Monday, May 5, 2014

Blips: Making an Impression

Source: Echoing Histories: Impressionism, Indie Games and Artistic Revolutions
Author: Eron Rauch
Site: Video Game Tourism

Let's take a step back from the convoluted arguments about what constitutes a game and what that has to do with art, and instead, let's look at cultural movements in art and games that seem to play out in a similar fashion. That's precisely what Eron Rauch has done in his latest article for Video Game Tourism, comparing the onset of Impressionism in the 1870s and the rise of indie games in the past few years. It's an approach that can really only be made by someone who knows their art history, which Rauch most certainly does, offering insight into the mindset of the typical Salon du Paris patron when confronted with imagery that shakes up the system.

I won't recap the whole thing because I'd rather you check it out for yourself, but I'll tease some of the lines from the opening which are meant to sound like they could be said in reference to indie games now as much as they could have been of uttered of Impressionist paintings back during their time.
“They didn’t even have a jury, that means anyone can have their work seen! How will anyone know what is good?” one man says sloshing his drink slightly in the night air. “Yes, their work is so modest in scale. It’s hardly worth paying attention to.” Gruff nods mingle with the smoke of expensive cigars. “I mean, their subject matter is so banal. They don’t seem to have any grasp of the grand themes of myth and history that tie us all together!” “Yes, they just depict everyday life. People won’t pay money for that!” Each looks to the other, somewhat uneasily, as though they are trying to sniff out a traitor. “Yes, I could respect them more, but it looks so bad, so unfinished - almost like sketches - nothing more than impressions!”

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