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The video game as 10th art

Published by Caroline Lamarque on

Today, the video game is considered as an art in its own right. It belongs to the classification of the 10th art along with computer graphics and web design. However, few people know when and how this official consecration took place and, that’s good, because that’s precisely what we’re going to see together.

First of all, let us recall that it is the philosopher Étienne Souriau who classified the different modern categories of arts in 1969. However, at that time, the arts stopped at 7. It is only years later that the 8th art (media arts including radio, television, photography), the 9th art (comics, manga and comic books) and the 10th art were formalized.

In France, it was on September 11, 2006 that Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, then Minister of Culture and Communication, presented his policy on video games to the National Assembly. This is how the Ministry of Culture officially recognized video games as an art form that day. In the United States, however, it was not until June 27, 2011 that the Supreme Court recognized video games as a full-fledged art form in their country.

This recognition is accompanied by the creation of concrete measures to support, protect and promote video games. In France, we can mention the creation of the Fonds d’Aide au Jeu Vidéo (which could be translateb as Video Game Support Fund), otherwise known as FAJV, on April 30th 2008. The BNF, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France), itself lists more than 17,000 video games in its holdings that it preserves and protects, just like the books it contains. On February 1, 2019, the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, announced that video games are now part of the offer of the pass culture (this is a financial aid allowing young people aged 18 years residing in certain regions to benefit during 24 months of 500 € to spend in physical or digital cultural offers via application). These actions are sometimes praised, sometimes criticized. Indeed, the official status of the artistic character of video games is still sometimes strongly criticized.

Culture désormais populaire, planétaire, le jeu vidéo ne cesse d’accroître son audience mais peine à gagner ses galons d’artistes.

(Now a popular, global culture, video games are constantly increasing their audience but are struggling to earn their stripes as artists.)

ZEID, Jean. Art et jeux vidéo. Paris : Palette…, 2018, p. 9.

However, the video game is gradually creating a place for itself in events and places intended to promote art. In 2012, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York), for example, acquired 14 video games to integrate them into its collections. In September 2018, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will host the exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt. In 2017, the Pixel Museum (the museum of video games, connected entertainment and video game art) opened in Schiltigheim, near Strasbourg in France and its counterpart, the Pixel Museum Brussels in 2020.

The examples are more and more numerous each year and all this suggests a very bright future for the 10th art that we love so much.

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Categories: Culture