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Thread: Smithsonian And National Endowment For The Arts Ends Argument: Video Games ARE Art

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    Great description. It has been a while since I have read any of these works. With my Kant-Plato comparison I was referring to Kant's later works. Younger Kant was all against religion, if I recall, then he changed his mind (more specifically about Truth) and his later works reflect this. I was referring to Hume's skeptic philosophy in the gravity allegory in comparison to the (popular) post-modern world view.

    As far as the world not agreeing with Hume more than (older) Kant today, I think our experiences have clashed.

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    Most philosophers meander all over the place throughout their life, true. People have been known to change. Analytic-Synthetic is Kant though, and it does persist. As people age they get increasingly pragmatic. When one is about to die, what's the harm in accepting something you previously rejected if it brings your mind some ease? You could just say you're going senile.


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    Dr. Marshall Bradley, the prof who taught me this stuff years ago, said it like something this. Like most young brilliant thinkers, Kant thought he could overthrow the world and was anti-establishment. Then he got married, had kids and started seeing them spontaneously do things he never taught them. At which point, and I'll quote this, he said "son of a bitch, jesus-christ, those things the bible says are true after all!"

    I wasn't sure if Bradley was talking about himself or something he knew about Kant at that point. The guy could read and write German and Greek and made a lot of sense though, so I took him at his word on that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfrider31 View Post
    Shakespeare would like to have a word with you. Actually, if you look at the history of art and literature a great many artists were incredibly affluent - or at least supported financially by the aristocracy. It wasn't because art was particularly profitable, but you simply couldn't be a member of the working class and still have time to devote yourself to artistic endeavors. In fact pretty much all the literature written from the Augustan Period to the end of the Romantic period were written by those from the upper class. Music and visual art follows a similar trend.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryaan1234 View Post
    You know what, I'm going to throw my $0.02 in here.

    Art embodies the human ability to express oneself. It can be made for profit, to send a message, and even for fun. That's the beauty of it. At least that's how I see it. Video games as art? Yes, I think in a way all video games are art. For instance something like Ocarina of Time would be the art world's equivalent of the Mona Lisa, mainstream, brilliant, and loved by many. What about Madden 94? Would that be art too? Yes, it would be a really basic nondescript flower painting. (Imagine something you see hanging in the doctor's office )

    I believe there are different "tiers" of art ranging from the really boring mass produced pieces (Kinkade is a great example) up to the really wonderful pieces Da Vinci and Dali created. Lowbrow and highbrow if you will. We can then classify video games as art where the really amazing ones stand out and the games created just for profit (and some other categories) fall into the lower tier. You don't have to judge Guitar Hero 27 on the same level as Earthbound. Some people use art as a catch-all term where it means everything needs to be judged equally. And that's not the case.



    This is one of the STUPIDEST things I have read in a long time. Some of the most respected pieces of art were created for profit! For instance Da Vinci's The Last Supper was created on commission!


    There is a HUGE difference in supporting an artist and embrace his/her talent and obviously pay him to work .... for god's sake, don't take things too literally, people have to eat.

    But Da Vinci didn't do it for money, he was one of the most intelligent and gifted persons to ever exist; the money was the least of his problems, hahahahaha. He did it JUST TO MAKE THE MOST IMPRESSIVE WORK OF ART EVER, like all of its works.

    You are talking about THE LAST SUPPER !!!!!!!!!!!!!, not some stupid Apple painted on canvas for a rich guy, hahahaha.

    Did you have to use the work "stupidest" ? I mean, you can just answer a bit more polite when you disagree ....

    What i really find incredible is that you dared to compare THE LAST SUPPER with a VideoGame .... come on, there are many other examples that worked best, like the PopArt revolution of Andy Warhol or something else, just not the LAST SUPPER ....

    Video Games are just created to profit, not to be on a museum. There are real artists and very talented people creating these amazing digital entertainment pieces, but in the end the GOAL is only to make money.

    Most independent works on VG try to express something .... but in the end they get sold to a huge studio and the message is usually lost. To create something with meaning, that should be the main goal .... if you don't have FULL SUPPORT to create something, its very hard not to lost focus on the real meaning of your work.




