Main True Art Is Incomprehensible Discussion

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05:37:32 PM Nov 8th 2016
I hate people who believe this trope to be true. 90% (give or take a couple hundredths) of them are post-modernist hipster schmucks whose very existence makes me sick, and the remaining 10% (give or take) are washed-up abstract artists from the late sixties to the majority of the seventies whose best works are only good because they were influenced by psychotropics, and any "meaning" that's attributed to them is their rational minds (or rather their 'emotional minds' when more controlled) attempting to give meaning to something they made when they weren't rational.
06:38:27 AM Feb 14th 2017
I don't know anyone who believes this trope to be true, and I work in the visual arts media. 'Post-modernist hipster schmucks' don't believe true art to be incomprehensible; if anything, their problem is that they think it's all too comprehensible, and spend more time writing commentary about it than they spend making it. (I think I probably am one of the p.-m. h. schmucks whose very existence makes Mr White sick, but I'm not going to kill myself just to make him happy.)

I think that this trope should be confined to in-universe examples only, because people on this site keep slapping it on any modern art they don't like, and it's making the site look philistine, aka stupid. I don't understand the appeal of horror movies but I don't go around calling them stupid and worthless just because I don't like them.

04:36:05 PM Apr 15th 2014
Tilted Arc, isn't it?
05:26:08 PM Feb 12th 2014
edited by
The examples that were removed:


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  • Lampshaded by a commercial where an artist is discussing a canvas which you do not see until halfway in, trying to say it represents the helplessness of life. The canvas was revealed as blank white. The girl he was trying to explain it to gives a deadpan response of "You ran out of cash and the store wouldn't take a check. Right?" the artist responds "Right."

  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • It parodies this like so much else. Nagi is convinced that her manga is a masterpiece, but the only other person who can understand it is her friend Isumi. Everybody else just feels very confused after reading it. Or even just hearing her describe it.
    • Isumi herself tries writing a manga. Naturally, Nagi immediately declares it a work of genius.
  • Parodied in GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class. Noda, who's already in her own little world, declares "You don't need drawing techniques for modern art, you just need taste." This is proven when a solid black rectangle drawn in pencil is able to be viewed as "art" by everybody except for Namiko.
  • Hidamari Sketch, also in an arts class setting, cannot avoid this. When the tenants decided to draw their renditions of a bunny as an introduction, Hiro and Yuno just couldn't comprehend Miyako's work...
  • Moriya of Bakuman。 seems to have this view, as a Foil to Shiratori, who believes that manga should be for everyone. Moriya believes in placing an emphasis on quality and artistic value without pandering to the masses, and as such, writes works that are difficult to understand, and thus considered too complex for publication.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena had these moments, especially in the movie.
  • Serial Experiments Lain, of course. It can't be accurately described within one example.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion. Former Trope Namer for Instrumentality, which is now Assimilation Plot, and is infamous for its last two episodes, which are essentially extended psychotherapy sessions of the main characters.

