The Sentinel Script by Georg Zinsler

Combining original photos taken by the author during guided tours of Chernobyl with stills from thematically related movies and video games, G. Zinsler’s “The Sentinel Script” is a mysterious sci-fi tale and a metaphor of the increasingly nebulous boundary between reality and entertainment. Deliberately referencing classic works of fiction such as “Roadside Picnic” by the Strugatsky brothers and Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”, as well as inspired by J. G. Ballard’s novel “The Crystal World”, “The Sentinel Script” plunges the reader into a multilayered narrative wormhole: while the images describe the activity of the visitors inside the elusive Zone, texts emerge like disruptive transmissions from another dimension, interfering with the visual sequence and its reading. “The Sentinel Script” is both a dystopian journey and a sarcastic reflection on the desensitization of our society.

The Sentinel Script - G. Zinsler - 2017 copyThe Sentinel Script - G. Zinsler - 2017 copy 2

all images © Georg Zinsler

2 x 26 Gasoline Stations

“Twentysix Gasoline Stations in Grand Theft Auto V” by M. Earl Williams, 2014

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screenshot of book spread as seen on, © M. Earl Williams

26 Gasoline Stations was a book and conceptual photography series created by Ed Ruscha in 1963. In my version I take a 4X5 view camera and point it at my T.V. screen while I explore the virtual world of Los Santos in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. This world is created to mimic the real world of California and most specifically the city of Los Angeles. As I visit this world from my couch I wait for something to catch my eye as familiar or visually interesting just like we do when we photograph in the real world. By relating back to this series of travel photographs but having the entire travel log take place in a virtual world of a video game; the work speaks to an idea of another reality in which we occupy and participate in simulated experience. When looking at a photograph the viewer receives visual stimuli of the mind that in return triggers a feeling that is most likely made up of an experience they may have had in the past. This process is not unlike the video game world that is created as an expression of an idealist reality, whose purpose is to provide you with simulated occurrences. This connection between these two mediums may be why the digital age has become so fascinated with them both.



“Twentysix Gasoline Stations” by Alan Butler, 2017


two page spread from book © Alan Butler

This work is a simulacrum of Ed Ruscha’s 1962 publication of the same name. The photographic panels in this version have been produced during drives around the city of Los Santos and Blaine County – the virtual world that makes up the video game Grand Theft Auto 5. Using out-of-the-box technology within the game, I have produced a version of the seminal photography artifact that accepts GTAV as an exploitable corporate reality, akin to the signs and images that make up our own world.


Russia posts video game screenshot as ‘proof’ of US helping IS (BBC article)

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Russia’s Ministry of Defence has posted what it called “irrefutable proof” of the US aiding so-called Islamic State – but one of the images was actually taken from a video game.
The ministry claimed the image showed an IS convoy leaving a Syrian town last week aided by US forces.
Instead, it came from the smartphone game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.
The ministry said an employee had mistakenly attached the photo.
The Conflict Intelligence Team fact-checking group said the other four provided were also errors, taken from a June 2016 video which showed the Iraqi Air Force attacking IS in Iraq.
The video game image seems to be taken from a promotional video on the game’s website and YouTube channel, closely cropped to omit the game controls and on-screen information.
In the corner of the image, however, a few letters of the developer’s disclaimer can still be seen: “Development footage. This is a work in progress. All content subject to change.”

source: “Russia posts video game screenshot as ‘proof’ of US helping IS”, BBC News – 14 November 2017,


Scapes: GT Sport Photo Mode

via Gamescenes:



Vladimir Rizov – Virtual Photography, Immersion, and Boundaries in Grand Theft Auto V

Vladimir Rizov: Virtual Photography, Immersion, and Boundaries in Grand Theft Auto V.

