I have actually contemplated creating a postmodern third-person-shooter game where the main antagonist (that's right, you are a bad guy) holds an inverted bright plastic yellow gun that shoots cubical fireballs at mimes portraying venomous squirrels. The antagonist regains health through the proper appreciation of institutions of power, and gains ammunition by obtaining copies of Hegel's Phenomenology. The game is over once the mimes begin to portray themselves.
In any event, I take issue to the question of "What is art?" "Is there an aesthetic principle in this?" as this is a matter of cultural variations.
Almost any activity to which one devotes a considerable amount of time and effort inevitably portrays some kind of aesthetic principle to its participants. Even if that principle is absurd, cruel, irrational, primitive blah blah blah it is still an aesthetic principle, the person begins to enjoy it, or perhaps begins to hate it, or enjoys to begin hating it etc. - this is because of the aesthetic sense gained.
Thus discussing something qua art essentially discusses the affinity people have with the object; whether such interests manifest themselves in forms of institutions is yet a different story; while an institution of an art creates in itself a new aesthetic principle of power, it is not the same as its origin e.g. the actual art. An institution
of art is rather a support, a kind of grounding with the popular discourse, it reflects a kind of vitality and co dependence on other popular institutions, it is no more an explicit art for the sake of art, but rather art for the sake of culture, and culture for the sake of art.
A work of classic art in itself has this special status of being embedded into the institution of Art in itself, it is no longer a reflection of something else, but rather its own essence of discourse, it does not branch nor fringe, but rather commemorates its own existence qua Art. While perhaps at one point it was intended to represent a reflection of some sort, it now reflects upon itself and loses all relevance of aesthetic and controversy, it is its very own artifact, its own principle, and its own Art. Certainly its beauty is still there, its aesthetic principle, in itself has not been lost, but nevertheless it is in itself more of a status than anything else; it resonates Art, it resonates the Classic, it resonates Culture; it is an icon rather than a portrait, a postcard rather than a statue, and a soundbite rather than a composition.