video games/ low art or high art?



Resident Evil



Takashi Murakami


articulo publicado en :

http://arstechnica.com



Roger Ebert says games will never be as worthy as movies
By Jeremy Reimer | Published: November 30, 2005 - 04:30PM CT

Roger Ebert, the movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and co-host of the syndicated TV show "Ebert and Roper at the Movies" has thrown down the gauntlet on his web site by stating that video games will never be as artistically worthy as movies and literature. Ebert does not believe that this quality gap can ever be crossed, as he feels it is a fundamental limitation of the medium itself:

There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.

Whether or not interactive art can still be art is an interesting question. Modern artists such as Chin Chih Yang, (http://www.123soho.com/artists/featured/f_artist_index_artist.phtml?artnum=artidv00159&category=1.%20The%20Control%20of%20Fear), who design interactive multimedia projects as well as creating "traditional" art, would probably tell you that whether something is "art" depends on only the artist and the audience, and not the medium itself. However, there are undoubtedly more conservative artists who would dismiss "interactive multimedia projects" as not being worthy of the term art. Of course this debate is not a new one, nor has it been confined to video games. Movies and comic books both struggled (and still struggle) to receive the same level of respect as traditional media, such as literature and dramatic plays.

But is it really the "interactive" part of video games that Ebert is criticizing? To me, it seems like a convenient excuse to dismiss for all time a new form of entertainment that has not only influenced movies (with endless releases of video-game-themed movies such as Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, etc.) but at times even seems to be in competition with cinema itself. Every time movie sales go down, some pundits start looking to the video game industry as being the source of the problem.

I don't believe the "interactive" nature of video games is what Ebert is really railing against here. While he gave a poor review to the movie Clue, which featured multiple endings, he admitted in his review that it would have been more fun for viewers to see all three endings. He seemed to be indicating that if the movie itself was of higher quality, being given a choice of endings would have made it even more entertaining. Like Clue, video games can feature multiple endings or storylines, but all of them have been written by the writer ahead of time. The fact that the player can choose between them does not make any of the choices less of a creation by the game developers.

A closer examination of Ebert's comments seems to indicate that he is critical of the artistic value of the games themselves, not their structure:

I am prepared to believe that video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful. But I believe the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art. To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.

Some might be eager to tell Ebert about games that he may not have ever seen or played, such as Star Control II, or Planescape Torment, where the story is given higher focus than the graphics and is at least comparable to literary fiction. Or games such as ICO, where the atmosphere and feel of the environment and characters is on par with any "serious" art film. But perhaps Ebert hasn't heard of these titles because video games in general have been deluged with an endless parade of flashy sequels and movie tie-ins that favor graphics over gameplay. Perhaps if a viable analog to the independent movie industry emerged for video games, Ebert might change his tune. But is this likely to happen?

5 comments:

Jonathan Estanislau said...

Aditional Historical info on Kaikai Kiki Co. its an artists' collective founded by the artist Takashi Murakami of Japan.

Kaikai Kiki was originally founded to manage the many assistants employed to create Murakami's work. It gradually evolved into a collaborative vehicle for other like-minded artists. Many of the artists were of a younger generation and have benefited greatly by the help in the production, distribution and sale of their own work, and also participating in international exhibitions with Murakami serving as artist or curator.


