Growing up when the console wars between Nintendo, Sega, Sony and later Microsoft made me keenly aware that I was seeking out not the most entertaining system but the most ‘realistic.’ I became aware of the term “The Uncanny Valley”, originally described in 1970 by Dr. Masahiro Mori. He proposed that as robotics moved closer and closer in their abilities to replicate humans in all ways, we would see a drop in their acceptance immediately before and surrounding the crossing this reality threshold, before eventually becoming acceptable again. He termed this phenomenon the “uncanny valley.”
Utilizing a Sony PS4 and the game Grand Theft Auto V, I submersed myself into the uncanny valley of Los Santos. These images are captured in a documentary style throughout the large ‘sandbox’ style gameplay with the characters’ phone camera. I have printed them with archival methods in the darkroom to add permanence to an image originating from what is normally an impermanent medium. The interplay between this analog output of a digital source by means of the documentary photo style are key in this work. Although this game is not the most realistic in terms of graphics currently available, it is close enough to be confused with our reality upon first glance. In that way the images serve as markers, but to what at this point isn’t clear. Maybe it’s just the beginning of the trip through the valley, or the turning point, when we begin to accept what was once maybe too ‘uncanny’ because at this moment we still create and control it.