     Comic Books  
  • Some attribute this trope to Grant Morrison (or at least to some of his works):
    • "Everyone wants an answer, don't they?... I hate things with answers."
      Grant Morrison, in a Wizard magazine interview
  • Invoked in Amazing Spider-Man #22, where Peter Parker exclaims "If that's art then I'm glad I'm a science major" upon seeing a gallery of pop art (one of which is just a painting of a toe with a band-aid on it), while a hippie nearby says "I wish I could draw like that". Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko also voiced his disdain for pop-art in issues of The Blue Beetle and The Question, even creating a villain named Boris Ebar, an art critic and liberal politician who used pop art to spread decadence. Ditko's reasoning for Ebar's motivation was that he, hippies, and liberals weren't "manly" enough to appreciate traditional art.
    • There's some rather painful irony present there for any comic book fan who's ever tried to justify it as an art form, making this seem like a bizarre meta-joke on Ditko's part.
  • In his last, unfinished comic book Tintin Tintin And Alph Art, Herge wanted Tintin to deal with the modern art business. The Alph-Art mentioned is a new style which depicts nothing but big letters. And Captain Haddock was even supposed to become a fan of it.
  • Parodied in the Carl Barks Scrooge McDuck story "Hound of the Whiskervilles", where Scrooge gets big in modern art by painting his clan's tartan.
  • Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics discusses an entertaining aversion to demonstrate the importance of context: An enormous square of canvas with two tiny right triangles at the center of the top and bottom edges. Its name? The Big N, which is in fact precisely what the painting is.
  • This trope is why Rudi's buddy Freddy accidentally destroys one art installation, thinking it was the buffet. Also, a woman at said vernissage:
    Woman: "What a great piece of art! I could look at it all the time!"
    Rudi (thinking): "I don't have the heart to tell her it's just a mirror."
  • This trope was already so over-used by 1966 that it was parodied and lampshaded in an Archie Comics story by writer Frank Doyle. Veronica paints a terrible abstract painting which Archie almost drops on the ground... until Jughead stops him, saying "come on, Arch, let's not be so corny!"
    Jughead: You fall, smear the painting, it gets hung upside down...
    Betty: Of course! And it wins a blue ribbon!
    Jughead: Right! this is real life, man! Stuff like that only happens in books!
    Betty: I'll bet I've read that story a hundred times!

05:27:59 PM Feb 12th 2014
edited by
    Web Comics 
  • Parodied by The Twisp & Catsby strips from Penny Arcade. You dare to criticize? Well, they're not ''for'' you.
    • Incidentally the gentleman cat is Twisp. Catsby is the demon.
      • Ironically, Twisp and Catsby are perennial favorites of both critics and vanilla fans alike.
  • Curator Vanderbeam from Starslip Crisis embodies this trope. Much of the art featured on the Fuseli was created by aliens, so it presumably makes sense to its native culture, but it's still incomprehensible to humans (For example, one strip features Vanderbeam waxing eloquent about a painting's brilliant use of ultraviolet light.) And there's also "The Spine of the Cosmos", supposedly the greatest artistic work in the universe, capable of driving those who truly understand it mad: it's a three-foot-tall, wiggly spike. When the strip's Big Bad paralyzes the Terran fleet with a broadcast of the spine in its proper context, Vanderbeam alone is unaffected — rationalizing that since he's only looking at a picture of the Spine rather than the Spine itself, its context was changed to "a metadiscussion on the commodification of power".
    • It gets better, even. Vanderbeam's plan to save the fleet is to recontextualize the artwork enough that it loses any meaning in the previous context, which ultimately culminates in an oddly artistic Rule of Funny Crowning Moment of Awesome: "Wear it like a haaaaat!"
      • Better-better: Cutter Edgewise, drunkard ex-pirate pilot of the Fuseli, normally displays a virulent disdain for Vanderbeam's standard methods of artistic assessment. Nonetheless, he unexpectedly comes to Vanderbeam's rescue when he should be paralyzed by the Spine. He alludes, in a mildly confused manner, that he was, in fact, paralyzed by the Spine, but when Vanderbeam was talking to himself about why he was unaffected, Cutter happened to be in earshot, and Vanderbeam's longwinded rambling managed to connect-in other words, once someone (unknowingly) pointed out the altered context of the piece, Cutter was able to shake off the memory or the effects or whatever of what he originally thought he was looking at.
    • Better-better-better; Note that Vanderbeam's justification is eerily similar to the standard interpretation of Rene Margritte's The Treachery of Images.
  • See this Loserz strip.
  • Lampshade Hung (and ranted against) in this (...and this... and this) Better Days strip.
    • And finally, in the context of the first link this. Mr. Naylor seems to carry a smidgeon of a grudge.
  • Usually not addressed in Boy Meets Boy, where Mikhael was an artist, but played around with a bit in a few strips, starting here, where he made a film of himself working in a coffee shop.
  • A running joke in Candi is that the title character's art professor always gives her low grades because her art is comprehensible.
    • Later turned around; he gave her lower grades not because her work was "comprehensible", but because she very rarely did anything outside of her own very narrow interests and wouldn't push her artistic boundaries beyond "Draw comics and anime art" despite being in a general art class. When he explained this to her, it cast a different light on his prior actions.
  • Weregeek shows how it happens and how it works. Yeah, roleplayers not tied to heroic style are pretty cynical people, don't ye know?
    Abbie: Art school... It all comes down to your Bluff check!
  • Flying Man and Friends is pretty incomprehensible as is, but incomprehensible art is mentioned directly in this strip.
  • For Bert in Sluggy Freelance, true art is... crotches. It probably amounts to the same thing.
  • In Broken Plot Device, Max goes on a rant about such so-called art, ending with "The naked."
  • Yorick in The Word Weary is an accomplished performance artist. Though his work is never shown (somehow it involved full-frontal nudity and a bucket of monkey blood), he states that after seeing his "bizarre, inexplicable piece, tomorrow will make more sense than any day that preceded it." He also states that his pieces are very well-regarded.
  • XKCD mocks the trope, taking the side that the emperor indeed has no clothes. It's a comic written with jokes about mathematics, physics, computer science, and similar hard science topics. ''Biology'' is the soft science of choice in the comic.
  • Parodied in My Milk Toof when Lardee makes some art for Carrot. ickle doesn't get it.
  • In Sandra and Woo, Larisa exploits this view to pass off three contradictory explanations of a painting.