    Just to make more clear my argument: Art will sell and is profitable, but profit is not the main goal. You can sell millions of Twilight books and also millions of the "Iliad and the Odyssey" because of its greatness.
    Last edited by eskobar; 02-16-2011 at 09:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eskobar View Post
    There is a HUGE difference in supporting an artist and embrace his/her talent and obviously pay him to work .... for god's sake, don't take things too literally, people have to eat.

    But Da Vinci didn't do it for money, he was one of the most intelligent and gifted persons to ever exist; the money was the least of his problems, hahahahaha. He did it JUST TO MAKE THE MOST IMPRESSIVE WORK OF ART EVER, like all of its works.
    First of all, I don't disagree with you there. Da Vinci was a brilliant man. Of course he tried to create a great work of art but the point was that he still was paid to create the piece. He was passionate about his work but I highly doubt he did it just to make an impressive piece.

    (The Mona Lisa was also made on commission but I digress)

    Quote Originally Posted by eskobar View Post
    You are talking about THE LAST SUPPER !!!!!!!!!!!!!, not some stupid Apple painted on canvas for a rich guy, hahahaha.
    I'm going to add as an aside, the owners of The Last Supper sure treated the piece like a crappy apple painting. Not only did it fall into a state of total deterioration by 1556, but in 1652 a doorway was cut through the darn thing! That doesn't sound too respected to me!
    Quote Originally Posted by eskobar View Post
    What i really find incredible is that you dared to compare THE LAST SUPPER with a VideoGame .... come on, there are many other examples that worked best, like the PopArt revolution of Andy Warhol or something else, just not the LAST SUPPER ....
    I NEVER compared the Last Supper to a video game. I only used it as an example for your ridiculous statement that "real art" isn't created for profit. It is, and all the time!
    Check my auctions here! I am in the business of finding off-beat things, including video game stuff!

    View my collection!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Dr. Marshall Bradley, the prof who taught me this stuff years ago, said it like something this. Like most young brilliant thinkers, Kant thought he could overthrow the world and was anti-establishment. Then he got married, had kids and started seeing them spontaneously do things he never taught them. At which point, and I'll quote this, he said "son of a bitch, jesus-christ, those things the bible says are true after all!"

    I wasn't sure if Bradley was talking about himself or something he knew about Kant at that point. The guy could read and write German and Greek and made a lot of sense though, so I took him at his word on that one.
    Sounds like emergence to me. Quite a rational leap to go to God on that one.

    Speaking of which:
    Frankie said in another thread that the market of ideas and the market of trade will work together and sort it (the art stuff) out given time. That's my reduced primary for living life, for everything. I'm paraphrasing him, of course, but if I am representing him accurately, then we completely agree (though he didn't expressly delimit it to art, I can't claim him an extension beyond that context, but I can for myself and do). It's emergence, emergence all over the place. Unless it's force. Then it's just evil all over. We'll get better.
    Last edited by Icarus Moonsight; 02-16-2011 at 10:30 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus Moonsight View Post
    Valuing truth over opinion. That's the weapon. Tony's a nice guy, but that's one instance where our views consistently clash.
    He said "If this society valued philosophy at all everybody would have already concluded that only some games are art, and even then not everybody can appreciate them."

    That's not a "truth" and it's a passive aggressive assault on anybody who somehow "can't see the brilliance" or something. I've heard it 1000 times and every single time it sounds awfully self-serving. How convenient everybody who believes it are also the people who already can see the truth, huh?

    Show me a single "truth" about art and I'll show you a hundred loopholes. That's why people get so deep in this to begin with. There's zero consistency. You ask somebody to define art and they say something along the lines of "a creative endeavor that has no practical application." Then you get to watch them backpedal when you bring up architecture.

    If people want to argue that art is a completely personal experience with no factual foundations, fine. That ends it right there. But the world we live in doesn't seem to conform to that theory so there is an apparent definition. But I'll be damned if anybody has ever actually said what that definition is.

    Then despite the vague concept and people arguing how personal art is, once Roger Ebert says games aren't art he gets nothing but cold stares. So apparently even if people can't define it, they sure as hell feel offended when their favorite entertainment medium isn't called it. Rational? Maybe not. But I'm not going to try to explain what's going on in people's heads. I'm only going to look at video games and whatever few generally accepted principles of art actually exist. And when I see people arguing over not just whether or not games are art as a medium but which games are art and which aren't, I'm not going to have a particularly favorable view on the argument.

