22 Nov 2013 Montpellier (France)


The gaming industry is crossed by heterogeneous currents that make it complex and hard to perceive especially from an artistic point of view. Driven by its commercial vocation, the industry seems to consider the player only in terms of a marketing target so much as the design is liable to it and the monetization of virtual goods widespread. Everything suggests that the content, scope and process of these games were primarily motivated by financial logic. On the one hand, given the sums involved (equivalent to Hollywood movies) directors are primarily concerned with securing the creation and realization processes in order to maintain the confidence of shareholders and investors. On the other hand, by riding the "casual" wave of social networks, new business models, starting from scratch create empires. The quality direction and the selfless culture seem to fade in favor of pure consumerist logic.

However, beyond these economic spars, there are women and men more committed to engaging existential emancipating values. In the bilge of these industrial vessels or frail skiffs when they have chosen independence, they create. Whether they are graphic artists, musicians, programmers, game designers, level designers, technicians and project managers, or both, they aspire to make the game a moment of aesthetic pleasure cleaned of its mercantile interferences and share a liberating experience in favor of the being rather than possessions ’ desires.

In other words, comes out in the industrial gaming sphere, a commitment to oppose the capitalist dimension that overshadows creation. Through dematerialization appeared a revival of the independent scene that led to the emergence of works of art defying not only the marketing priority of a recognized success but also the cycles of equipment obsolescence. Other amateurs’ creations from the geek generation now sneak in between icons of the mainstream works in a broader transmedia movement. Thus creation of games springs in unusual venues where independents, artists, industry creators, students and researchers seize this new medium. In this area, two major trends express the appearance of this gaming counter-culture: ArtGame and Game Art that coexist in museums and of which definitions tend to overlap.

Game Art (art made from video game materials) is now defined according to four categories:

-          the use of the video game technologies to create images;

-          appropriation and hijack of images to create works of art ;

-          hacking and modifying games to create other games;

-          intervention in the playground through artistic practices.

Alongside this trend, Artgame unites as much independents, research laboratories and events. The Artgame are video games where experiential terms - rules, game mechanics, goals - and the formal characteristics are designed according to a said and claimed aesthetic and plastic bias.

Moreover, these concerns are an urgent news. ArtGame and Game Art represent a milestone in gaming culture as indicated by recent research, in particular the publication of the special issue on video games of Hermès *(http://www.iscc.cnrs.fr/spip.php? article1621), questioning the heterogeneity of gaming culture, through the issue of meanings and values conveyed in video games. Video game is seized as a creative medium by applied research laboratories as a testing ground for new gaming concept. Today, they are not restricted anymore to technological innovation that ignored their ideological messages. If the game is both a medium and a technique, it remains to examine it as it is done for installation art, video art and cinema.

Posing a critical look at video games, located at the crossroads of art and industry, it is possible to bring up the contradictions and discordances inherent to video games with a view to emancipated creation. So much that it is possible to see in the counter-culture of video games of ArtGame and Game Art, traces of neo-capitalist appropriation, as well as discover, behind the banners of some large videogame corporations, some video games developed as real art masterpiece carrier of creative and poiesis intentions, far from current dominant values.

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