Here is what I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Replicants is a series of images taken within the virtual city of Los Santos. Released in September, 2013, Grand Theft Auto V gave players the ability to take photos of the world inside the game.
Considering how detailed and realistic the game is, I began treating the virtual streets, in the video game, the same as those in real life. The experience felt eerily real, yet the characters in these images are no more than lines of code employed to heighten the realism of the game. However, it seems as if these characters are aware of the fact that their existence relies on them being within my field of vision. Due to the game’s nature, the second the photographer turns a corner, the subject vanishes. These photographs depict an alienated, lonely, and brief existence.
The culture industry, it has been said, exists to keep us from thinking of our hardships: to keep us preoccupied with things other than our trodden lives. Nevertheless, if you dig deep enough, you will discover that entertainment is a direct representation of our realities, and reflects its melancholy. The simulacrum thus approximates our lives, and, in Replicants, I use this new medium to push against the far edge of the REal, while questioning its stability.
With this video, by pairing my photographs with the voice of James Nachtwey, I attempt to comment on the nature and validity of photography itself. The people Nachtwey, or other photojournalists, capture in real life, do not exist beyond the page of the newspaper or magazine they are featured in. The photojournalist’s attempt to shed light onto the horrors of the world is an admirable one, but it is very hard to have a meaningful press if the people don’t care. Although Nachtwey’s subjects physically exist, due to the ultra-mediation of images of this nature, they just become tokens in a game for someone else’s entertainment.