Thesis Eleven 89 (1):74-93 (2007)

This article argues that the computer game can be a locus of aesthetic form in contemporary culture. The context for understanding this claim is the decline of the artwork as bearer of form in the late 20th century, as this was understood by Adorno. Form is the enigmatic other of instrumental reason that emerges spontaneously in creative works and, in the modern era, is defined as that which makes them captivating and enigmatic yet resistant to analytic understanding. Clarification of the ways in which form is at work in game play is sought from aesthetic theory (Kant), ludology (or theory of games), and the idea of a neo-baroque entertainment culture (Ndalianis). Kant emphasized the role of play in the constitution of imaginary realms associated with aesthetic pleasure. Ludology takes play as an anthropological given differentiated historically by the development of game structures. Neo-baroque theory postulates a labyrinthine, complex and de-centred entertainment culture, largely shaped by computing as a cultural practice. The article synthesizes insights from these perspectives and, drawing on ideas from Adorno and Benjamin, argues that computer games can occupy an oppositional or critical role within contemporary aesthetics and culture. Reflection on the constitutive processes of computer game play discloses a new place for instrumental reason within aesthetic experience, as the dialectic of form and analysis migrates from traditional art materials to digital electronics
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DOI 10.1177/0725513607076134
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References found in this work BETA

Critical Theory of Technology.Andrew Feenberg - 1991 - Oxford University Press.
Aesthetic Theory.Theodor W. Adorno, Gretel Adorno, Rolf Tiedemann & C. Lenhardt - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (12):732-741.
The Origin of German Tragic Drama.Walter Benjamin - 1978 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (1):103-104.
Aesthetic Theory.Henry L. Shapiro - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):288.

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