     Web Original 
  • This Very Wiki has a page demonstrating this.
  • This website was once found on the /x/ paranormal board of the image board that must not be named. It started to get somewhat disconcerting when, after the date passed on the url, people started to feel exhilarating emotions. Besides that it is still incomprehensible.
  • Parodied by Felicia Day's song about art in Commentary! The Musical.
  • Parodied also by The Nostalgia Chick's review of Showgirls. The movie was so awful that it must be an art film. The Chick insists it's brilliant, even though neither she nor anyone else can understand it.
    • Also alluded to in her review of Freddy Got Fingered, where she notes Roger Ebert's theory that it might one day be seen as neo-surrealist dadaist cinema.
    "In fact the film has gained something of a cult follow and has a little bit of a renaissance based on the I-can't-tell-if-they're-being-hipster ironic belief that this film is a counter-cultural art piece. Not So Bad, It's Good, so bad it's art."
    • Oancitizen is driven mad by it (like everyone else), in part because he can't classify it—it has a coherent plot so it can't be dada, but said plot is so psychotic that it can't be anything else.
  • Confused Matthew makes arguments against this trope regarding his reviews of 2001, The Matrix sequels, and his dismissal of Baudrillard's philosophical body work as well as other "obscurantist" writings. Matthew tends to value to a work's "content" over everything.
  • In-universe example in Boatmurdered. For some reason, many of the engravings were of cheese or some other image of cheese. Yes, engravings of engravings of cheese. Blessed Are The Cheesemakers indeed.
    • On the other hand, many featured dwarves screaming, burning, and being killed by elephants, which are quite comprehensible commemorations of the many, many dwarves killed by elephants, lava, or the steam the lava created when it hit the water.
  • The Cinema Snob tends to look more favorably on exploitation flicks if they are pretentious and hard to follow (for instance, in his review of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, he beings to wonder if it's okay for him to like the film, considering how surreal and artsy it is).
  • In one episode of Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl, J's first date with White Jay ends with a spoken-word performance. One of the contestants starts talking about how she's not sure about "white chocolate" (white men) won't "make her chocolate brown pussy moan". J gets up and leaves after that one.
  • Are We Cool Yet? from the SCP Foundation universe. A group of reality-bending art terrorists who create dangerous and insane things for attention.

