Photographer wants to punch reality in the face with his Grand Theft Auto V project

by: Randy -
More On: Grand Theft Auto 4

[Correction: Benoit Paille used Grand Theft Auto V for this project, not GTA IV as I'd previously reported. - Randy]

Benoit Paille is a photographer. He photographs the real world. He photographs virtual worlds. And now he's crafted a project combining both called Crossroad of Realities.

Paille travels through Los Santos and the surrounding countryside in Grand Theft Auto V, then photographs his television screen during key environmental moments, like during rainstorms or when lightning strikes. He then photographs people's (real) hands using (real) camera equipment. Working with the same attentiveness he does with real-world photos, he then merges the two worlds into a simulacrum, with both elements blurring their respective realities. 

While Los Santos is a virtual construct, the imagery still exists physically on his TV screen (as opposed to, say, the video game's imagery only existing metaphysically on the TV). And while the hands and iPads and cameras that Paille photographs physically exist in his studio, he's worked them into a virtual construct of his own making.

Paille probably explains his project better than I do:

"Through my wanderings in the game, I observes the surrounding elements with the same look that I use in my artistic practice in the real world. I strive to demonstrate that photography is not a reality but a means to disclose a tiny part of our vision and perception of the world around us, and to show dissolution/fusion of phenomenal reality within virtual worlds. This series is also a response/adding to the proliferation of visual projects that take place in virtual spaces. It is a questioning about the notion of border and territory."

So what is real in Paille's photographs? Good question. That's exactly the question Paille is asking.