We are in the epoch of simultaneity: we are in the epoch of juxtaposition, the epoch of the near and far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed.
"For better or worse, most Game Art tends to be parasitic, to borrow a term from Anne-Marie Schleiner, as it appropriates and repurposes existing technology for its own goals. It also elevates that appropriation to the status of a radical gesture. As Miltos Manetas writes: "An artist who works with videogames doesn’t create or change anything himself. He just extracts the hidden notion by looking carefully at the parade of symbols the game is offering already. … A videogame "artist" is not the one who creates a videogame, but someone who "copies" it. As well as a painter is not the guy who eats a piece of bread, but the one who "paints" it, a videogame artist doesn’t even play a videogame but he just extracts stuff from it.""
… the two processes, that of science and that of art, are not very different. Both science and art form in the course of the centuries a human language by which we can speak about the more remote parts of reality …
It is conventional to think of conceptual art as Western art’s linguistic turn. Yet the conceptual work that emerged out of the minimalist negation of medium by a generic conception of ‘objecthood’ was less concerned with language than ideal systems of logical, mathematical and spatio-temporal relations. If there is a basic unit of intelligibility within minimalist or systems-based conceptual art, it is neither the act/event not the word, but the number; if there is a syntactic structure common to such art, it is not the sentence, but the formula; and if there is a discipline in which it is grounded, it is neither composition nor linguistics, but geometry. Philosophically, this work is closer to a pre-aesthetic, rationalist metaphysics of the beautiful as an order of perfection, than to the post-aesthetic premises of a conceptual art grounded in either a philosophy of the act/event or a philosophy of language. Its closest artistic predecessor is serialism in modern music.
Conceptual art was the product of successive and overlapping revolts against four defining features of the artwork as previously understood within the art institutions of the West, and as epitomized in particular in Clement Greenberg’s discussion of modernist painting: material objectivity, medium specificity, visuality and autonomy. Each rebellion contested a dimension of the aesthetic definition of the artwork by drawing attention to the role of ideas in the production of meaning from visual experience. But each did so in a significantly different way. Each form of negation thus had as its positive outcome a different set of resources or strategic options for a distinctive type of conceptual art, as follows:
1. The negation of material objectivity as the site of the identity of the artwork by the temporality of ‘intermedia’ acts and events. This led to a type of conceptual art linked to the history of performance in music and dance.
2. The negation of medium by a generic conception of ‘objecthood’, made up of ideal systems of relations. This led to a form of conceptual art closely related to the history of minimalism.
3. The negation of the intrinsic significance of visual form by a semiotic or, more narrowly, linguistically-based conceptual content. This produced a type of conceptual art connected to academic philosophy and the history of the readymade.
4. The negation of established modes of autonomy of the artwork by various forms of cultural activism and social critique. This generated a range of forms of conceptual art associated with the legacy of the historical avant-gardes of the 1920s in the politics of the 1960s, and with Constructivism and Productivism in particular.
"THE NOTION OF PLAY can only escape the linguistic and practical confusion surrounding it by being considered in its movement. After two centuries of negation by the continuous idealization of production, the primitive social functions of play are presented as no more than decaying relics mixed with inferior forms that proceed directly from the necessities of the current organization of production. At the same time, the progressive tendencies of play appear in relation to the development of these very forces of production.
The new phase of affirmation of play seems to be characterized by the disappearance of any element of competition. The question of winning or losing, previously almost inseparable from ludic activity, appears linked to all other manifestations of the tension between individuals for the appropriation of goods. The feeling of the importance of winning in the game, that it is about concrete satisfactions — or, more often than not, illusions — is the wretched product of a wretched society. This feeling is naturally exploited by all the conservative forces that serve to mask the atrocious monotony of the conditions of life they themselves impose. One has only to think of all the claims détourned by competitive sports that are imposed in their precisely modern form in Great Britain with the expansion of the factories. Not only do crowds identify with professional players or clubs, which assume the same mythic role as movie stars and statesmen making all the decisions; but the infinite series of results of these competitions do not let their observers feel any of their passion. Direct participation in a game, even between those requiring a little intellectual exercise, ceases to be interesting as soon as competition for its own sake enters the framework of fixed rules. Where the idea of play is involved, nothing arouses so much scorn these days as the declaration that opens [Sawielly] Tartakower’s The Chess Bible: “The game of chess is universally recognized as the king of games.”
The element of competition must disappear in favor of a more authentically collective concept of play: the common creation of selected ludic ambiances. The central distinction that must be transcended is that established between play and ordinary life, play kept as an isolated and provisory exception. “Into an imperfect world and into the confusion of life,” writes Johan Huizinga, “it brings a temporary, a limited perfection.” Ordinary life, previously conditioned by the problem of survival, can be dominated rationally — this possibility is at the heart of every conflict of our time — and play, radically broken from a confined ludic time and space, must invade the whole of life. Perfection will not be its end, at least to the degree that this perfection signifies a static construction opposed to life. But one may propose to push to its perfection the beautiful confusion of life. The baroque — elegantly described by Eugénio d’Ors as “the vacancy of history” — and its organized beyond, play a major role in the coming reign of leisure.
In this historical perspective, play — the permanent experimentation with ludic novelties — appears to be not at all separate from ethics, from the question of the meaning of life. The only success that can be conceived in play is the immediate success of its ambiance, and the constant augmentation of its powers. Thus, even in its present co-existence with the residues of the phase of decline, play cannot be completely emancipated from a competitive aspect; its goal must be at the very least to provoke conditions favorable to direct living. In this sense it is another struggle and representation: the struggle for a life in step with desire, and the concrete representation of such a life.
Due to its marginal existence in relation to the oppressive reality of work, play is often regarded as fictitious. But the work of the situationists is precisely the preparation of ludic possibilities to come. One can thus attempt to neglect the Situationist International to the degree that one easily recognizes a few aspects of a great game. “Nevertheless,” says Huizinga, “as we have already pointed out, the consciousness of play being ‘only a pretend’ does not in any way prevent it from proceeding with the utmost seriousness…”
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