Would You Call This Art?

“Hapless soldiers in the future pointlessly defend a pointless box canyon on a pointless planet.”*

10356017_1458444537729372_6395907485079590954_n-720x403Red vs Blue is a science fiction, comedy web series produced by Rooster Teeth that began in 2003. The series follows two groups of opposing soldiers that battle over land, that is described as, “the rooster-teeth-medina-bregman-hall-hiresleast desirable piece of real estate in the known universe: a box canyon in the middle of nowhere” (Rooster Teeth). The series is a parody based on first-person shooter videogames, that started with Burnie Burns’ (the series’ creator) voiced-over gameplay videos of Halo: Combat Evolved. Since its initial release over a decade ago, the series is on its fourteenth season and  has been nominated for and won a variety of awards, including the Webby Award for Animation in 2013. Despite Red vs. Blue’s success as a web series, could it be considered art?

What is art?

There are numerous opinions on what makes good art but defining art is a little more difficult. There have been numerous uses for the word and its use has evolved, to the point where, “art [becomes]… offering to express a general human (i.e. non-utilitarian) interest… [by] independent workmen and skilled workers producing a certain kind of marginal commodity” (Williams 32). This means that art could be defined as a product that is created by individuals with the intention of appealing to others. This relates to Becker’s idea that, “art making lie somewhere between the extremes of one person doing everything and every smallest activity being done by a separate person. Workers of various kinds develop a traditional “bundle of tasks””(Becker 9). With this information art could be defined as a product created by an individual or collective with the intention of having a non-utilitarian or impractical interest for viewers. Does this mean Red vs. Blue is art?


scene from Red vs. Blue season 1 episode 7


With this concept of art in mind, Red vs. Blue could be considered art. Red vs. Blue is produced by Rooster Teeth and has a team involved in the creation of the web series. The individuals involved in the series creation, would be the skilled collective, have particular jobs to fulfill as writers/creators, directors, animators,  and voice actors and those tasks come together to create the final product. The series is also not intended for a practical use, it is intended to be viewed by individuals for their own interest. The individuals viewing the end product make the decision to view the series, meaning that the individuals are viewing because of their interest in the series. The series has a collective of individuals that developed it as a representation for viewers interest. Red vs. Blue may not be an obvious kind of art work but there are aspects of the web series, which arguably classifies it as art.



Becker, Howard S. Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.
Rooster Teeth. "Red vs. Blue". <http://roosterteeth.com/show/red-vs-blue>
Williams, Raymond. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Cary: Oxford 
	University Press, USA, 1985. 

*Rooster Teeth description of series.




10 thoughts on “Would You Call This Art?

  1. I’m curious, you say that there are aspects of the series that are considered art. What are the aspects you do not see as art? I like the structure of your argument and think the content is great. I also played Red v. Blue and had a hard time classifying it as art or not.


    • I also had a difficult time seeing Red v. Blue as art simply because of my on bias. Before the readings for this class, I would not have looked at the web series and said that it was art. I called the series art because it had the basic elements to fall under the classification. The aspects that I did not see as art was just the overarching content, but again that is only based on my own difficulty seeing the media as a form of art.


  2. I agree with you that it is art because it is made to entertain the viewer. I feel like even people who do not know Halo or even care for Halo can enjoy it. The collective action of the individuals to make the show also would make it art. Good blog.


    • Thank you! I was surprised at how entertaining I found the web series. However, I had a difficult time looking past the content of the series to focus on the elements that make it art. Did you have a bias, one-way or the other, when looking at the series?


      • I definitely do I love Halo always have. So I am bias but the show is funny and barley slips in any jokes that only Halo fans would recognize.


    • I think if Red v. Blue was turned into a live-action TV series, it would be changing the series’ form of media completely. With that change, Red v. Blue would no longer be Game Art. However, I do think it would be an entertaining show.


  3. Quotations at the beginning of your blog caught my eye, I knew it’d be a good read! Loved your quote from Williams, which concisely depicts an aspect of what defines art and you applied it very well to your game.


  4. Based off how you explain what art is I was surprised to find out that you sided with the web series being art. I feel like that using collective activity as a defense for art is tricky because it could be used to justify anything as art. Personally I would not consider Red vs Blue as art because first it’s using a Halo game engine for its production and second the shows only purpose is comedic entertainment, there is no deep emotional meaning behind it that the developers or the producer try to convey.


    • I understand why you would not consider Red vs Blue art; I also, initially, had trouble viewing the series as art but I have to disagree with your reasoning for not considering it. The use of the Halo videogames would be the medium of the work and not discount the series as art. Second, I do not believe art has to have a “deep emotional meaning” being conveyed for it to fall under the classification. I would classify Red vs Blue under the category of Game Art.


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