Photography is a visual practice that deals with the production of images. Images, be it digital or analogue, moving or still, are consistently framed in a particular material artefact. Furthermore, most perspectives tend to see the image as a singular, material final product that is deeply rooted in a teleological framework. However, such perspectives clearly omit the richness of the concept image, as this conference rightly raises the issues of materiality, multimodality, and mediality. In order to demonstrate the inherent multisensory aspect of an image, as well as its rootedness in a practice that is not necessarily teleological, I will explore instances of photographs taken in-game by Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) players. The element of virtuality in the game will reveal several aspects of the image. First, the disembodied element of virtuality poses an interesting relationship between image, medium, and the body (Hansen, 2004). This relates heavily to issues of embodiment and agency, where the two practices of photography and gaming meet. While gaming is widely seen to be concerned with immersion, photography can be conceptualised as a practice of seeing. Second, because images exist dependent on a medium, the contrast between the moving images of the virtual game world of GTA V and the still photographs created will provide opportunity for reflection on the concept of image in its multiple forms. As Vivian Sobchack writes ‘electronic presence has neither a point of view nor a visual situation, such as we experience, respectively, with the photograph and the cinema’ (2000: 151). However, what happens when the third person experience of GTA V coincides with a POV use of a virtual camera? As Galloway points out, shooter games already have expanded the ‘definitional bounds of the subjective shot’ (2006: 63), but the POV use of a virtual camera seems to not only be expanding the experience of the virtual world, but simultaneously questioning it; both allowing for further immersion and potential detachment from the in-game world. This is particularly interesting, since games are widely considered ‘an active medium’ (Galloway, 2006: 83) that involves a player’s physical input and multisensory experience. However, while Galloway claims that ‘the primary phenomenological reality of games is that of action (rather than looking, as it is with cinema in what Jameson described as “rapt, mindless fascination”)’ (2006: 83), the case of virtual photography in-game problematizes this by converging action and seeing into a singular experience.


International workshop: Screen-Images (Bildschirmbilder) – In-Game Photography and Screenshots as Photographical Praxis

July 6-7, 2017 in Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (ZeM), Potsdam (Germany)
Starting from the phenomenon of In-Game Photography this workshop investigates the status of the screenshot as a photographical genre which includes but is not limited to computer games. Both, Screen-Photography and In-Game Photography belong to a number of everyday photographical practices that are performed within the digitally produced realities as well as the digitized realities we inhabit and which are largely mediated via screens and screen-like surfaces. Amongst those practices are the so-called “screenshotting” in computer games (e.g. in order to document unusual in-game events and to share those), photorealistic captures of digital 3D models (as they often occur in architecture or design contexts) or, much simpler, the screenshot as a form of camera-less photography. In addition there exist hybrid cases such as photography in augmented realities (which most recently became popular through the smartphone game Pokémon Go (2016)), screen captures with real cameras in artistic contexts, and the creation of screenshots of digital photographs in the computer. Eventually, in the history of “real-world” photography exists a significant amount of photographs which show 1) tv or computer screens, 2) billboards showing photographs of real physical screens and 3) photographs of photographs which are held in hands.
Such practices and phenomena have hitherto rarely been subjected to scientific investigation. There is a considerable lack of aesthetical, cultural, technical and historical analyses as well as a lack of theories and theory production in relevant disciplines. The goal of the workshop is hence to describe screenshot-like practices and phenomena and to ask questions regarding the status, the ontology, the aesthetics, as well as the cultural and artistic significance of such phenomena and practices. The workshop thereby intends to investigate the potential of a new subject area for future research from the perspective of media studies, media aesthetics, and media history, as well as image studies, photography theory and game studies.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
10:00 Winfried Gerling and Sebastian Möring: Welcome und Introduction of ZeM and DIGAREC
10:30 – 11:15 Stephan Günzel: From Screen to Screen – A Dislimitation of the Photographic Image
11:15 – 12:00 Birgit Schneider: Framing the frame – media mimicry from a historical perspective
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 14:15 Sebastian Möring: Artistic In-Game Photography and the Conditional Image of the Computer Game
14:15 – 15:00 Cindy Poremba: Constructing through Creating: In-Game Photography
15:00 – 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 – 16:15 Margarete Pratschke: The Materiality of Screenshots. Historical Screenshots as Photo-Objects and their Role within Visual Culture
16:15 – 17:00 Marco de Mutiis: Photo Modes – sketches for a post-photographic apparatus
17:00 – 17:30 Hans Kannewitz: How to Frame Screenshots of Operating Systems – On the Arrangement of a Collection

