liquid architecture

Free and wild. A new frontier leaving strong emotional impressions. And for better or worse eschewing the middle-brow trap, that seduction of fantasy of liberal social and cultural improvement achieved at the expense of innovation and creativity. Face it, the gaming world deserves aesthetic recognition by being unique and not simply an adjunct or form of mutant cinema. The creators are artists, not limited to familiar and established configurations. The dogma of convention. There is potential for a new configuration replete with novel approaches of providing sensation and even raising consciousness. It’s a new architecture, painting and cinema in one. A new type of art. The art of the future.

The Adventures of Tintin 2011. Read More:

So, as Spielberg’s Tintin showed,  the aesthetics of adventure cinema and video gaming are inextricable. Gaming aesthetics are influencing the emergence of new genres of storytelling, and at the same time have internalized cinematic zeitgeist and montage from the likes of Chaplin, Eisenstein and Orson Welles and going back to the wild and wooly pioneer animation. Games are clearly telling new stories and also facilitating new narratives and elaborating principles that define our emotional response to them , playing a key role in the manner in which we come to comprehend and engage with society as a whole.This cultural landscape, given the gaming interfaces and design elements have accentuated the slippery line between reality and digital illusion.

“A beautifully designed videogame invokes wonder as the fine arts do, only in a uniquely kinetic way. Because the videogame must move, it cannot offer the lapidary balance of composition that we value in painting; on the other hand, because it can move, it is a way to experience architecture, and more than that to create it, in a way which photographs or drawings can never compete. If architecture is frozen music, then a videogame is liquid architecture.” Read More:

But to single out gaming as a scapegoat for materialism and misogyny is a path of least resistance. McDonalds is incorporating the same architecture in publicity, the military uses gaming as both recruiting tool and as a means of coping with trauma and anxiety. The advertising industry is using gaming technique in the production of campaigns etc:

…For example, the group pointed to numerous cases of gamers being allowed to shoot at civilians or protected places (such as churches or mosques), or depicting interrogations using torture or other inhumane treatment. The paper further pointed to extrajudicial executions (that is, killing a bad guy without putting him to trial first). “It would be highly appreciated” if games did reflect those rules, the group wrote. They believe the “strong creativity and innovation” of the medium could easily be adapted to account for international humanitarian law. Read More:

---The findings concluded that several popular violent videogames—such as “Call of Duty,” “Hitman,” “Killzone” and “Grand Theft Auto”— were associated with participants who shot louder and more intense blasts of noise at their opponents during their competition as opposed to participants who played a nonviolent videogames and who blasted their opponents with much less aggression. Participants who did not play many violent videogames prior to completing the study underwent a noticeable change in brain response if they played a violent game during the study: They showed reduced brain response to the photos of violence from the twenty-five minute segment of playing the violent game.--- Read More:

…Games represent a new lively art, one as appropriate for the digital age as those earlier media were for the machine age. They open up new aesthetic experiences and transform the computer screen into a realm of experimentation and innovation that is broadly accessible. And games have been embraced by a public that has otherwise been unimpressed by much of what passes for digital art. Much as the salon arts of the 1920s seemed sterile alongside the vitality and inventiveness of popular culture, contemporary efforts to create interactive narrative through modernist hypertext or avant-garde installation art seem lifeless and pretentious alongside the creativity and exploration, the sense of fun and wonder, that game designers bring to their craft. As Hal Barwood explained to readers of Game Developer magazine in February 2002, “Art is what people accomplish when they don’t quite know what to do, when the lines on the road map are faint, when the formula is vague, when the product of their labors is new and unique.” Read More:

…Still, the small study shows a direct relationship between playing violent video games and exhibiting less activity in frontal brain regions associated with emotional control and cognitive function. “For the first time, we have found that a sample of randomly assigned young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions following a week of playing violent video games at home,” Yang Wang, assistant research professor in IU’s Department of Radiology and Imaging Science, says in a news release. “The affected brain regions are important for controlling emotions and aggressive behavior.” Read More:

---The violence in video games breeds violence in real life. The US Army uses video games like Halo, and Full Spectrum Warrior to train their troops to kill. Their trailers (barracks) are filled with violent games, used not for entertainment but as intentional desensitization tools. This is powerful stuff, Moms. Study after study has shown that kids who play violent video games are affected physically, psychologically, and emotionally in profoundly dark ways. They are more likely to be angry, to bully, and to lash out at their parents, siblings, and peers. They have higher rates of suicide and depression too.--- Read More: image:/2010/01/the-poets-down-here-dont-write-nothing-at-all/

The central issue with many games is not  the violence- which will exist as long as sexuality and aggression are around-  but that the games are  formulaic, trivial and predictable. The degradation that arrives in appealing to the mass.  And, most gaming critics, are in effect a conservative and reactionary force on aesthetic innovation, by establishing parameters strictly for the sake of control and containment. The championing of reason and common sense, technica

sues instead of gaming’s potential for emotional impact and aesthetic affirmation.

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A more profound criticism would probably contribute to our ongoing discussion about violence, than simply attacking symptoms of a generalized phenomenon spectacularized by multiple digital platforms.  Yes, there is meaningless violence, sexism, war by other means etc. but,  we should examine ways that games could not just re-enact violence but offer us novel ways to understand the place of violence within our culture, and break it down from the homogenous monolith that seems to serve everyone’s purpose at the moment. Ethical responsibilities do exist, and there are ways of exploring the fantasies of empowerment, gaming’s search for meaning that is less graphically gruesome. Its just mustering the required political will to identify alternatives.


According to Bartholow, future research should center on ways to curb media violence effects, especially among individuals who are routinely exposed. There are plenty of surveys, he said, that show the average elementary school child plays videogames spends more than forty hours per week; the time spent on this activity is unprecedented by any other in a child’s life with the exception of sleeping.

Researchers urge parents to gauge the type of violent behavior their children are exposed to habitually, as a child spending that much time on an unsuitable videogames could suffer from desensitization and become accustomed to violent behavior as their brains are forming.

“More than any other media, these videogames encourage active participation in violence,” said Bartholow. “From a psychological perspective, videogames are excellent teaching tools because they reward players for engaging in certain types of behavior. Unfortunately, in many popular videogames, the behavior is violence.” Read More:

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