1996 The Hiropon Factory is founded in the Marunuma Art Residence at 493 Kamiuchimagi, Asaka-shi, Saitama.
1998 The Hiropon Factory New York Studio is founded in Brooklyn, New York.
1999 (April) Takashi Murakami’s solo exhibition “DOB in the Strange Forest” is held at the Parco Department Store Gallery in Shibuya.
2000 (March) The Hiropon Factory website is launched.
(April) Takashi Murakami curates the “Superflat” exhibition at the Parco Department Store Gallery in Shibuya.
2001 (January) Takashi Murakami curates the “Superflat” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; draws audience of 95,000.
(April) Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. is founded and capitalized at 3,000,000 yen; takes over operation of the Hiropon Factory.]
(May) Studio #4, specializing in the production of sculpture and other three dimensional artworks, is established in Shiki-shi, Saitama.
(June) Studio #3 is established in the Marunuma Art Residence premises.
(July) An i-mode website "Geijutsu Dojo GP" is launched.
(August) Takashi Murakami solo exhibition "Summon Monsters? Open the Door? Heal? Or Die?" is unveiled at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
(September) "Geijutsu Dojo Grand Prix," a Takashi Murakami solo exhibition related special event is held.
2002 (March) "GEISAI #1" is held at the Tokyo Tower Amusement Hall; attracts 3,006 people.
(June) Takashi Murakami curates "Coloriage" exhibition at the Cartier Foundation in Paris; Takashi Murakami's solo exhibition "Kawaii Summer Vacation" is held at the Cartier Foundation in Paris.
(August) "GEISAI #2" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight West 4 Hall; attracts 5,332 people.
2003 (March) "GEISAI #3" is held at the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall A; attracts 6,981 people.
(September) "GEISAI #4" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight West 4 Hall; attracts 5,332 people.
(December) "GEISAI Museum" is held at the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower on the 24th Floor; attracts 4,824 people.
2004 (March) "Kaikai Kiki Animation Studio" is established at 4-1, Daikanyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. "GEISAI #5" is held at the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall A; attracts 7,798 people.
(September) "GEISAI #6" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight East 4 Hall; attracts 7,244 people.
(December) "Kaikai Kiki Animation Studio Homepage" is launched.
2005 (March) "GEISAI #7" is held at the Tokyo Big Sight East 4 Hall; attracts 7,591 people.
(June) Takashi Murakami curates "Little Boy" exhibition at the Japan Society in New York.

Jonathan Estanislau said...

The Two Faces of Takashi Murakami

He's high art. He's low culture. He's a one-man mass-market machine.


Takashi Murakami is often billed as the next Andy Warhol. Like the American pop art icon, he fuses high and low, pulling imagery from consumer culture to produce visually arresting, highly original work. He is vigorously, ingeniously self-promotional. In the past few years, Murakami has swept across the US and Europe, receiving fawning media attention and exhibiting at big-name museums. Just shy of 42, the charismatic artist even lives and works in what he calls a factory. How much more Warhol can you get?

But there's a key difference. Warhol took from the low and gave to the high. With ironic detachment, his work - paintings few could afford, films few could understand - appealed to an audience in on the joke. Murakami, on the other hand, takes from the low and gives to the high, the low, and everything in between. He makes paintings, sculptures, videos, T-shirts, key chains, mousepads, plush dolls, cell phone caddies, and, last but not least, $5,000 limited-edition Louis Vuitton handbags. Murakami's work hits all price points: This fall he plans on selling plastic figurines packaged with bubble gum - a Murakami for $3. Warhol died before a T-shirt company licensed his soup cans and made a bundle. Murakami, who reads Bill Gates for management tips, knows better than to make that mistake.

It may be old hat to draw ideas and imagery from the mass market, but it's something else to hawk your wares in the candy aisle. In this as in other things, Japan may be leading us into the future. Murakami, who grew up in Tokyo, sees his heritage as key to his art: "The Japanese don't really have a difference or hierarchy between high and low." His "art merchandise" is dominated by a cast of creepily cute characters inspired by manga comics and anime cartoons - the twin pillars of Japanese pop culture. Cartoon characters have figured in high art since Roy Lichtenstein first transferred a Sunday comic to canvas in the early '60s. But the art establishment - steeped in old-world prejudices against mass merchandising - took Lichtenstein and Warhol's art as a critique. Murakami's work celebrates commerce, and commerce returns the favor: His Vuitton handbags have become one of the French fashion house's best-selling lines. Speaking through an interpreter, Murakami explains that his art process is "more about creating goods and selling them than about exhibitions." Not that he's shunning the big shows. In September, a 23-foot sculpture of one of his trademark characters - Mr. Pointy, a cross between a blissed-out Buddha and a space alien - went up in New York City's Rockefeller Center.

