Art Criticism | Art Theory | Philosophy
I love him who throws golden words in advance of his deeds and always performs more than he promised: for he wills his own downfall.
Thus spoke Zarathustra
VIDEOGAME ART: VOLUME I
"Because some lies are worth living"
In Alex Kierkegaard's Videogame Art
, art criticism arrives at its peak, at an unimaginable height above the venality and nihilism of so-called "contemporary art", and the interminable chatter of inferior critics and pseudo-theorists on whether or not advanced artforms can "be art". Kierkegaard sets all of that pitiable drivel aside here as he plunges into five decades of genuine modern art, from early masterpieces such as Spacewar!
(1980), and Civilization
(1991), to Grand Theft Auto III
(2001), Far Cry
(2004), Dead Rising
(2006) and beyond, analyzing each one with a set of unmatched aesthetic rules and an instinct seemingly clairvoyantly in tune with the essence of art, as he examines, documents, and even predicts the efforts of the greatest contemporary artists to outdo each other in the creation of startlingly strange, ruthlessly challenging, hauntingly beautiful, and above all irresistibly seductive illusory worlds.
| Coming August 15
VIDEOGAME CULTURE: VOLUME I
"Only the skilled may live — the rest will die"
In this highly eccentric collection of essays Alex Kierkegaard conducts a penetrating analysis of the principles of
virtuality and its underlying logic. Combining a matchless knowledge of the history of electronic gaming with a firm
grasp of philosophy, psychology and computer science, Kierkegaard delineates, demystifies and clarifies virtuality's
key concepts, all the while debunking the abortive theories of his arch-nemeses: the pseudo-intellectuals and the
artfags. Witty, sarcastic, funny, and boundlessly malicious, Videogame Culture
presents the world with the
definitive answers to all of virtual reality's most fundamental problems.
| Sample Chapters
ON THE GENEALOGY OF "ART GAMES": A POLEMIC
"Then did the gods make resolve and ordain unto men
destruction, that in after times too there might be matter for song"
Odyssey, Canto IX
In On the Genealogy of "Art Games"
Alex Kierkegaard shows, not merely that videogames "are art", but
the highest art that could ever possibly exist. Patterned after Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals
three essays that comprise this extraordinary book trace the history of the decline of the various artforms as a
consequence of the rise of democracy, and their subsequent hijacking and debasement by talentless money- and
fame-craving thugs to compensate for their sheer ineptitude. In a parallel account, Kierkegaard unfolds the evolution
of art as a function of scientific and technological progress, defining art here for the first time as "the craft of
illusion", and pointing towards immersion and complexity as the key concepts for its understanding, before tearing
apart all competing theories of art in terms of pathetic "messages" and "meanings" and uncovering what lies beneath
the shallow moralistic chatter of journalistic hacks and pseudo-academics — the fundamental message
of the universe.
Far from merely a study of the art of videogames, as a superficial reading would suggest, On the Genealogy of "Art
is the definitive analysis of the history of art: and of its future.
| Sample Chapters
VIDEOGAME CULTURE: VOLUME II
"Everything is motivated by fear of loss and lust for power"
Is there such a thing as a "serious" game? Or are games by their very nature forever condemned to remain "merely"...
playful? And how can we define the concept "genre"? or "cutscene"? or "grinding"? or "meta-" and "mini-gaming"? And
what conclusions can we then draw from all these definitions? And what is the connection between videogames and
simulation? or violence? or ethics? or "social responsibility"? And what about motion sensing? Or accessibility and
innovation? Or retrogression and decadence? And what is so special about gambling as a form of gaming? And can
videogames ever hope to arouse powerful emotions? And if so, what would it take for them to accomplish this? And is it
even actually desirable? And can the entire range of possible game designs really be reduced to a handful of schemas of
button presses? And what about taste in games? Is it really something that can be acquired, and if so how? And to what
extent? And what, finally, can be the only definition of "a better game"?
These are some of the questions Alex Kierkegaard assails in the second volume of his extremely influential collection
of essays on videogames and virtuality, bringing to bear on them the entire formidable analytical prowess of philosophy
and contemporary science. Is it any wonder then, that none of them survive?
| Coming June 25
ORGY OF THE WILL: A PHILOSOPHY OF THE FUTURE
"The days of the book-philosopher are over"
In this work of absolute genius, after two and a half thousand years of progress the path of philosophy arrives at an
end, and the intellect at last draws, one by one, its ultimate conclusions. Apocalyptic, uncompromising and merciless,
Orgy of the Will
constitutes nothing less than a declaration of war on the so-called "human species".
UNDERSTANDING THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL
"I accuse myself of ... having sinned by omission of references. Amen."
Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories
Dubbed by academics and cultural commentators as "the exterminating angel" for his relentless and ruthless deconstruction of contemporary subhuman theories, Jean Baudrillard was the twentieth century's greatest philosopher, and among the top five or six minds this planet has yet seen. But he was contaminated by the slave society he despised, and his blatant obscurantism and systematic failure to acknowledge his intellectual debts betray a man who is deeply conscious of the inferiority of his contribution next to those of his great masters. The result has been two generations of academics scratching their heads, producing mountains of toilet paper, and understanding nothing. But now the comedy is over, as Alex Kierkegaard squares off against "the great obscurantist", analyzing key passages from every one of Baudrillard's more than forty works, taking them apart line by line, and showing, in one brilliant passage after another, how Baudrillard's philosophy is at bottom "merely a pessimistic reimagining of Zarathustra's vision", and Baudrillard himself "a modern Schopenhauer, who carefully read, almost profoundly understood, and then perverted Nietzsche".
| Sample Excerpts
UNDERSTANDING THE ANTI-CHRIST
"You highest men my eyes have encountered! This is my doubt of you and my secret laughter: I think you would call my Superman — a devil! Your souls are so unfamiliar with what is great that the Superman would be fearful to you
in his goodness!
Thus spoke Zarathustra
Friedrich Nietzsche may have been the Anti-Christ, but Alex Kierkegaard is the Devil, and he has at last decided to descend to Earth and explain to mankind his son's vision. In a universe where chance events produce fate, effects precede their causes, and sons beget their fathers, only an "absolute genius" can steer mankind through a future rife with the violence of ceaseless struggle, and the beauty of infinite possibilities.
| Sample Chapter