    I'm not a cynical person but it's blatantly obvious in this case that people are just trying to make sure their "favorite" games get some pretty badge of honor. So what's really "art" in any of this? Isn't it just a display of some of the best games?
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 02-16-2011 at 11:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryaan1234 View Post
    First of all, I don't disagree with you there. Da Vinci was a brilliant man. Of course he tried to create a great work of art but the point was that he still was paid to create the piece. He was passionate about his work but I highly doubt he did it just to make an impressive piece.

    (The Mona Lisa was also made on commission but I digress)


    I'm going to add as an aside, the owners of The Last Supper sure treated the piece like a crappy apple painting. Not only did it fall into a state of total deterioration by 1556, but in 1652 a doorway was cut through the darn thing! That doesn't sound too respected to me!

    I NEVER compared the Last Supper to a video game. I only used it as an example for your ridiculous statement that "real art" isn't created for profit. It is, and all the time!

    I think that i am not expressing myself properly.

    Profit:

    - a financial gain, esp. the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something

    - advantage; benefit



    An artist is a person who lives in the extremes of life, its the only way to create something above anything else, something so amazing and powerful that will last forever.

    Art needs money, like everything; but one thing is create a piece to make money and another is to create a piece to make it the most incredible piece of art, that's the way it works.

    A VG Console, for example, is not even a medium to freely express something; a console revolves around a business model and the only goal is to make profit ... Studios that try to do something else and fail to make profit, even if they recovered the investment, just die immediately.

    If you need to express something on a video game, the PC is the way to go because is an open "canvas"; you can publish a piece of work and don't worry about the ESRB, royalty fees to SONY, approval of your game to be published ... THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY LIMITATIONS TO KEEP CONSOLE VIDEOGAMES AS A MEDIUM TO FREELY EXPRESS SOMETHING, THIS TAKES AWAY ALL OF THE SERIOUSNESS THAT AN ART PIECE REQUIRES.



    I have two good examples:

    Derek Smart: This psycho was for me one of the very few "artists" of digital entertainment. He worked so hard to try to deliver an experience that was just YEARS ABOVE anything else .... the industry and the money just ate him. This guy's commitment was proven the moment he let you download his creations for free .. in a world where every one re-releases the same game over and over ..



    Bob Ross: This guy just was happy to paint and deliver art to anyone. Of course the guy had to eat and he created a series of books and videotapes ... but only to be able to create art, not to fill his wallet with 1,000 bills. Proof of this is that the tv shows were distributed for free on PBS ... and all of his paintings were donated !!!!!.

    Even if this guy didn't create museum pieces, for me is a real artist. Many posers called themselves artists, only take advantage of art to buy expensive cars or have millions on his accounts ... not bad for me, but I don't consider those persons as artists.
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    Well, one day I hope to take a stab at that myself. I can think and discuss, but I'm not ready to start building a system or framework at all yet. I think you are correct though Tony. That is the problem fundamentally.

    There is a split in the ethical theory I sub to. Aesthetics play a part along with morality in that system. Actions being as they are, one may answer initiated force (evil) with force ethically, but not to correct/punish someone for having poor aesthetic values. You ought not to answer poor aesthetics with poor aesthetics either, but you can play goose and gander if you feel like it. Withdrawal of association is the most one can do to answer that aesthetic class of ethical actions. I think that would be a good place to begin with art. Art is 'beyond good and evil'. It can't initiate force. That takes human action.

    So, given that, art can express or communicate ethical concepts, but it is incapable of breaking morality, in and of itself, due to it's nature. That's one-piece. Anyone want to try for the other 999?

    I have a hypothesis to add here as well. The more incorrect the base of the prevailing philosophy, the more contorted the more specific fields will become as a result (the starting point, I think this is pretty straightforward). Art being the top, and the only philosophical field that has an abstract output other than ideas, it's the canary in the mineshaft, or a barometer of the culture. The hidden distortions and errors at the underlaying levels are exposed and amplified by the output of artists. I have no proof of this, it's just a thought I've had.
    Last edited by Icarus Moonsight; 02-16-2011 at 11:51 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus Moonsight View Post
    Sounds like emergence to me. Quite a rational leap to go to God on that one.

