AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

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Why Video Games in Art Museums Still Aren’t Art

What follows is a guest post by Brock Rough. Brock is a graduate of Northern Illinois University (2010, MA in Philosophy), and currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park, Department of Philosophy. His research focuses on the art status and ontology of videogames, their role as a test case for theories of art, and the ontology and intersection of games and art. Before pursuing philosophy, Brock spent several years working as a portrait painter.

Videogames are a massive cultural phenomenon. They have come far from the early days of Pong, Pac-Man, and Super Mario Bros. to become productions with Hollywood blockbuster-sized budgets and sales records, like the Call of Duty, Madden NFL, and Grand Theft Auto series’. With such popularity, it was inevitable that some would begin to question the art status of, at least some, videogames. And for some, the issue has been put to rest by the recent inclusion of videogames in some world-class art institutions, including the travelling exhibition put together by the Smithsonian and the permanent collection started by MoMa.

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