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"Active Art"?

"Active Art"?
« on: February 09, 2012, 10:38:46 am »

Why don't we just call it "active art"?

It's not the most poetic of terms, but it very accurately describes how our work is different from that in other media. The art object we make is active: it does things, by itself and in response to the spectator/player.

There is no other art form that does this. Theater comes closest, which is an inspiring association. But most of the time, theater just runs its course. Some actors may respond to the audience, but this is usually not part of the work. Puppet shows and improvisational theater do. But the activity in those is down to the humans, performing -and most often they deliberating break through the fourth wall (which, at least formally, designates it as being "outside" of the artistic event). It is not the art object itself that is active.

"Procedural art" is too complicated and seems to put too much focus on the computer's processing, ignoring the player, while "interactive art" seems to shift the focus towards the player (and thus towards other media), if only because the word "interactive" is usually really interpreted as "reactive" in the sense that it is about the activity of the player while neglecting that of the computer.
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 10:53:46 am »

I don't feel good to have "art" in the name. If we look at other established art forms, we have: books or literature, painting, film, sculpture, music, architecture. We don't call it book art or painting art. All those forms can be art, but often are not or not neccessarily so. I envy those people who can say: I make books, or I make films or I make paintings.
I don't want to say: I make active art. Also I don't feel to say: I make games. I make notgames (not quite there yet). Usually I say, I make software.

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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 02:32:59 pm »

Yeah, it doesn't work. Again, it's the comics/graphic-novel problem. Unfortunately. Games/notgames is here to stay.

There's always the silly option. Just make up a word! From now on, we will call them "smoogles"!

Slightly less silly, you could try to duct tape together some term from Latin or Greek.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 02:36:40 pm by ghostwheel »
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 04:06:19 pm »

I wasn't proposing this as an alternative to notgames.
Rather as a way to differentiate the art made for computer from other art. Not really a an equivalent of "painting" or "books" but as an alternative to "interactive art" or "digital art" or "games as art".

But György is right. We should have a name for the thing itself, without the word "art" in it.
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 03:49:54 am »

"Active Art" could be a good start.

When I was trying to think of good names for the procedural or interactive prototypes I'd make to test out pieces of a potential game, I settled on the name "Active Sketch", as you can see here:
http://axcho.deviantart.com/gallery/12467959

The "Sketch" part wouldn't apply to finished artwork, of course, so I don't mean to suggest "Active Sketch" as a possible name for notgames, but I do like the "Active" part. Smiley
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2012, 11:39:50 am »

In general I think that it's extremely hard (if not impossible) to find a reasonable word to take over from the somewhat accepted 'interactive art' term (again, considering art here, and not anything else). As a brain-tickler I am suggesting we think of whatever we do as a more recent remediation of something else, that is, what is it we are making and what is its relationship to a similar old technology/media?

In some cases there will be no clear answer. Is my game/work a remediation of painting? Some may say so. Is my game/work a remediation of film? Others may say that. For my recent work, real life situations is what I chose to augment rather than fully create in a digital way. In that case I was almost completely detached from the idea of the represented - in one instance my work was more television than game.

Based on the way any game designer goes into his/her craft today, their interpretation will be somewhat varied and possibly even sliding, even in the same discussion and work.

OK. End of thought-stream.
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 11:11:50 pm »

We could maybe refer to the creations as "active compositions" to avoid the art thing?
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 03:09:15 pm »

I like it. The art is not just interactive, meaning the audience can interact with the artwork, but don't have to. The art is active, meaning the audience has to actively participate – otherwise they can't experience the artwork. Also, it has novelty, and compares well to other terms like "performance art". But I don't think it would work outside of an art context. Saying that a game is "active art" on the App Store or Steam would just marginalize it.
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2012, 03:11:47 pm »

The word "notgames" has grown on me. I've started saying in Swedish that I create "ospel". It has the same weird ring to it. Gets people interested.
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2012, 04:22:34 pm »

I like the word 'notgames' for the group, but having recently written a subsidy request for a game fund, I felt very uncomfortable writing it considering it is a game fund.

For my own current work I just say 'game' or 'art game', and then just explain that I base my work on acting and being part of a play. I think 'art game' is just shorthand, just like 'arthouse film'.

I think the word 'game' is most apt, because what we are offering is structural forms of play (in various degrees); and the word 'game' is now used for a (computer) game you purchase and play at home - which is what I am making.

...also, psah! Where is that Wagnerian spirit of just claiming the word 'game' as our own and saying we are changing games to an ultimate form?
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 07:53:30 pm »

I still like the word software, as a description of the medium. Like painting, books, software. If somebody bothers to ask what kind of software, then I can qualifiy. Arthouse games, notgames, active art, interactive art (which are all the same to me)...
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012, 10:17:51 am »

I use the word "game" as well. For the reasons Jeroen mentions. What we do is known as a (computer) game in practice. The word doesn't say anything about the content. You can still ask "what kind of game?" I'm not too fond of the term "active art" at all anymore but it was meant to answer that question, as a equivalent to the answer "literature" when somebody asks "what kind of book?"

"Game" now feels like a word on the same level as "painting" and "film" to me. Because, in my mind, it means "computer game" (probably partially because my native tongue is Dutch and "game" is a foreign word that has no meaning in Dutch apart form "computer game"). Maybe this is a form of Wagnerian claiming? We just call our work game, even if it doesn't fit within Mr Zimmerman's strict definition, because to us "game" means this kind of interactive stuff we do with a computer, and it does not imply any given format. Sounds healthy to me. Let Zimmerman find a new word for his stuff instead! Wink
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 07:34:00 pm »

Perhaps we should just adopt haute-jeu(x) .. in the vein of how haute-couture / haute-cuisine distinguish from regular clothes / food Wink
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Re: "Active Art"?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 10:40:59 pm »

Jeux pour le jeux Smiley
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