Archive for the ‘Cassandra’ Category
I do not agree with the article for many reasons, although I believe any medium can create art, including video games. I agree with the author insofar that video games can be art, but his concept of art and what the author thinks is needed of video games to make them art differs from my view. I don’t think video games need to be more humanistic or have more intense narratives, and I don’t think his laundry list of other requirements would make video games art. I don’t think that entertainment value detracts from art– Shakespeare is incredibly entertaining and hilarious at times. Furthermore, what the author accepts as art could be argued by other viewers that it is not. I do agree that it may help video games become art if they embraced their own technology and possibilities, rather than reproducing the same old narratives. I really dislike the author’s simplistic arguments and his sparse reasoning makes speculation moot. Art makes some sort of statement about our world, and it seems ridiculous to waste space wondering why Monet is different from Ross and Oz from Lampoon. I completely disagree that art needs to be in a gallery to be taken seriously. Galleries are a modern concept, far predated by art, and I hope they start to disappear. I also disagree that games have no purpose. It is extremely ignorant to think that a human mind visiting another environment and struggling with tensions and ideas that may not exist in their lives is purposeless. Does a novel serve no purpose? I would argue that play is one of the most essential human activities, for that is how most animals learn, and humans spend their entire lives learning. When people watch soap operas, they are actually tackling moral issues and playing with ideas of right and wrong in their own minds. The medium may seem vapid, but it has a purpose that resonates with some people on a deep level. In fact, it could be argued that the world is a better place because of media that fosters discussion and argument. Serra’s quotes are idiotic. Some art serves the purpose of solidifying cultures or displaying power, and surely Guernica has made many of its viewers think twice about how we terrorize each other. I don’t know how one individual can make a statement that at no time in history did art have a practical form or make any historically significant changes. I just don’t see how one can even begin discussion with such glib oversimplifications. I don’t think it’s the commercialism or violence of video games that have kept them from being viewed as art, and I don’t think they are generally accepted as children’s toys. However I have never played a game that used its medium to tell me about myself.
There are many types of aggression and in fact it is an adaptation. All people are naturally violent and constantly need to obtain resources to survive. Maybe with better diplomacy, communication, and technology, it will be easier to settle disputes more effectively without killing a bunch of people. The American idea of war is unique and many of us take for granted that people and things need to be obliterated in order to win. However, this idea is not universal and many Native Americans were horrified when Europeans set fire to entire villages. They were used to battling and not generally killing but taking captives (and sometimes these captives were integrated into society). Certainly children and other innocents and villages were left out of the dispute. Of course, many people have made slaves of their captives, or some have sacrificed them to the gods. But it is strange that our modern idea of war seems to center around killing the bad people and converting (and owning) the rest. However, a lot of technology comes out of war and the companies and innovations concerned with war are fascinating.
My project will involve a movie (machinima) made of clips from the game, altered images, and drawings. The juxtaposition of sacrificing a life for an idea will be described by a soldier’s narrative and possibly the technological ties between what he is wearing and doing, and the money driving it all. (I didn’t see any female soldiers in America’s Army– does the choice exist or they don’t want you to feel bad killing women?) Any software that can make slide shows should be fine; the project could be done in two weeks. (I made a powerpoint but the file is too big to upload.)UPDATE: “Means Meets End” The title plays on the idea of the ends justifying the means, and a man meeting his end. The project is an exploration of the literal costs (and gains) invested in the war and the actual, intangible cost of life. It is a juxtaposition of the romanticism of a sacred life and the dream of greed and possibility that propels death. As aforementioned, I disdain war but am fascinated by the amazing technologies that are its product, and I fully embrace the geneology of aggression. Humankind has a desire to test possibilities, and war unfortunately capitalizes on human vulnerabilities and hopes. Entire peoples lay down their lives for ideals, and in our technological and post-enlightenment society, even I feel the scientific secrets unlocked by the funding and interest for war are tantalizing. Scientists developing the atomic bomb had hoped it could be demonstrated without its use against human life; they were driven by the need to explore, but many scientists lamented the use of their discoveries against innocent people. There is frequently a disconnect between the development of technology, the profiteers, and the individuals fulfilling disputes. It seems bureaucracy is the intermediary that allows the isolation of great dreams from filthy reality. Many scientists are unaware of the future of their creations, and even if they were, there is struggle with the meaning of life versus the utility of ideas.
Computers used to be really big, and only special people had access to them. Now they fit in your hand and anyone with a little bit of money and access can get one. Now, access involves not only the ability to use a technology but which avenues one has access to. Lots of websites are not allowed in certain countries. Now that information is freely accessible to the commoners, governments must try to control information by controlling access to websites– but it’s not exactly working!
I remember being excited to use the internet for my school research projects. Now I have to make sure to go to credible websites. I also talk on the phone less, but it’s easier to feel more connected using pictures and pages. Plus, you can text people even when you’re doing something else, and they can be busy, too! Information can be transferred and received when it’s convenient for either party, like when an event is occuring. I remember when Oscar Grant got shot and the police officers were demanding people’s cell phones so they could control what the public would know.
“Ways of Seeing” mentions that “mystification is the process of explaining away what might otherwise be evident.” With the computer and many many people communicating at once, the process of mystification becomes more difficult. There are now too many perspectives to explain away, with too much first person evidence. However, with control of access to that information, mystification is not impossible. It seems that some of the “bogus religiosity” that surrounds original works of art is similar to the bogus authority that some regimes still try to enshroud themselves with. It is easier than ever to see that politicians have faults, and expose them, and to realize that many of them are ill-equipped to lead, particularly in our changing and increasingly technological world. Most importantly, computers have helped remove some of the separation that people imagine between cultures; we may want to preserve them as separate, but it is difficult to deny our similarities. I heard that about 60% of Egypt’s population is under 30; it was very difficult for a dictator that had been in power for as long as these kids have been alive to tell them that he still represents them. Good ideas can come from anywhere now; old hierarchies are becoming rapidly antiquated. It seems that people trust themselves more to be critical thinkers. And when so many people can voice their own opinions and find that others feel the same, it is difficult to keep them from congregating when they don’t always need a physical space.