How many times do we have to put up with people claiming that "games cannot be art"? Johnny Pi at his Design Synthesis blog has a post commenting on (and refuting) yet another attempt to exclude games from the culture club of art. It reminds me of the insane man I heard on the radio the other day who claimed that waxworks were "not art" because they lacked anger. Which freaked me out, since I've heard art conflated with the evocation of beauty, but never anger - it's readily apparent there is plenty of things we consider art which lack anger. Where is the anger in the Venus de Milo (whose butt crack I admired the other week) or the gorgeous Cupid and Psyche statues?
Why do people try and exlude things from art? Because they have a category definition in their head for 'art', and they try and apply it to the outside world. Which is where they go wrong, for art is fundamentally subjective. Breaking news: you don't get to decide what is art. Ever.
I consider anything man-made which evokes any kind of emotion to be art, and I consider this to be a very good definition, but this isn't about definitions (dictionary definitions for art struggle at best)... It's really quite simple:
Art is subjective.
Anything that anyone considers to be art must be art.
If this were not so, there would have to be an objective criteria for art, which is something that will never be. (We will never build a sensor which "detects art").
Whenever you hear someone claim that something "isn't art", I believe they must inherently be mistaken. Now "good art", that's a different story. If you want to claim that most games are not very good in artistic terms, I'd agree, but there's plenty of wonderfully artistic games out there.
This latest attempt to exclude games from art began with the following definition:
Art is the vision of an artist. It's a precise and defined work, whose meaning can be open to interpretation by the viewer, but whose content is always the same.
Why anyone would think this doesn't apply to games is a mystery.