Monday, 2 August 2010

When Art Meets Computer Games...

Now, I don't want anyone to rocket out of their chairs... I'm not going to be talking about the mine field topic that is "Are Computer Games Art"... No no, I'm going to look at someone who thinks he can find art in the fabric of computer games.

Now, I'm a bit of a flat footed baffoon when it comes to art, I once went to Nottingham Castle to see a Picasso which I can only describe as a bit of black paint scribbled on a bit of cloth...

Anyway, I may not be able to see art, but I can see computer graphics, and this chap, has just finished a residency at The TAG Gallery in the Hague... An Art Gallery... this is a big deal for an Artist, to have the public able to come and see your works of art.

But that is where this chaps work seems to fall down to me... Art... it is not, he seems to go to strange, unfinished, parts of games, or more specifically levels in 3rd Person Shooters... and take screen shots.

He describes this as being a Virtual Photographer... Erm... No you're not, it's not Photography...

the process or art of producing images of objects on sensitized surfaces by the chemical action of light or of other forms of radiant energy, as x-rays, gamma rays, or cosmic rays.

There are none of these photographic properties in capturing the data from a graphics output buffer... No rays, no radiant energy, no chemical reaction of light... but that is merely a technical quibble.

The point that this chap is calling it Art is what bothers me, its clearly not, he's making some illusions to how the virtual landscapes around him look like the real world... erm, of course they do, but I don't call myself making a 3D Dome in code a "Turner" now do I... no, it's a functional piece of code. The fact that it looks like a sky is its point, its point is not for some tosser to come along, take a screen shot of it, and make a living there of. It simply appears to me that he's found a good excuse for playing computer games when he should have been working... "Are you on that Computer again?"... "ERm, no, no darling, just finishing my latest composition for the Gallery".

In fact, does this actually infringe on the copyright of the game engine? I mean, taking screenshots to promote their engines is one thing, but taking pictures of broken bits of these game engines [which, correctly if I'm wrong, is bad PR] and then having the front to charge people for seeing these images?

Have I missed something here?

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