Works of Game: Exploring the Intersection of Art and Games with John Sharp

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Tuesday, April 19

Games, Game Art, Artgames and Artist’s Games: A Look at the Intersections of Play and Art

Though games have been a part of fine art explicitly and implicitly since at least the early twentieth century, more often than not, they have been evaluated using the aesthetics and critical valuations of the prevailing artforms of the time — painting, film, conceptual art, postmodernism, etc. The games community, on the other hand, has focused on the innate properties of games and the experiences they provide with a limited understanding of what it means to create and evaluate fine art today. As a result, the two communities discuss many of the same works and use many of the same tools and techniques, but do so to very different ends using isolated vocabularies and methods of evaluation and critique. This talk investigates this gap between games and art, and suggests ways the differences can be resolved.

John Sharp is a game designer, graphic designer, art historian and educator. He makes games, teaches game design and other creative pursuits, and researches and writes about games, design, art, and play.

John is the Associate Professor of Games and Learning in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design. Along with Colleen Macklin, John co-directs PETLab (Prototyping, Education and Technology Lab), a research group focused on games and their design as a form of social discourse.

He has one published book, Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Games and Art (MIT Press, 2015), and three forthcoming books — Fun, Taste and Games (co-authored with David Thomas, 2015), Play Machines: The Principles and Practice of Game Design (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2016) and Iterate: Ten Perspectives on Design and Failure (co-authored with Colleen Macklin, 2016).