Murakami began his art career as a traditionalist. During his twenties at Tokyo National University, he worked on a doctorate in Nihonga, an amalgam of Western and Eastern painting styles dating to the late 19th century. But after witnessing the rise of anime and manga in Japanese culture during the '80s, he grew disillusioned with Nihonga, finding it irrelevant to daily Japanese life. He wanted to create something that would leave a lasting impression. "I set out to investigate the secret of market survivability - the universality of characters such as Mickey Mouse, Sonic the Hedgehog, Doraemon, Miffy, Hello Kitty, and their knock-offs, produced in Hong Kong," Murakami wrote for a 2001 retrospective of his work. The result, in 1993, was Mr. DOB, Murakami's most ubiquitous and enduring character.

Now, as president of Kaikai Kiki, Murakami presides over an art-making corporation that operates from a campus of buildings known as the Hiropon Factory, outside Tokyo, as well as a studio in Brooklyn. While Warhol's Factory featured such colorful characters as Candy Darling, Lou Reed, and Edie Sedgwick, Hiropon is peopled by accountants, publicists, managers, and a computerized administrative system. "Staff members type up reports of what they work on each day. We then send everyone an email that compiles all the reports," explains Yuko Sakata, Kaikai Kiki's New York exhibition coordinator. Murakami, she says, got the idea for daily logs after reading Gates' Speed of Thought.

Murakami's business acumen suggests healthy margins and careful attention to costs. He won't discuss his corporation's balance sheet, but his New York dealer, Marianne Boesky, says paintings from his most recent show sold for up to $250,000. And in September, the owner of Christie's, Fran�ois Pinault, purchased the Rockefeller sculpture of Mr. Pointy for $1.5 million - a remarkable price for factory-produced art.

Murakami owes much of his success to the highly efficient Hiropon Factory. Hardly a reclusive artist toiling in his garret studio, he employs 25 assistants to perform specialized tasks, and he uses technology in pragmatic, labor-saving ways. Because his work features a number of recurring motifs - eyeballs, mushrooms, flowers - the factory maintains an immense electronic archive of renderings that he can cut and paste into the files he's working on. Murakami may be the first artist to make paintings from his own portfolio of digital clip art.

Each creation begins as a sketch in one of numerous pocket-sized notebooks. Full-size drawings are then scanned into the computer. From there, Murakami "paints" his works in Adobe Illustrator, tweaking the composition and cycling through thousands of colors until at last he hands the finished versions off to his assistants. His staff then prints out the work on paper, silk-screens the outline onto canvas, and commences painting. Without this embrace of technology, Murakami says, "I could have never produced this many works this efficiently, and the work wouldn't be as intense."

The fusion of art and computing led Murakami to a pictorial style that rejects the illusion of depth and perspective. Dubbed superflat, the approach isn't entirely new - Warhol's paintings often read flat - but Murakami has something else in mind. Superflat captures the aesthetics of our technological age: PDAs, digital billboards, flat-screen TVs. An exhibition curated by Murakami, titled simply Superflat, made its way to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2001. "I'm amazed at how that show continues to reverberate," says Michael Darling, an assistant curator at LA MoCA who helped bring the show to the States. "Superflat also refers to the leveling of distinctions between high and low. Murakami likes to flaunt that he can make a million-dollar sculpture and then take the same subject and crank out a bunch of tchotchkes."

Daniel said...

