[-empyre-] art and games encounters

Isabelle Arvers ia at isabellearvers.com
Fri Mar 8 01:59:44 EST 2013

I am very happy to follow your conversation because the relationship
between art and video games has been at the center of my research interests
for the last ten years. In the exhibitions I curate I show artwork related
to games or diverting games and I encourage a playful interaction between
ideas and aesthetics. I also promote the indie game scene within the world
of art and organize workshops of machinima or game creation to encourage a
greater degree of autonomy and creativity in games creation and development.

What I was able to observe until now is that the world of games, including
indie games, and the world of art, including digital art, are still very
opaque to each other, as it is often the case within different artistic
disciplines. Each discipline has its own network, thinkers, professionals,
and creators. But there are very few occasions to mix different networks.
If you go to game jams, you’ll see game developers, game designers, and
engineers… If you go to art festivals or exhibitions, you’ll see mainly
artists or professionals who are not really into games. However, games are
increasingly included in art exhibitions and contexts, as gaming became
such a huge market and cultural product that even museums felt that they
had to take them in account. Although this phenomenon of gradual inclusion
is very important, each universe still retains its crew; very few are
blurring these immaterial boundaries. Molle Industria is a real exception,
as Newsgaming is, because they are respected in the world of video games
and considered by gamers as ‘true games’. Games created by artists are
seldom seen by gamers as ‘real games’. This perception is beginning to
change in the indie game scene as more and more “ovnis”, also called
“notgames”, which used to be seen as “arty games” are increasingly
considered as games.

In the emerging indie game scene when game developers, recognized at top
creators and often compared to artists, make references to the art world
they refer to 19th century  art. They mention very few, if any, current
artists, including digital artists. It is also quite rare that artists
refer to game designers or game developers. They are creating amazing
things at the same time in the same world but most of the times they don’t
share the same references.

I think that our role is now to create more and more encounters between
these two worlds. They already exist of course, thanks to Babycastles, the
exhibitions “Joue le Jeu” at la Gaité Lyrique, the “Notgames” festival
which happened at the same period with the Koln gamesfest, “Play again”
that is just happening right now in Tourcoings, “Vector Art + Game” in
Toronto, etc… I think that artists and game designers need to work more
together and share their skills and points of view. But we also need to
link – as you are doing here – these two worlds in a theoretical way by
connecting game studies to the thinking about new aesthetics and share
again ideas.






Isabelle Arvers
Curator & art critic
ia at isabellearvers.com
Skype ID : zabarvers
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