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Chapter 7. Towards a Critical Aesthetic > A Theory of Virtual Worlds

A Theory of Virtual Worlds

It's all very well for me to make these pompous assertions that serve to glorify my own position. Unfortunately for me, it takes more than slapping a pretentious label on something to make it art[5]. Art may be expression, but it's worthless unless it can be recognized as such. People don't have to know what a piece of art “means,” but they do need to know how its meaning is conveyed. This requires the development of a critical aesthetic[6].

[5] Exception: If an established artist slaps the label on, then it is art.

[6] I apologize unreservedly for the pretentiousness of this term. Regrettably, the alternatives are even worse, so we're stuck with it.

Motivation

A critical aesthetic is a system of ascribing meaning to individual examples of an art form. When formalized, it amounts to a theory for that art.


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