     Western Animation  
  • Parodied to an outlandish level by Edgar & Ellen — when a pile of prank supplies Ellen has assembled is mistaken for a sculpture by the twins' art teacher, they try to use this to mock the art teacher's pretentiousness and blindness to what actually has meaning with some of their pranks... but nearly everything they try is interpreted as further art by their target.
  • Parodied in (naturally) The Simpsons; when Marge takes art classes, her teacher is an overwhelmingly enthusiastic artist who has a tendency to shout "Marvellous! Another triumph!" when he sees the handyman giving a coat of paint to a stair rail.
    • Also parodied in "Mom and Pop Art": Homer gets all pissed off while trying to build a barbecue grill, then a modern artist sees Homer's construction, which turned out to be a pile of twisted junk and bricks held together with cement, praises it as "the greatest expression of anger and wrath ever seen by modern art", and soon Homer starts attracting entire crowds to art museums with his "conceptual sculptures". And just to make things worse, within 5 minutes the jury finds another "artistic genius", one of them says "I'd like to see something a little bit more... kitsch", and Homer reinvents his "art style" by flooding the entirety of Springfield.
      • What's even weirder is that when Homer tries to fake it, the art critics don't believe him.
  • In King of the Hill, Hank is appalled that his colonoscopy has become part of an artwork. Earlier in the episode, he tries to fix a television-based exhibit, assuming it was broken.
    • Later in that episode, we return to the exhibit, and the TV exhibit is still broken in the background, indicating no one noticed it was broken.
      • Or maybe they think it is even better.
    • In a later episode, Peggy becomes an artist but only gets attention from the art community when her works are exhibited as "outsider art" (read: art by crazy/mentally disabled people).
  • An episode of Doug has Doug taking an art class, where his dog Porkchop chases a raccoon across the back of his canvas and it ends up covered in paint paw prints. After Doug absentmindedly puts the canvas up backwards thanks to his crush Patty walking by, the prints become a sensation in the art world.
    • Later on the art critics ask him to paint something else but it is taken away from him after a single stroke; the critics declare the resultant squiggly line another masterpiece.
    • Amusingly, the real "famous artist" invited to judge everyone's paintings immediately declares Patti's painting of her grandmother to be the one he likes the most, saying that heart is what's really important.
    • Not to mention Doug's older sister Judy, and pretty much anything she and her classmates at the Moody School for the Gifted come up with.
  • Parodied in Pinky and the Brain: Brain tries to finance his plans by creating a new art movement... Donutism. Then he sees everyone else painting donuts. But later Pinky spits ink in the canvas, and the result is considered a genius work. And Brain turns him into an artist, "Pinkasso".
  • Dilbert took the engineer's method; he asked some people what they like in art and concluded that a picture of a big blue duck would satisfy everyone. He was right and Blue Duck monopolized the art industry. Not really incomprehensible but it didn't have any meaning.
    • Ended with an impassioned and amazingly deep speech about the true nature of art, whether it be simple pleasure to the greatest number or a way of humans to express their raw emotion in their own way. This being Dilbert, everybody gets bored after five words.
  • Parodied on Clone High USA. Joan of Arc has a secret crush on Abe, so she enters a movie into a film festival to show him how she feels. But, of course, the movie is such a confusing mix-mash of French art-house movie clichés that no one understands it (except, of course for clone Sigmund Freud).
  • In an episode of Arthur, Binky discovers that a piece of abstract art in a museum is hung upside down. At the end of the episode, the curator personally corrects it before a press conference.
  • In the Christmas Episode of Justice League, the Flash responds to an alarm from a modern art museum, and finds the empty building full of piles of scrap:
    The Flash: Whoa! Somebody did a number on this place.
    Ultra-Humanite: Actually... I hadn't even started.
    • And, of course, the Humanite is there to trash the place because it's full of incomprehensible art which offends his sensibilities.
  • 12 Oz Mouse is the embodiment of the childish scribble mentioned in the summary of this trope.
    • One episode was exactly the same episode as the week before, except with an extended drum solo.
  • Family Guy,
    • Newscaster Diane was in a short art film in college. Lint is in black and white and ends with a clown flipping a pancake.
    • Peter's version of The King and I.
    • Class Holes, the show that was originally Brian's "What I Learned On Jefferson Street". It was intended to be about a girl struggling through science class and learning more about her father, but network meddling turned it into a generic sitcom about a hot blonde going to college with her father and a monkey. When the executives kept trying to make changes, Brian decided that it was the last straw and quit.
    • Handi Quacks was a show created by Peter that the head of the network immediately wants to greenlight with one small change. Peter objects to the change, is granted full creative freedom, but still decides to quit, apparently.
