Monday, 4 February 2013

On Pippin Barr's "Art Game"

So Pippin Barr released "Art Game" today, a game you should probably play since it's actually really fun.

I like "Art Game" because it exists in a sphere where the idea of games as art is very charged and heavy and sort of tired out in a lot of areas. If you read this blog, chances are you tend to engage in the indie sphere where the idea that video games are an art form is pretty much a given, where everyone just assumes it as true, but it's still debated in many mainstream publications. Yet,"Art Game" feels like an inhibitor, a sort of reduction of the intensity around the idea of art, into something that feels ordinary and typical.

Art Game is so simple. You make art. A curator looks at your art, she likes it or doesn't and eventually puts it in a show, where observers share their opinion on what they think. Some of them don't really like it. Others think it's okay. You look around and see other paintings and eventually leave and go about your life. The point is that Art Game doesn't really try to throw these intense, strong opinions on what it thinks about art, or games, or criticism or mediums and such, rather it simply presents a situation where I make some art and show it to a bunch of people. None of these elements are exaggerated, or glorified, or demeaned or opposed, at least not explicitly or implicit enough to be clearly visible. They seem to just exist as they are, under the game's gray-scale palate and its non-existent soundtrack.

I don't think the game wants to say that art is *boring*,  and I especially don't think that it's not saying anything at all. Rather it seems to demystify any sort of romanticism regarding art, without plunging us into brutal realism. Creating and presenting art, sort of just exists a thing. There's a neutrality to how the game is depicted, and  by doing this, it actually ends up saying quite a bit about art. That the idea of art isn't too much of a huge deal; it's a thing that people make, that some people like or don't like, that we all just sort of enjoy and talk about it and then go on with our lives.

I kind of like that.

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