Fear and Loathing in GTA V

GTA V is a game where you fight and hustle your way to the top of the criminal food chain. But I went the other way, and took the spiral staircase down into the madness and despair that lurks in this elaborate artificial environment which became my playground for exploration.

The project is a manifestation of my growing worry in regards to virtual reality, as technology grows at an exponential rate, moral questions arise so complex that nobody are able to provide adequate solutions. This is where art comes into the picture and gives us a way to explore complexity that goes beyond our own understanding. GTA V is the most complex game/virtual reality ever made: it represents the zeitgeist and illustrates how fast everything is moving in the world today, which coincidentally made it perfect to explore a host of questions surrounding virtual reality that I’d been wrestling with for quite some time.

At the core we have the mind-body problem, the lack of physicality; when you immerse yourself in virtual reality your body is mostly rather stagnant. In contrast my exploits photographing nature are extremely dynamic, I’m on the move, fresh air in my hair, and it feels great. When I’m staring into the screen, I enter into a trance-like state after a while, and a growing despair sets in. This discontentment is what I tried to capture on a metaphoric level. A sort of virtual gonzo journalism emerged where I would influence the environment, if need be, to capture the abstract fear I was exploring.

Hunter S. Thompson based his idea of gonzo journalism on the notion by William Faulkner that “fiction is often the best fact”, this idea might seem counter-intuitive, but as any student of Joseph Campbell will know, it’s a timeless idea that goes all the way back to ancient mythology.

See the whole project here.