The latest issue of Artnodes Journal, the UOC’s e-journal on art, science and technology is now online. This issue is dedicated to “Gameplay: art, videogames and culture”.
This issue is dedicated to exploring the relationships between art, videogames and culture, focusing on the idea of gameplay as the common thread to the monograph. In the study of play as a cultural phenomenon, there are a number of important milestones, such as the book Homo Ludens written by Johan Huizinga in 1938 or Man, Play and Games written in 1958 by Roger Caillois, which established a clear link between play and culture, where games are not merely an element in culture but an element of culture.
One of the authors participating in this monograph is Pau Waelder, independent art critic and curator, who looks at Pain Games and describes various works of digital art which use pain as a form of interaction in the context of a two-player game.
Other articles include Playing Research: Methodological approaches to game analysis, by Espen Aarseth, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen. The author explains how the study of game aesthetics is a very recent practice, spanning less than two decades. Unlike game studies in mathematics or the social sciences, which are much older, games became subject to humanistic study only after computer and video games became popular.
Digital Allegories (on The Sims), by McKenzie Wark, Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the Eugene Lang College and Sociology at the New School for Social Research, talks about how we are all now players. “You are a gamer whether you like it or not, now that we all live in this gamespace that is everywhere and nowhere. You can go anywhere you want in gamespace but never leave it. No wonder digital games are the emergent cultural form of the times.”
Alexander R. Galloway, author and programmer who gives classes at New York University, has written the article entitled Gamic Action, Four Moments. This essay proposes a new hermeneutic for understanding the formal qualities of video games given the action-based nature of the medium and the interplay between diegetic and nondiegetic space.
Finally, Erkki Huhtamo, Associate Professor at UCLA, has written an article entitled Slots of Fun, Slots of Trouble. This article is a contribution to the cultural and historical mapping of electronic gaming. Its basic premise is at least seemingly simple: electronic games did not appear out of nowhere; they have a cultural background that needs to be excavated.
As well as the monograph, Artnodes 7 also includes, in the Miscellany section, an article on graffiti: The Screen on the Street: Convergence and Agonic Coincidences between Graffiti and New Media Objects. The author is Noelia Quintero, filmmaker, researcher and professor in the Faculty of Social Communication at the University of Puerto Rico.