While we often see the evolution of artists working in old media, ever-shifting technical terrain tends to obscure videogame makers' aesthetic trajectories. In Thatgamecompany's pathbreaking and gorgeous games for the Playstation 3, we get the rare chance to watch these artists at work against a fixed technological backdrop
Artists' aesthetics evolve and deepen over time. You can see it in their work, as immaturity and coarseness give way to sophistication and polish. In most media, an audience witnesses this aesthetic evolution take place within the most mature form of that medium.
Between 1930s and the 1950s, for example, the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko's work evolved from mythical surrealism to multiform abstractions to his signature style of rectilinear forms. Different motivations and inspirations moved Rothko during these two decades, but at every stage of his artistic career, the painter's work could be experienced as painting, as medium on canvas. As flatness and pigment on linen.
Likewise, the contemporary American novelist Ben Marcus has explored his unique brand of experimental fiction in three novels, and his style and effect have changed and deepened as his writing career has progressed. Marcus's 1995 novel The Age of Wire and String uses a technical perversion of English that the author coerces into fantastic and nearly inscrutable tales of rural life. The 2002 follow-up Notable American Women refines his semantic surrealism into a more legible narrative, but one in which language itself remains untrustworthy. And in this year's Flame Alphabet, Marcus reaches a new summit, a book in which language kills from the inside out. Once more, an artist births and refines experimental style, but carries out that evolution within the standard form of the art in question: the offset-printed hardback book.