    Speaking of which:
    Frankie said in another thread that the market of ideas and the market of trade will work together and sort it (the art stuff) out given time. That's my reduced primary for living life, for everything. I'm paraphrasing him, of course, but if I am representing him accurately, then we completely agree (though he didn't expressly delimit it to art, I can't claim him an extension beyond that context, but I can for myself and do). It's emergence, emergence all over the place. Unless it's force. Then it's just evil all over. We'll get better.
    Pretty much the only reason I don't read philosophical works as a hobby is because of how everything ends up swimming in a sea of terms I have to look up. But, I personally think the game industry will handle this debate itself, I just hope it doesn't turn out the way I think it will. Mega-publishers are going the way the movie industry did in the 20s-40s. I am afraid that will result in only a handful of developers making all of the games with no way for independents to edge their way in.

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    He said "If this society valued philosophy at all everybody would have already concluded that only some games are art, and even then not everybody can appreciate them."

    That's not a "truth" and it's a passive aggressive assault on anybody who somehow "can't see the brilliance" or something. I've heard it 1000 times and every single time it sounds awfully self-serving. How convenient everybody who believes it are also the people who already can see the truth, huh?
    I'm a snot, but give me a chance would yah? I was actually saying quite the opposite of what you read into it. If you played a game and it caused you to think of anything besides yourself that game was art regardless of whether I had the same experience.

    Yes, that means to me that if a man made work causes *anybody* to think about lofty and awesome things it is art.

    Here is an example. When I was playing Streets of Rage as a kid I would frequently find myself not even paying attention to what I was doing. Instead I was thinking about martial arts and what possibilities there were for achieving the skills and experience to win *every* fight. This caused me to think about my life and the awesome amount of time and effort it would take to achieve that goal of "perfection" in fighting skills. This thought process actually caused me to practice martial arts from then until now. Bam, Streets of Rage is art even though an experienced martial artist would find it too simple and unrealistic.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    I'm not a cynical person but it's blatantly obvious in this case that people are just trying to make sure their "favorite" games get some pretty badge of honor. So what's really "art" in any of this? Isn't it just a display of some of the best games?
    The way the Smithsonian has conducted this, yes I agree with you. It is a popularity contest and not about art at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Pretty much the only reason I don't read philosophical works as a hobby is because of how everything ends up swimming in a sea of terms I have to look up. But, I personally think the game industry will handle this debate itself, I just hope it doesn't turn out the way I think it will. Mega-publishers are going the way the movie industry did in the 20s-40s. I am afraid that will result in only a handful of developers making all of the games with no way for independents to edge their way in.
    I think it's better today for indie developers than it has been for a while. With digital distribution being a viable alternative and "classic" games making a comeback, not to mention people's growing desire for inexpensive alternatives to big budget blockbusters, I think the options are growing rather than shrinking. It'll never be easy to get a project out there but it's probably better now than it was 10 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    I'm a snot, but give me a chance would yah? I was actually saying quite the opposite of what you read into it. If you played a game and it caused you to think of anything besides yourself that game was art regardless of whether I had the same experience.

    Yes, that means to me that if a man made work causes *anybody* to think about lofty and awesome things it is art.

    Here is an example. When I was playing Streets of Rage as a kid I would frequently find myself not even paying attention to what I was doing. Instead I was thinking about martial arts and what possibilities there were for achieving the skills and experience to win *every* fight. This caused me to think about my life and the awesome amount of time and effort it would take to achieve that goal of "perfection" in fighting skills. This thought process actually caused me to practice martial arts from then until now. Bam, Streets of Rage is art even though an experienced martial artist would find it too simple and unrealistic.
    ...
    I see. That clears it up nicely. Not sure I agree but I understand what you're getting at now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    I think it's better today for indie developers than it has been for a while. With digital distribution being a viable alternative and "classic" games making a comeback, not to mention people's growing desire for inexpensive alternatives to big budget blockbusters, I think the options are growing rather than shrinking. It'll never be easy to get a project out there but it's probably better now than it was 10 years ago.
    It does seem to be improving somewhat. Time will tell whether all of this talk about allowing for lower budget games and independent developers lasts past the troubled economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    I see. That clears it up nicely. Not sure I agree but I understand what you're getting at now.
    I just enjoy the discussion. Without regular discussions like these I get all kinds of mopey.

