FuturLab’s Bullet Proof Definition Of Art


Since the dawn of time the arguments have raged – what exactly is Art? The question has become especially vexed over the last few decades as Computer Games have burst onto the scene and demanded a slice of the Art pie.

We’ve managed to nail the answer once and for all, thus ending centuries of debate, and are modestly prepared to share our findings with the world.


“Art is the profoundly satisfying experience that happens between an artefact and a person experiencing that artefact.”

– FuturLab, 2013


  1. Note that an ‘artefact’ is defined as anything man-made, so it doesn’t just mean physical objects such as paintings or sculptures. It includes Photography, Product Design, Architecture and performance activities such as Dance.

    Definitions of artefact include:

    “Anything man-made, such as a spurious experimental result.”


  2. Note also that ‘satisfying’ doesn’t necessarily mean pleasurable. It means the satisfaction of criteria defined by the individual experiencing the artefact. That criteria might be ‘shock me’, ‘provoke me’ or ‘show me expression of the artist’ as much as it might be ‘stun me with beauty.’

Art is therefore an experience that takes place inside the human mind, and is not a physical object.

Art vs Entertainment

Is a non-argument. They are one and the same, with the only perceived difference arising as a result of the relative distance between them along a scale from Shallow (a one-liner joke) to Profound (Danny Boyle’s 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony).

Some of the most satisfying games, films and books slide up and down this scale to hit as many points as possible.

Some of the most effective game designers, film directors, comedians and writers create work that slides up and down this scale to hit as many points as possible.

If you consider something to be Art, then you have experienced it, and therefore it is Art for you, and perhaps you alone.

Great artists profoundly affect millions of people, but Art is found wherever you choose to find it.