The sommelier suggests: listen to this while reading this post – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0IPkWMBZGk
This time I propose you a rereading (a personal one, obv) of an assay from Nelson Goodman, “When is art?“
Defining something as a piece of art is everything but simple. Answering to the question “Is this art?” assumes the existence of shared parameters (and metrics based on those) with which to measure the validity of any answer. Take a chair for example:
I am absolutely sure I am able to define one by means of some “class” properties, that is characteristics known to be shared by every object we call “chair“;
I can sit on a chair,
a chair has 4 legs,
chairs have a backrest.
This can leave room for some ambiguity about the actual chairability of some work chairs, like the ones provided with wheels (I swear, no more CHAIR words, but in a while, hold on a bit more), but this is not a reason for which we usually go mad and we will be more than able to gather all the chairs in a room if someone asked us.
The thing is, you cannot do the same process (- you cannot follow the same algorithm -) for art pieces, because these shared properties are not defined. Ask me to gather all the art pieces inside your living room and I will probably come up with your cat, a chipped leg, a stain on your sofa and a yellow umbrella.
What many of us will probably gather are paintings, but are those framed posters really art? It usually takes less to have the local critic to scream Fake!
But then again, this won’t allow space for the Vivaldi 4 seasons album, which is burned on a standard 700MB CD (Yes I still use them). No, wait, that should be in, I mean, there is no literal possibility to have a living Vivaldi at home to play it nor there is chance to have the original …recording?
Then I think about the fact that any artefact that causes my soul to resonate is something that cheers me up… Well, I spent hours (literally) looking at the dawn in The Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker, why won’t it be considered? Well, I suppose, it should be gathered; Wanna talk about ICO? The first person who hasn’t thought about De Chirico when playing that videogame should cast the first stone.
What do Vivaldi, a Murakami book (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, anyone?), Ico and any Amore e Psiche version have in common?
We can exercise by thinking at a higher level. I abstract my self a bit, I think about a class of classes: a family.
Imagine a family (a real one, made of people): you expect to find resemblances, but (usually) there is no single trait shared by everyone.
Let me apply this model to art, and suddenly we are no more looking for common characteristics (reproducibility? skill needed? emotionally resonating?), which are more suitable for single classes.
How do we distinguish them now?
Turn this around (/*provoking sentence incoming*/): what right does one have in persisting in confining videogames in a corner of his mind dedicated to childish pleasures?
Many games are created with countless of summed hours of work much like a Neoclassic sculpture, others have soundtracks worthy of all the shivers on our backs, others simply were worthy of our spent time.
Moreover, the emotional involvement – effect that many classic art pieces are supposed to induce – is brought to a different level. The man-machine relationship generates new scenarios, abstraction is enforced and the imagination is called to arms. There are no pre-defined rules, apart from the ones that the games auto-defines for itself. Every single one is a whole universe. You can write a whole assay on a classic art piece, you can do the same for a videogame.
More-Moreover, videogames are one the best democracy manifestations, and here I’m borrowing one from Zerocalcare (La profezia dell’Armadillo).
Because it doesn’t matter if you are a confetti thrower or a green beast with halitosis, in these worlds if you work hard you can always do it, no matter who you are.
It goes without saying that being one of the best democratic symbols does not grant automatic access the Muses’ world, nor does it confer particular statuses to individual products, but this should mean something, doesn’t it?
Speaking about objects statuses and art, ever heard of Arthur Danto?