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On Bogost’s “Art” and “Proceduralism”

Art or media, through any medium, offers us new experiences of familiar worlds. It offers us a particular representation or perspective of real life. It “balances an obligation to accuracy with other aesthetic concerns,” (Reid) and that is exactly what Bogost’s exploration into the definition of art attempts and succeeds at telling us. Chapter one proves that certain video games can share the same status with art, as both incorporate aesthetic and psychological appeal.  Procedural rhetoric is not limited to just video games, but extended to all forms of art. The fundamental idea in both games and media is not the game itself, but human interaction with the game (or book, play, T.V, show, movie, etc…). Games that utilize proceduralism/ procedural rhetoric “say something about how the experience of a world works…, how it feels to be subjected to a situation… [marriage, mortality, regret, confusion]” (Bogost). When we are able to form meaning about our own lives, because someone else can make sense of it for us in a way we would have never been able to—from a perspective we never would have considered— we form and enhance the meaning of the initial expression. “We project [our own] experiences and ideas on [abstractions of real life roles] utilized in [games]” (Bogost). Any abstraction of basic human truths provokes consideration of those truths. In this sense, art does not become art until human interaction with the subject takes place. Bogost’s and McGonigal’s perspectives of video games differ greatly, but both understand the power of video games and media in relation to human interaction.



One thought on “On Bogost’s “Art” and “Proceduralism”

  1. I think the role aspect in all media is a really intriguing topic, but perhaps it is not so much that media can define and help us clarify our actual roles in life but serve to define the roles of others for us. Media is the filter by which we understand others. Our relation to the media itself certainly is not stagnant because the ‘message’ of media is in a constant state of change – each moment of media expression re-defines itself to re-enforce the value of its values. This continuous destabilization is why media is so prevalent in everyday life, from billboards, to magazines, and to blogs, its message is not sustainable. To be quite general, of course. One of the best examples of this continuous cycle of destabilization and re-enforcement is with clothing. Upon viewing an advertisement, we begin with a relation to it – “I like that brand”, “That shirt is an awful color”, “The model is attractive”, etc. Then, upon processing the advertisement, it works on our relationship to it, perhaps something has convinced us to like something we had not before, such as a crop tank top with a giant feather on it. Now, our world is colored by this relationship. Most interesting to me is how we then view others who wear and don’t wear such an item. Next, we view another ad with a relationship colored by the previous ad. We never start at a zero or pure relation. What it seems to me advertisements, art, videogames, etc. do regarding roles is to structure our understanding of those around us. The question is not “What role of mine does this video game thematize?” but is the answer “The person sitting next to me is _________”. Our knowledge of others is always a relation to the ‘not’ of us and is highly defined by media.

    (My language might be quite skewed, but this is something I find very difficult to articulate properly!)

    Posted by emmajani | May 31, 2013, 10:48 pm

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