Bueno lo he dicho antes y lo digo ahora nuevamente... Cada cual con sus gustos y opiniones. El arte se manifiesta de muchas maneras. Que la gente lo acepte es otra. Hay personas que son fieles a lo que piensan, hacen o prefieren. Eso no se puede cambiar así de fácil, todo es un proceso y la verdad hay que respetar cada opinión. Tanto el cine, como la literatura, como los video juegos para mi son arte. Que tienen perspectivas distintas, si la tienen, eso no se puede negar. A este señor le gustan las películas porque es su campo, pero si nos encontramos con otro que le guste el campo de los video juegos hay que respetarlo. Bueno como ya señalé hay varias vertientes. En las películas hay sentido artístico en la trama, en la escenografía, en el vestuario, en los guiones. Todo es un arte, algunos de manera escrita, otra de manera visual y otros en refernete a moda, digo estos porque son los que me vienen a la mente, pero pueden otras alternativas. En el caso de los video juegos considero también que es un arte porque diseñar, establecer, dar comandos, organizar la dirección que va a tomar el juego, las gráficas, los artes. En ambos hay cosas que se envuelven con el arte... se directa o inderectamente pero se envuelven con el arte. La dieferencia es que en las películas y la literatura hay más opoprtunidad para dar tu estilo, el toque que distingue a uno y es más abierta para las personas, que pueden haber personalidades que se identifiquen y distingan con esto. En el caso de los video juegos, es algo más limitado. Si llega a toda la audiencia pero no lo acceden todos como lo es el caso de las películas o la literatura. Ahora hay arte envuelto. Digo resulta ser uno más físico y directo pero hay arte. Para mi sigue una trama y hay un proceso de mentalidad y creación. Si es verdad que en uno tienes más libertad que en el otro pero es arte. La verdad hay que respetar cada cosa. Si uno le ve limitaciones o defectos... pues uno lo recomienda, pero al igual que uno lucha para que aprecien lo que haces, así el otro se esfuerza para que vean y utilizen su trabajo.Cada cual tiene sus gustos y si ese es su destino que se puede hacer. Uno realiza y hace lo que le gusta y debe ser digno de respeto.

Daniel said...

Bueno lo he dicho antes y lo digo ahora nuevamente... Cada cual con sus gustos y opiniones. El arte se manifiesta de muchas maneras. Que la gente lo acepte es otra. Hay personas que son fieles a lo que piensan, hacen o prefieren. Eso no se puede cambiar así de fácil, todo es un proceso y la verdad hay que respetar cada opinión. Tanto el cine, como la literatura, como los video juegos para mi son arte. Que tienen perspectivas distintas, si la tienen, eso no se puede negar. A este señor le gustan las películas porque es su campo, pero si nos encontramos con otro que le guste el campo de los video juegos hay que respetarlo. Bueno como ya señalé hay varias vertientes. En las películas hay sentido artístico en la trama, en la escenografía, en el vestuario, en los guiones. Todo es un arte, algunos de manera escrita, otra de manera visual y otros en refernete a moda, digo estos porque son los que me vienen a la mente, pero pueden otras alternativas. En el caso de los video juegos considero también que es un arte porque diseñar, establecer, dar comandos, organizar la dirección que va a tomar el juego, las gráficas, los artes. En ambos hay cosas que se envuelven con el arte... se directa o inderectamente pero se envuelven con el arte. La dieferencia es que en las películas y la literatura hay más opoprtunidad para dar tu estilo, el toque que distingue a uno y es más abierta para las personas, que pueden haber personalidades que se identifiquen y distingan con esto. En el caso de los video juegos, es algo más limitado. Si llega a toda la audiencia pero no lo acceden todos como lo es el caso de las películas o la literatura. Ahora hay arte envuelto. Digo resulta ser uno más físico y directo pero hay arte. Para mi sigue una trama y hay un proceso de mentalidad y creación. Si es verdad que en uno tienes más libertad que en el otro pero es arte. La verdad hay que respetar cada cosa. Si uno le ve limitaciones o defectos... pues uno lo recomienda, pero al igual que uno lucha para que aprecien lo que haces, así el otro se esfuerza para que vean y utilizen su trabajo.Cada cual tiene sus gustos y si ese es su destino que se puede hacer. Uno realiza y hace lo que le gusta y debe ser digno de respeto.

Sheilamar said...

Pienso que cada cual tiene su forma de expresarse. Personalmente creo que si hay video juegos que estan muy bien desarrollados, que sean considerado arte es diferente, ya que para mi el arte es una manera de decir lo que quieras, puede ser en forma de critica o sarcasticamente y un juego, si las graficas y sonido estan brutales (depende del juego) pero pienso que no salen de ahi, ya que los video juegos no tratan de enviar un mensaje y muchas veces se basan en peliculas. No digo que sean malos, porque hasta yo pierdo mi tiempo en ellos (cuando tengo tiempo), pero considerarlos arte depende de quien lo vea porque si es visto desde la pespectiva de un escritor es muy probable que no lo considere arte. Pero si habla con alguien que sea de este campo quizas le diga que si . Todo depende de que punto sea visto.