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    Then despite the vague concept and people arguing how personal art is, once Roger Ebert says games aren't art he gets nothing but cold stares. So apparently even if people can't define it, they sure as hell feel offended when their favorite entertainment medium isn't called it. Rational? Maybe not. But I'm not going to try to explain what's going on in people's heads. I'm only going to look at video games and whatever few generally accepted principles of art actually exist. And when I see people arguing over not just whether or not games are art as a medium but which games are art and which aren't, I'm not going to have a particularly favorable view on the argument.
    If people include film as art, then games should be included as well. Fact is Roger Ebert doesn't get to define what is art and what isn't. The two mediums have a lot in common, the only difference is on one side the consumer/viewer takes an interactive role in the storytelling. Who is the artist in this case though? I would say the director in film, the person who makes the decisions, has a vision of the finished product, etc. I suppose that role on the games side would be filled by Project Manager? Or are they actually called "directors" as well on the game side? The support team in each case are also artists in their own right, but they don't control the final "vision."

    And yes, if we define games as an art medium, then all games fall under that definition. Thus the bad games are also art, they're just substandard, poor art. I think it makes sense, seeing how there's plenty of musicians, painters, actors, film makers, sculptors, etc who are awful at their work as well.

    An artist is a person who lives in the extremes of life, its the only way to create something above anything else, something so amazing and powerful that will last forever.
    You know, that's a stereotype. An artist does not have to be an "extreme" person, most of them are normal people who have decided to develop a talent and have something to say. Not everyone who does creative things is some freakish art-weirdo who rolls around naked in paint and catapults themselves onto the canvas covered in Jello while trained shaved tattooed kitty cats on drugs screech "Devil went down to Georgia" or something.

    Art needs money, like everything; but one thing is create a piece to make money and another is to create a piece to make it the most incredible piece of art, that's the way it works.
    I reject the idea that just because something is mass produced for a consumer market then it can't be "art." It may not be "high art," it may be commercial art, but it's art still the same, and can be appreciated for what it is.

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    Art requires a medium, but those mediums do not require art. Chew that over a bit.

    It's form (medium) and content (artistic expression/concept). Things get convoluted when you mix or confuse them for each other. Mona Lisa and David expresses a similar concept, the difference is gender depicted and the medium used (both part of the form, hence male/female form and sculpture and painting). The abstract concept is the same, a human idealized (content).
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    I have used various iterations of Photoshop and other graphic editors to create hundreds of web pages. I have also created galleries and movies. I would not call myself an artist. I was always focused on function and transmitting information. Similarly, I do not call myself a writer, even though I spend a significant amount of time refining my writing every day.

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    Only slightly off Topic, but if I promise to start a video game museum in Texas would some of you send me $1000?

    http://www.joystiq.com/2011/02/23/vi...n-san-francis/

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Only slightly off Topic, but if I promise to start a video game museum in Texas would some of you send me $1000?

    http://www.joystiq.com/2011/02/23/vi...n-san-francis/
    Yeah, I'm all for supporting attempts to get a museum going, but this "plan" is likely to result in a lot of people throwing away money on something that will be gone once the $20K runs out which at San Francisco rent and utility rates will be a few months. If they are serious, they would form a real board with people who can actually bring in substantial donations, look for sponsors, get a foundation going, etc...Raising money to pay the rent on something which won't generate revenue is foolish and unsustainable.

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    UT Austin has a Video Game archive. I haven't been there but academics who don't play games tell me it is the place to start looking at video games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    UT Austin has a Video Game archive. I haven't been there but academics who don't play games tell me it is the place to start looking at video games.
    Stanford has a massive computer game archive which was basically one guy's large collection which was donated to them by his family when he passed away. There used to be a pretty good blog going by one of the student assistants there, but he hasn't posted in over a year now. Might be interesting to check out the archive someday.

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    Here's my totally uneducated opinion...

    In the now, art is any creative endeavor, good, bad, "for the spirit of art" or "for the almighty dollar". Therefor, all videogames are art, as are all paintings, songs, movies, etc.

    In the future, art is any works that have survived, especially if of good examples of the skill of the creation, or exemplifying some quality of the medium it is made in. So, in some hundred years, most videogames will be forgotten, and only a few will be considered art, the same way only a small amount of paintings are truly remembered.

    But not all that survives is great, and not all that is lost was worthless. Art is an ever-changing morass of creative endeavor, subject to interpretation at every point in time.
    Russ Perry Jr, 2175 S Tonne Dr #114, Arlington Hts IL 60005
    Got any obscure game stuff?

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