Play’s the Thing: Games as fine art

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Title: Play’s the Thing: Games as fine art
Author: Pearce, Celia
Abstract: 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.
Description: Presented at Art History of Games Symposium, February 5, 2010 in the High Museum of Art’s Rich Auditorium on the campus of the Woodruff Arts Center, in midtown Atlanta. Runtime: 43:43 minutes Celia Pearce is a game designer, author, researcher, teacher, curator and artist, specializing in multiplayer gaming and virtual worlds, independent, art, and alternative game genres, as well as games and gender. She began designing interactive attractions and exhibitions in 1983, and has held academic appointments since 1998. Her game designs include the award-winning virtual reality attraction Virtual Adventures (for Iwerks and Evans & Sutherland) and the Purple Moon Friendship Adventure Cards for Girls. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from SMARTLab Centre, then at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. She currently is Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at Georgia Tech, where she also directs the Experimental Game Lab and the Emergent Game Group. She is the author or co-author of numerous papers and book chapters, as well as The Interactive Book (Macmillan 1997) and Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds (MIT 2009). She has also curated new media, virtual reality, and game exhibitions and is currently Festival Chair for IndieCade, an international independent games festival and showcase series. She is a co-founder of the Ludica women’s game collective.
Type: Proceedings
Date: 2010-02-05
Contributor: Savannah College of Art and Design
Georgia Institute of Technology. College of Liberal Arts
Georgia Institute of Technology. School of Literature, Communication, and Culture
Relation: Art History of Games Symposium
Publisher: Georgia Institute of Technology
Subject: Video games
Art forms
Play as art
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968

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