  • In the episode "The Ultimate Thrill" of Batman: The Animated Series, a criminal named Roxy Rocket steals a priceless and fabulously critically acclaimed work of art that has just been bought by Wayne Enterprises. The picture in question is quite small, drab-colored, and consists of a red blob over several brown boxes.
  • In the Rugrats episode where they go to a craft & antique fair, Didi tries to sell her artistic bird houses with no success, until birds poop all over them. That's when a hippie couple come by and buy her bird houses, mistaking them for alternative art.
    • Another episode had the family visiting an art museum, where Stu is mistaken to be an art connoisseur by an art student after his comment that an exhibit of a soup can looked like somebody forgot their lunch, which, as it turned out, was the precise meaning behind it. Later on in the episode, he's describing more of his views to the breathless student, culminating in his description of the "Empty Wall" (a blank wall between exhibits). He comments to his wife how he loves modern art:
  • Lampshaded in The Iron Giant, when beatnik artist Dean has to explain to the Iron Giant which piles of metal scrap he can eat and which ones are his sculptures. Later, in order to discredit Agent Mansley and hide the Iron Giant from him, Dean drapes some Christmas lights and discarded road signs over the robot and passes it off as one of his sculptures.
    Dean: You came here just in time. This rich cat, some industrialist wanted him for the lobby of his company. Whipped out his checkbook right on the spot. I said, 'You get him for the rest of your life, but, what, I have to give him up the minute I give birth? Give me time to cut the umbilical, man'.
  • The American Dad!! episode "Lincoln Lover" briefly features an incomprehensible play about Abraham Lincoln, wherein an obese man dressed in underpants and a stovepipe hat tosses joints of meat around the stage while reciting advertising slogans.
  • Inverted on 2 Stupid Dogs, in the Super Secret Secret Squirrel cartoon "Chameleon". The titular shape-shifting art thief absolutely despises modern art, apparently because it makes his camouflage powers go crazy, which Secret uses to his advantage.
  • There's the South Park episode with the independent film festival. Cartman famously criticizes indie films as all being about "gay cowboys eating pudding." Such a movie is indeed one of several weird films we see when Stan and Wendy attend the festival.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Wacky Deli", Ralph Bighead ends his cartoon series Meet The Fatheads (Based on his own parents) so he can leave animation to create what he believes is true art (Without keeping in mind that masterpieces are subjective). He finds out he has to create a new animated show to get out of his contract and has Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt create it, hoping their lack of experience would result in a messy disaster that wouldn't get past a pilot episode. However, Wacky Delly, the show they create, turns out to do the complete opposite. Ralph stops at nothing to eradicate what he believes to be nothing but popular schlock that's ruining his chance to be a "serious" artist, but his sabotages only make the show inexplicably more popular. Rocko convinces him that as long as it's his own creation, its art and Ralph finally puts passion into it. It soon has jumped the shark, people hate it, and it gets cancelled. Ralph then declares he will show them true art and spends the next several years sculpting his "masterpiece", a gigantic still life of a bowl of fruit. Even then, he learns that people still remember him not as an artist, but as the guy who "ruined" the "Wacky Delly" show.
    • This episode becomes even more Hilarious in Hindsight with the popularity of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, an absurd and poorly animated cartoon about talking food that has become the longest running show on [adult swim].
    • In "Junk Junkies", Heffer adds his "G.I. Jimbo" to the items that Rocko is selling to pay his debt to the pizza guy. Rocko says that no one will want to buy it, since the figure is broken and melted "after surviving eight tours of duty on the kitchen stove". However, one customer says he must have it and offers $500 for the brilliant masterpiece... which happens to be just enough to pay off the debt.
  • On one of the few occasions where Linda sees what her sons Phineas and Ferb have built, Phineas, Ferb, and Candace had gone somewhere else, so Linda didn't realize that it was Phineas and Ferb who built the contraption.
    Linda: (Looking at the contraption) I'll never understand this modern art.
  • Comes up, appropriately, in Dan Vs. "Art." Dan's car is painted and covered with plastic frogs by a famous artist, which the crowd lauds as a masterpiece. In order to take his revenge, Dan and his friend Chris sneak into the museum and vandalize the artist's latest show, but this is hailed as a stroke of genius. In the end, Dan finds that the artist uses a slot machine-like device to tell him what to make, and when he tries to expose him, the artist's art factory winds up destroyed. This inspires the artist to make a simple statue of Dan (title "Unnamed Jerk"), but the same crowd who loved the car claim the statue "doesn't mean anything," and they walk away.

