Art and violence. Why?
There may be better forums out there to bring up a topic such as this, but truth be told it is Bioshock that lead me to question it. That being the case, I feel that it should be Bioshock fans (and fanatics as the case may be, ) that I come to first.
I would like to start by giving MY take on what makes a product a piece of art. For something to be considered a work of art I feel that it must follow some guidelines.
• The first would be that it be the product of a conscious being, or group of beings. By conscious I mean to say that the being(s) is self-aware and is trying to portray an idea or belief.
• The second would be that this product would possess the ability to stimulate its audience intellectually.
• The third would be that this product would hold the power to stimulate its audience emotionally.
Now obviously what is and isn’t art can, and always has been, debated and broken
down to innumerable levels. My reasons for this thread aren’t to question the artistic world, however.
The question on my mind lately is what makes man want to portray and be affected by disturbing ideals? Different ideas and opinions surrounding subjects such as fear and morality have been around for ages. A look at past civilizations and their art and social structures proves this point. For as long as such subjects have been debated, so to have they been rendered through artistic means. Many of today’s artistic and entertainment genres are the offspring of such debates in some way or another.
Most appropriate for this thread would be the horror genre. What is it that makes people want to experience the violent and disturbing happenings within horror products?
My, admittedly ignorant, answer would have to be that the sane mind is curious about the insane. To be able to take the chaos of the insane and have it represented in an organized fashion is no small feat, and when accomplished correctly is amazing to experience.
What is your take on the subject, and your thoughts about the questions in bold?
Human curiousity is what makes failed utopias like Rapture so interesting. Ken Levine talked about it prior to the game's release. It is so fascinating to see how the ideals of all the major players in Rapture failed so miserably, and how the common person is affected by it.
For example, the "Saw Masha Today" audiodiary (Neptune's Bounty) is a prime example of how Ryan's vision of "Saving rapture" would tear a family apart.
As for why violence is so appealing, subjecting others to your unstoppable will (for good or evil) is very motivating in a video game. Especially when you have access to supernatural powers and exploding buckshot shells! The appeal really speaks for itself.
It's sort of like how a person wants to see a horror movie, take "Silence of the Lambs" people would not want to be like Hannibal Lecter. However, they are curious and interested in his odd views and are drawn to watching him because of that. It is the same with Bioshock, the description pulls them in, and the unique thing is, you are not watching someone walk down the dimly lit hall, you feel like YOU are creeping down the hall, wrench in hand, peering around the corner, terrified of that horrific laugh.
It's not a matter of violent thoughts in a game, it is only about being able to experience that horror, to feel how the hero feels, to place yourself into his shoes and feel like you are in that genuine situation. Some people may not agree but it is simply roleplaying, jumping into the game and living a second life.
Ah, very good question. It's in our instincts, has always been. We will always be animals. People think the time of Rome was horrible (gladiators etc) but the fact is that everyday we watch something as gruesome. The news sells them self on violence, think about it, what would you rather pick; something about how a family did get their family destroyed by a tornado in Alaska, or how three people were slaughtered in Sweden by Americans? We both know what will end up being on the first page. What about the fact that the "gore-porn" genre is expanding pretty much with movies like Saw and Hostel? And that games like GTA IV (overrated by the way) sell much, much better than Super Mario Galaxy? Humans are attracted to violence, it's disturbing but true.
Originally Posted by Intic
Exactly, we are still animals inside. We have the ability to control most of our primitive instincts, but not all the time. BioShock isn't wrong, It just manipulates those instincts in the right way.
By the way, I cannot seem to get Multi-Quote to Work correctly, can anyone help me with that?