lunedì 16 settembre 2013


Art is technology, as much as the human being.
Since the beginning, game has been the enactment of its own destinies (plural).

A glowing red wire links the choppers made by homo habilis to the mouse of our pc, fossil handprints to touch-screens, with the dream of a future breach of any divisor screen.
It is a discourse that starts as abruptly as a flash (“αστράπτω”, “astrapto”, “lightning”, abstract thought) and 75,000 years ago was translated into a series of lozenges on red ochre, in Blombos. Later on, once the agricultural civilization was established, lozenges became bricks and artfully built a new artificial reality made of those angles, squares and rectangles of which we still love surrounding ourselves with.
There is no square without brick.
There is no way of defining reality without playing the game (dice or chess?).
There is no technology that does not answer art’s questioning.

Nuova Cueva de las Manos, Venezia 54. Biennale, photo by Game Art Gallery

Mythology gives eyes to statues, religion sits choirs in the theatre, the story of a squared chunk of wood gives birth to the picture (preferably rectangular). Paper reed rolls unfold and become codex, palimpsest, illuminated book, printed book. The square-angles door is now wide open, and from the darkroom to photograph, movies and the computer screen it is a short path.
For every step a new level: reality augmented by man’s articulate intervention, by the indissoluble osmosis between science, technique and art which is culture. Every time the same search for what we think we are, our representation of what we think of as natural or substantial: are we that chunk of wood? That rock? That mixture of color, silver nitrate, celluloid, bits?
We are multi-level. Artists, philosophers and scientists have always known it.
We surf the Internet acknowledging the existence of a platonic second navigation, of an Aristotelic level jump from potentiality to actuality, to the different angelic hierarchies or Dante’s Infernal circles, stricken both by Bruno’s heroic frenzy and Leibniz’s binary arithmetic. We tear up the veils of Maya with deep pleasure and no shame: we leave the same traces as Derrida. We are made of the same substance as a Flemish oil, and of the same powerful inconsistency as a film by Kulešov. Behind the ideal city of the Renaissance we see Daguerre’s Paris appear into light, and the 1889 World’s Fair, with the Eiffel Tower, photographed from bird’s-eye view on Google Earth. Let’s play SimCity.
We are also video-ludic, or rather NEO-LUDIC, because art comes into play.
For today the world is a video game, a total bet on our future, in which video game as a medium, knowingly sprung from its own fiction, may finally get out of the mirror, like Alice, in order to express its thought on a society that has never been so stratified and complex. The two realities – which sum up to form one augmented reality – are very much alike and cannot do without one another.
NEOLUDICA constitutes the first great attempt to define a coherent and strongly characterized perspective on this new, fundamental technological challenge art has embarked on.

Eva e Franco Mattes, Venezia 54. Biennale photo by Paolo Della Corte

Artists, creators, developers and players are then called upon to step up in class, and to accept a confrontation that will be aesthetic as well as ethic, and therefore will bring up more daydreams.
Today more than ever we are moved by Lewis Mumford’s words from his 1934 essay Technics and Civilization: “Thanks to machines, we now have a chance to understand a world we contributed to create”.
“Art is a game,” said Duchamp, “and games are art.” The admission of video games to the Dance of the Muses has enriched this statement: video games are art, and they have recently acquired a crucial influence on the other arts. From movies to literature, beyond music and visual arts. They are crossroads between different forms of production and culture and the anomaly of such clash is what makes them so interesting.
The goal of Neoludica. Art is a game 2011-1966 is to explore these relationships. Quoting Duchamp, we might wonder whether the video game is a celibate machine. Our answer is “No”. Not only does it require interaction, but it is as well a portable piece of art.
The event witnessed by this book is also portable: a six sections exhibit, depicting a path free from chronology but enriched by expressions and creations between hardware and software. Michel Foucault used to address the archaeology of thinking the same way as history addresses the archaeology of objects: while associating so different worlds yet animated by the same tensions, we opt for an archaeology of open aesthetics, as shown by the essays here collected.
At the beginning of the Third Millennium the heirs of Spacewar! have become the biggest cultural industry in the world, with a large catchment area and true opportunities for communication and education. Professional photographers, graphic designers, speed painters, animation artists, computer programmers… They all devote years to producing video games. We grew up with them, and many more are growing up at this very moment.
And yet, we all look inside a frame, the center of both knowledge and experimentation: artwork, portable console, screen or TV.
Art comes into play.

[Debora Ferrari, Luca Traini - 2010 -  Skira ed., Milan]

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