04:39:02 PM Jul 3rd 2016
Here's a thought, could we maybe rework the page as In-Universe Examples Only? Because there's objective uses of it, e.g. the various Calvin and Hobbes parodies.
03:49:49 AM Dec 19th 2016
Fully agree.

This trope is frequently slapped onto any art that the troper happens to not understand, when surely it's supposed to apply to situations where somebody deliberately makes art that is difficult (but not impossible) to understand. However, no art is so clear and comprehensible that there isn't someone out there dumb enough to fail to comprehend it. People will fail to get jokes if they don't share the same sense of humour as the joke-teller.

Therefore, I think this trope needs warnings that it shouldn't just be used to flag up any art that the troper doesn't get. Nobody is smart as they think they are, but it has been demonstrated that dumb people are more apt than smart people to think themselves smarter than they really are; and when some people call art 'incomprehensible', nine times out of ten it's just because they happen not to understand it.

This is not always because they're dumb. The context for understanding the visual arts has changed a great deal over the past 100 years and contemporary art now can't in general be appreciated without knowing a little about what the artist was trying to do. There's nothing wrong with this; it's just that most people don't go to galleries or have art education. Within the wacky world of contemporary art there is still art that is brilliant and exciting, and art that's routine and dull (YMMV on who's what, just like in any medium.) It's just that people who don't have the contextual background see it all as incomprehensible. Some people think that all classical music is boring, but that's a more contentious attitude because taste in music tends to be broader than taste in art and a lot of people like at least some classical music.

So I strongly recommend In-Universe Examples Only. It would require a lot of work taking this trope off pages where people didn't like the art, but I do that anyway.
07:20:36 AM Oct 22nd 2013
Oh wow, this must be the shortest page in Tv Tropes.
10:41:06 AM Dec 11th 2013
Yeah, there used to be examples but they got removed.
10:42:56 AM Dec 11th 2013
10:31:34 PM Jan 21st 2014
Laconic doesn't count.
11:22:01 AM Mar 1st 2012
I'm a little confused. Is this for in-story examples (like, say, a character or plotline that expresses or satirizes the sentiment in the trope's name)? Or is it more for actual incomprehensible art? Or both? The trope description seems to imply the former, but examples of individual incomprehensible works of art are in the examples.
04:16:07 PM Jun 25th 2012
It seems to me that there should be two tropes. One for works featuring art that is deliberately portrayed as being incomprehensible, and a separate YMMV trope where people can list works that they think are incomprehensible.
09:51:40 AM Sep 6th 2010
It says that only Real Life section proves how this is Truth in Television. Thing is, shouldn't all examples where the work itself is incomprehensible true art count as proving this. It's about what people think, so if a TV producer/director/writer makes a show that's incomprehensible as "true art", wouldn't this count just as much as a painter making an incomprehensible picture as "true art"? Since this is about real life thoughts and opinions of people. I'm not suggesting to move everything into the "Real Life" section, only that stuff in "Comic Books", "Live Action Television" and so on should count as proof of this subject's truth-ness since it shows what the creator of the works believe regards to the trueness of art.
11:04:58 AM Jan 31st 2012
edited by Lenoxus
I think the trope description should be reworded to make it "zeroth level". In other words, this trope is simply when art (in the real world) is incomprehensible and people seem to like it for that. It's not when art in a work of fiction is incomprehensible; instead, that's an in-universe example. If a work of art is itself "humorously inomprehensible", that might be a parody. If a work of art is incomprehensible but points this out to its own audience, that's a lampshade. Most of the page examples are written along these lines — instead of in a way actually matching the current description.

