Monday, April 15, 2013

My failed CoP practical...

For the practical aspect of context of practice, I thought about creating a game engine-based gallery where aspects of games would be placed into a different, 'high-art' setting in an attempt to encourage rethinking their status as an art form.

Due to time restraints I haven't managed to achieve this. I have a rough block-out of the structure, but there are no textures, content, sounds, etc.

However through writing my essay I have gained some more knowledge on the debate of games as art and of high/low culture. I've become aware that it is problematic for the majority of commercial games - which I'd thought about putting in this gallery - to be art, because they are not created with that in mind. Games that continually repeat tropes of genres are the equivalent of cinematic blockbusters - enjoyable in their own right, and often filled with visual splendours, but lacking depth. 

Art evokes a different response, whether that's the 'sublime' aesthetic experience written about in philosophy, or the contemplative response to challenging contemporary conceptual pieces.

The majority of games however are created to entertain and fulfil the desires of the player. Certain games are said to be art for their compelling stories, but often the narrative has little to do with the gameplay and more to do with pre-rendered cut-scenes or dialogue, which although effective make it difficult to classify as 'games as art'. 

Ludology claims that games should be viewed as an autonomous cultural form, and not interpreted as an extension of painting, film or literature. It should be understood as structural play. This again is difficult to translate into my gallery idea as I'd have to incorporate some way for the in-game player to experience the game within a game... which is beyond my capabilities.

I'd presumed that games should be appreciated in this gallery context for their visuals, which is why I originally considered putting screenshots in there - but this is actually very superficial and doesn't begin to understand how they can be seen as a valid art form. 

I've also become more aware of how artists do actually use the medium of games and the gallery setting to express 'high art' ideas, so in many ways my idea doesn't really achieve much as it already exists. The mediums of art today are so amalgamated and postmodern that it's no wonder games have been used to this effect. 

In light of discovering just how broad this whole discussion is, I'm not actually sure how I'd manage to translate it succinctly into a practical product. I like the idea of creating a game that focusses more on the act of playing than on meaning-making, but again I lack the knowledge of how to do this. 

Nevertheless it's been an eye-opening journey!

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