My work explores how we engage with the immersive virtual reality of the online video game. The images are constructed using a combination of traditional photography and the 3D modelling techniques of the video game industry. But instead of portraying the escapist fantasy sought in the online world they reflect the more mundane nature of the player’s everyday life and the moment when the real and virtual worlds meet, and where the protagonist is aware of his real life role and responsibilities.
Unlike the vicarious narrative of a movie or novel, the first person immersive involvement of a computer game and an online virtual world enables us to participate emotionally and socially in an alternative dimension to our familiar physical life. The participant can enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling virtual existence free from many of the pitfalls and uncertainties that can make real life so stressful. Personal friendships made “in world” or in character in the virtual environment can be just as real and emotionally meaningful as those made more conventionally and it could be argued that the anonymity that many games provide creates an environment where the player’s true, core identity is exposed.
The images often reference traditional staged and documentary photography both in terms of composition and subject matter as I intend the series to key into the visual language with which we are familiar whilst exploring a reality which is alien to many.
“Massacre of the Innocents” references Peter Paul Rubens’ painting of the same title from 1611-12 and was made in response to the banking crisis that led to global economic recession. Investment bankers ultimately “playing” with the fortunes of ordinary families as if their jobs were no more consequential than a video game.