considers something art, then it would be art. Just woefully ineffective art. Of course, super effective art has pitfalls as well. Popular art must, by virtue of popularity, appeal to a broad base meaning any messages will be vague at best reducing any potential emotional impact.
Or, to condense this overly long reply, Art is defined exclusively by the viewer.
I don't think that games and art belong in the same category, because games can not be art.
Now, before I get flamed to death:
This issue came up once in a discussion I was having with some people, and we reasoned that there is a difference between arts and crafts. We figure that art only exists to be art, which sets it apart from crafts- which have a purpose beyond that of their aesthetic or emotional value.
I personally believe that many, many things have the qualities of great art in them; some examples would include architecture and craft cars- but they don't have the oneness of purpose that art seems to hold. Honestly, I tend to prefer these to actual 'art', but that is a side point.
I think that under that definition, games have not reached the great masters of art- but why would they ever want to? Games are interactive entertainment vessels, whether this function precedes or follows their form. They may share the qualities of great art, and may someday be regarded higher than art- but unless you remove the function from them entirely (beyond attracting oohs and aahs) they are not in the same category.
So what is the purpose of crafts besides aesthetic or emotional value? I would argue that most crafts are in fact art, as they are not dissimilar to sculptures. Assuming, of course, that we are both thinking of the same meaning of crafts.
Also, I think you need to watch this Extra Credits video, since it appears you believe that art and entertainment are mutually exclusive.[/quote]
I think we're not on the same page when we talk about crafts. I'd contest that a 'craft' would be something made by a craftsman- like a tool or building. Both can have extreme aesthetic value (an example perhaps being a very well designed car or building) but serve more function than just being art, whereas I believe art has aesthetics as its most primary function.
My point is that I don't think you can consider video games as art so readily because the interactivity and entertainment functions exist in parallel with the aesthetics. They surely can have the same qualities as art, and even surpass art in those qualities- I just don't think you can compare the two effectively because of the additional functions they serve.