(For example, a "parody" of the trop under the trope's current description would be making fun of the idea that snooty artists like making incomprehensible art, not making fun of the art itself. This parody would serve as a defense for the modern art that people think is just confusing for its own sake.)
09:46:04 PM Aug 9th 2010
I don't know whether the current page picture, "The Lights Going On and Off," deserves to be called art, but it is definitely striking.
07:34:28 PM Sep 3rd 2010
I don't know, I just keep on expecting Uboa to appear.


Stupid Paranoia Fuel game. Now I can't sleep...
09:38:50 PM May 25th 2011
Based on what I learned about the nature of the sublime, I'd say it is, though whether it's award-winning material or not is not for me to decide. In the light, everything is visible, and nothing incites imagination. In the dark, shadows prevent people from seeing everything, and forces them to fill in the gaps with their imagination, making something that would be mundane in the light become greater than itself in the dark.

Or, I'm just running off at the mouth again.
03:03:17 AM Feb 3rd 2013
At first I wasn't a fan, but after a little bit of looking at it (and possibly a couple Jack & Cokes), it seems pretty interesting. For me it's all about the door: In the darkness (read: sadness/despair), the door (opportunity?) is a beacon of light (hope?); but in the bright light (read: good times), the door (the same opportunity) just looks like a blemish/distraction on the far wall (future). I have a feeling that the whole Death of the Author paradigm is in effect (it's all about what the viewer brings to the piece rather than the author's intent).

The point is: a piece of art (and, though I like it, I use the term "art" lightly) that attracts attention and discussion may not be the best picture for this article. I think that some works from the style (and I use the term "style" loosely) of "found art" might be better suited for this, since those are even more completely about the interpretation of the viewer, making it even more difficult for any two viewers to see it the same way.
04:22:01 AM Jul 21st 2010
I came here to add the game Passage to the list, but it was already there; so I'll just comment.

I read about the game at the debate whether or not a video game could be art, so I downloaded and ran it - and this is what I saw:

You just keep walking to the right along changing "scenery" and listening to music that even 20 years ago would have been called "poor and annoying". Alternately, you can go down and explore the "maze" of squares and collect treasure (that doesn't seem to do anything); for some reason, if you get the girl, it makes exploring nearly impossible. (Supposedly, your character dies after five minutes [and the girl some time before that]; I got bored WAY before finding out.)

Everybody seems to comment how deep and artistic the game is; it probably does have some kind of a deep meaning, but I just don't get it.
08:27:04 AM Aug 30th 2012
edited by MrUnderhill
We did a demo of that game in our Game Design class. Basically, it's one big metaphor for real life, represented in game mechanics instead of narrative.

The playable area slowly shifts from left to right as your character gets older, even if your character doesn't physically move, as if to show the constant, irreversible passage of time. Having the girl make it harder to explore represents how having commitments keeps you from doing whatever you want. And the treasures not doing anything is because the enjoyment you get from a treasure is only fleeting; at the end when you grow old and die, you can't take them with you.

Not the most exciting game out there, but I didn't think it was too hard to grasp.
09:36:21 PM Mar 20th 2010
Would Wacky Delly be considered this?
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