Academic Forum

Who’s afraid of Art? - Perception in videogames*

Date: Time: 12:45 Location: GZ 110, Goossens Building (Tilburg University)

This edition of Who's Afraid of Art? will be all about gaming and our perceptual experience. We will discover more about this through an interesting workshops by Nathan Wildman and Nele Van de Mosselaer. Of course, we’ll also be playing some videogames! (language: English)

Time: 12:45-14:30 hrs.
Admission is free. See also

Who's Afraid of Art?

Who’s Afraid of Art? is a series of events during which the psychological side of art is being highlighted. Not only will we be introduced to theory on the topic by scientists or experts in the field, but we will also experience what art does to ourselves. During previous editions, different topics like Cosplay, Mindfulness and Virtual Reality have already come along.

Whos afraid of Art'? - Perception

Sacred Geometry: Optical Illusions within Videogames

Nathan Wildman (TiLPS, Tilburg)

The visual arts have a rich history of visual deception. The use of vanishing points and skewed proportions allow two-dimensional paintings to suggest an illusory depth, and green screens/manipulated film speeds play with our sense of space and time. The master of (visually) illusive media is videogames. As well as incorporating the same tricks as movies and paintings, videogames are capable of entirely unique forms of visual deception. This deception not only makes their worlds feel more real, but also highlight a level of ingenuity that rarely receives the praise it deserves.

In this talk, Nathan Wildman will explore various forms of visual deception and optical illusions that occur within videogames, especially cases of forced perspective and ‘impossible’ geometry. In particular, Nathan will argue that these optical illusions serve an important (occluding) epistemic role for players, they do something entirely different for player-characters. This is because, within the game-world, these ‘illusions’ are in fact veridical.

Designing Broken Walls / Breaking Designed Walls: Fourth Wall Breaks in Videogames

Nele Van de Mosselaer (University of Antwerp)

In literature, theatre, and film, the breaking of the fourth wall is defined as a practice in which the invisible, imagined wall separating the fictional events and characters from the audience is broken down. As a result, interactions can take place between fictional characters and the fiction appreciators, and these appreciators become involved in the fictional story themselves.              

In this talk, Nele Van de Mosselaer will discuss fourth wall breaks with specific reference to videogames. At first sight, this metafictional practice is inherent to videogame play: after all, players are always in some way involved in the fictional story, and, by use of input devices, interact with the represented fictional events and characters. This is a direct consequence of the double nature of videogames as both games (challenges) and fiction (representations of fictional worlds). As such, games have both “metagame” and “metafictional” elements. Focusing specifically on the metafictional elements, Nele will discuss three kinds of fourth wall breaks in games: unintentional ones, which are a result of technical malfunctions in the game (glitches), designed ones, placed within the game by its developers (such as easter eggs), and player-induced fourth wall breaks, specifically caused by an experimental use of the game by its players (such as cheating).


This event is an initiative Academic Forum, and study associations Animo, Sapienta Ludenda and TSEA Link.

Contact: Ingemarie Sam (Academic Forum)

*This event may count for students Tilburg University towards the Academic Forum Certificate.