Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blips: New Media Literacy

Source: Fuck Videogames
Author: Darius Kazemi

Last week, web/interactivity artist Darius Kazemi shared a slide presentation wherein he rallies against the idea of games as the new go-to medium for creative expression. He says that just because games possess qualities that books, welding, and baking don't, that doesn't make them more capable of conveying ideas. Some expression is better suited to one form than another, and I happen to think he's quite right.

More and more it sounds like expressive game design is merging with interdisciplinary art practice. That's the impression I got from Bennett Foddy's (QWOP, Get On Top) lecture at NYU Game Center last year as well. If there's an idea you'd like to externalize, it's worth channeling it through the medium that suits it best. This can even refer to media that you've never used before, but the more options available in your "tool belt," to use Kazemi's term, the better chance you have of creating a successful match.

While it's encouraging to see an institution like NYU Game Center build an MFA program in Game Design, pushing the creative process of game development to the forefront, many studio art MFA programs across the US have already turned interdisciplinary and do not require students to select a medium of focus. This was a big factor for me when I was grad school shopping since I didn't want to enroll in a program where I had to lock myself in as a painter or photographer, largely only associating with people who also specialize in that medium. NYU Game Center has the right idea though, and even if their MFA stays games-only, it would be great to see non-game design students given a chance to cross-pollinate in the program.

If nothing else, I took Kazemi's presentation as a plea to disregard loyalty to any medium. Don't let the label on your Twitter bio hold you back from experimenting with different forms. Expressive mediums aren't people; game design won't be jealous if you take up creative writing periodically. Simply give your creative expression the platform that will make it resonate most powerfully.

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