The Smithsonian exhibit on videogames renewed some of the discussion about what art means. For some kids visiting the exhibit, the discussion helped them to think critically, perhaps for their first time, about what it means for something to be art or not. One precocious ten-year-old, Ryan Puthumana, argues for videogames as art, citing their engaging content and the exhibit’s title as proof:
I think that video games are art because art is a way of communicating ideas to the public or audience in a way that is fun to them. The “audience or public,” who in this case are kids and adults, are finding these exhibit video games from different time periods . . . interesting. Video games would not have been art if it had not been for the kids and adults engaged in “the art of video games.”
On the other side of the debate, ten-year-old Caroline Kaplan disagrees, citing videogames as “technology” and not a creative medium.
However incredible, realistic and entertaining video games are, they are not art. Poetry is art, and painting is art, but not video games. Art has passion, beauty and culture that no technology could ever compare to. Even though you can create art in some video games, the “Mona Lisa” wasn’t painted with Nintendo. . . . Video games are not art.
Even young Kaplan concedes that “you can create art in some video games.” Though games are often abstract, I believe a well-planned set of rules is just as much art as a ballet or painting. It’s fun to see young voices considering abstract concepts like what art is; in a few years they’ll be blogging with the best of us.