Games as Games in a Gallery

Games and art, eh? Man.

Anyway, another effect of going to Space Invaders at Nikolaj Kunsthal the other day (and again today) is seeing some AAA video games in a gallery context. Specifically, when I was in there today I paused every so briefly to look across the gallery at a big TV screen where a visitor can play Uncharted 3. So there it is, a block buster game in a gallery…

I can tell you that in no way did this lead me to feel like Uncharted 3 was “Art” in the sense that I assume is mostly getting bandied around in the big debate that rages on and off. Definitely didn’t smack of Fine Art to me or whatever else you want to call it. Looked a lot like a game inside a gallery. And that was totally fine, too, of course.

A big part of this is of course that the game isn’t on display at the gallery as art so it doesn’t receive that big ArtBoost power-up of being positioned as art like Duchamp’s fountain was, for instance. Not sure what would have happened in that case, but I still kind of feel like I wouldn’t have called Uncharted 3 in that particular installation art in the arty sense. No more than I would say that of a project of, say, Finding Nemo at an art gallery. And, again, that’s totally fine. But nice to have the chance to experience these things first hand.

That said, at the opening it seemed like every single time I passed the Uncharted 3 display it was in the middle of a bar fight. That bar fight never seemed to end. Punch after punch. I circled the gallery, went upstairs, came back around: bar fight. Went to look at Bill Viola’s The Night Journey, and then back and… bar fight. And at that point it really did start to haunt me a bit, it started to feel like a weird art exhibit, some kind of commentary on the endlessness and sameness of AAA games, perhaps. Or just some kind of haunting, Lynchian repetition.

Still, on the balance, I saw a game in an art context, and it was game.

And that’s totally fine.

15 November 2011
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