I will dedicate this space to sparse thoughts. Projects, ideas, art, leaves and smells. I will not post regularly, I am (unfortunately) not a great writer, but I’m willing to experiment.
This time it will be about Videogames as a Healthy Mental Workout and Learning Tool (putative tag: VaaHMWaLT, yet I do not want to anger or excite curiosity in any Cthulhu, Nyarlatothep, Hastur or Shub-Niggurath neighborhood cultist, and I do not -yet- have super butt powers, so let us avoid that.)
I’ll start with an old news (7 years from now, that’s a lot, but not for people convinced to live in 2005 like me – that’s even future bro -): in September 2012 the GameStop company announced to want to get on the boat of retrogaming (I’m pretty sure this idea now had a stop and GS is more likely to be now on a boat called Titanic, but they are trying to row really strong).
The thing is, at that time, that news offered me an opportunity to reflect. Retrogaming is not only pixelated graphics, retrogaming is one of our roots, pop culture planted a seed and stemmed inside us when we were younglings. They bring forth the narration of a world where humanity had to resort to a limited set of tools and needed to create something entirely new to feed this new media (this still holds true for the indiependent scene, at times).
It may sound thespian, “and it is!”
Peeking at videogames history helps me comprehend an fundamental feature of this expression form : its artistic “validity”; to quote Duchamp (and Debora Ferrari, who quotes him in the introduction of Neoludica: neologismo italiano neutro plurale, written for the homonym exhibition catalogue, Venice Biennial 2011) “Art is a game, and games are art”. I bet there is more than someone who’s not properly a fan of Duchamp, but I find really instructive to stay open to cultural contributions even if they come from misplaced urinals.
As a first step I believe we should change the question
“What is art?”
“When is art?”.
Now let me bring to the court’s attention the fact the entrance of videogames in the eternal “dance of the muses” (to quote Ferrari again) held a massive contribution to other arts. They started as machines with great storytelling potential, and are a now a comprehensive medium where music, visual arts, narrative and dreams mix together to provide a multilayered experience that can touch our strings.
New creative and emotional ideas followed and each year the videogame industry (which, as every other industry, is made of people) produces new shivers for my spine (You know Distant Worlds right? But even simpler things like The Moon, or ICO’s De Chirico style)
When a fruitful and cultural art form contributes at this level to other arts which we universally acknowledge, we may as well consider it. Heed my words, spending time on a good videogame is as valuable as dedicating time to an exhibition, an album like Wish you were here, or a good old big book.
There is still a lot to say on the main question, (“When is art?”) but for now let me just process this idea. (Our brain is a fantastic machine that processes things when we don’t think about them)
For now, I leave you with some art: