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Joseph Taylor

MA work

Major Project: Trees, Oceans and Mountains: Observations on the Videogame Landscape

The world, as we know, is changing; we spend increasing amounts of our leisure time in virtual spaces. These spaces are themselves changing, and the past decade of videogame design has seen seismic shifts in the fundamental geography of what virtual space can be. The rise of massive multiplayer online gaming and the gamification of online life have blurred the boundary between social network, workplace and game, between recreation and labour.

Yet despite the apparent social upheaval of the digital revolution, if we look at the landscape of World of Warcraft or the latest Grand Theft Auto, it is clear that we haven't stepped so far from conventional histories of representation. Trees, oceans, mountains; the geography of our virtual spaces follows the geography of the real world and videogames find themselves part of the long history of artistic representations of 'nature'.

How do we situate videogames in the landscape tradition? What relationships can we draw between new, digital artforms and traditional art history? What will the future of the virtual landscape look like?

In three essays focusing on individual elements of the videogame landscape, I have tried to find answers to these questions. Henry Thoreau sought solace and self-determination in the tranquility of Walden Pond. I find the same in a game like Minecraft. These essays try to articulate why.

Info

  • Joseph Taylor profile image
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2013

  • Major Project: Trees, Oceans and Mountains: Observations on the Videogame Landscape

    The world, as we know, is changing; we spend increasing amounts of our leisure time in virtual spaces. These spaces are themselves changing, and the past decade of videogame design has seen seismic shifts in the fundamental geography of what virtual space can be. The rise of massive multiplayer online gaming and the gamification of online life have blurred the boundary between social network, workplace and game, between recreation and labour.

    Yet despite the apparent social upheaval of the digital revolution, if we look at the landscape of World of Warcraft or the latest Grand Theft Auto, it is clear that we haven't stepped so far from conventional histories of representation. Trees, oceans, mountains; the geography of our virtual spaces follows the geography of the real world and videogames find themselves part of the long history of artistic representations of 'nature'.

    How do we situate videogames in the landscape tradition? What relationships can we draw between new, digital artforms and traditional art history? What will the future of the virtual landscape look like?

    In three essays focusing on individual elements of the videogame landscape, I have tried to find answers to these questions. Henry Thoreau sought solace and self-determination in the tranquility of Walden Pond. I find the same in a game like Minecraft. These essays try to articulate why.