Play’s the Thing: Games as fine art
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When the words "video game" and "art" are used in the same sentence, the discussion tends to revolve around the question of whether or not video games are art, the art and graphics of commercial video games, and, less often, the use of video games in fine art. Contemporary digital game art is a growing movement, comparable to the rise of video as a fine art form in the 1980s; however, fine artists have harnessed the expressive power of games for nearly a century. Beginning with the dada and surrealist movements at the start of the last century, through movements such as Fluxus, Happenings, New Games, the Situationists and others, modern artists have had a longtime fascination with the game, not so much as an art object or artifact, but as a process, a means of deeper engagement, a participatory performance. Some artists used play and games as a method, from Duchamp and Cage’s experiments with randomness, to Pollock’s procedural painting techniques. This presentation explores use of games throughout 20th Century modern art, demonstrating how analog artists laid the groundwork for the contemporary fine art video game movement.