Friday, July 7, 2017
10:30 – 11:15 Jan Distelmeyer: Using Depresentation. Observations on/by Desktop Movies
11:15 – 12:00 Winfried Gerling: The Schirmbild – The Long and Short History of Screenphotography
12:00-13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 14:15 Matteo Bittanti: tba
14:15 – 15:00 Markus Rautzenberg: Ways of Vanishing. Ludic Mediality in Computer Games and Photography
15:00 – 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 Final Discussion/Outlook
This workshop is a collaboration between Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (ZeM,, Digital Games Research Center (DIGAREC,, European Media Studies (EMW,, University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FHP) and University of Potsdam (UP). The workshop is supported by Potsdam Graduate School (PoGS).
The workshop is organized by Winfried Gerling and Sebastian Möring.
The workshop takes place at Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (ZeM):
ZeM – Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften
Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 4
14467 Potsdam
Approach/Site plan:

Expected at the Noorderlicht Photogallery

Expected at the Noorderlicht Photogallery

8 April – 25 June 2017

What is real, what is artificial? The border between the two is beginning to fade. In the visual language of the advertising industry, the border between real photography and digitally calculated models is almost indistinguishable. This also applies to the film industry, where CGI (computer generated imagery) seamlessly blends with physically recorded footage. Furthermore, the fulfilment of the promises of VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and AI (artificial intelligence) is just around the corner.
It’s becoming somewhat of a challenge to distinguish between images that represent reality and images that depict reality. This theme lies at the heart of the exhibition: a Simulacrum stands for a simulation that takes the place of the reality it stems from.
As this technological development progresses it also becomes more accessible. What until recently was only reserved for prosperous studios now lies within the reach of individual artists. Everyday computers, game consoles, and even smartphones are so powerful that they are able to work with increasingly lifelike CGI models.
Noorderlicht shows nine artists who are fascinated by this development. Some of them manoeuvre through computer games with a virtual camera, like real reportage photographers in a virtual reality. Others construct their own images from scratch, revealing to us a new world that is barely distinguishable from reality.

The participant artists:

Mathieu Bernard-Reymond – Interruption (FR)
This series exposes the process of creation. The calculation process that enables these landscapes to come to life is repeatedly interrupted; the half-completed images are merged with one another. A fictional landscape becomes visible in this way, where the mathematic polygons of the calculation process still filter through.

Justin Berry – Videogame Landscapes (US)

Berry’s landscapes resemble nature as seen through the eyes of classical masters. In reality, he scours video games in search of the scenery behind the game, which he saves as screenshots. His final photorealistic images emerge as a collage of the manifold details that he captures in this way.

COLL.EO (Colleen Flaherty & Matteo Bittanti) –  Fregoli Delusions (US/IT)
These videos originate from games, however they ignore the drivers and racing cars that play the leading role in them. The extras are given central stage instead. What is it like to be a character without a role, in the hallucination of the game? A Fregoli Delusion is a medical delusional disorder, which revolves around the illusion of repetitions and double identities.

Eelco Brand (NL)
Brand’s work is an artificial reflection of a tangible world. He researches the possibilities of 3D software in photographs, videos and objects. Nature is a recurring theme, fluctuating between deceptively realistic images and fiction with an absurd take. This exhibition shows several of Brand’s photographs and videos.

Roc Herms – Study of Perspective / Postcards from Home (ES)
Herms sees an analogy between Grand Theft Auto V and the work of Ai Wei Wei. Both are controversial and take a critical look at modern civilisation. The rebellious and anti-authoritarian “Study of Perspective” by the Chinese artist is recreated here in GTA V. Also exhibited is “Postcards from Home”, a photobook about Herms’ virtual adventures in the world of Playstation.

Gerhard Mantz – Landscapes (DE)
Upon first sight, these landscapes appear realistic and enticing. However, take a closer look and they turn out to be alienated, imaginary realities. Mantz uses abstract calculations; his models take archetypal spaces as the base to build out from. New memories are created, which are about universal emotions rather than specific places.

Robert Overweg – The End of the Virtual World /  Flying & Floating (NL)
The world of a virtual game is not round but flat, with a hard edge at the end. Overweg examines the fringes of video games. What does the end of the world look like? Is a casual scene able to surprise us with a new view? And if he diverges from the well-trodden path as a gamer, a surreal landscape of malfunctioning software appears.

Alan Warburton – Assets / Spherical Harmonics (GB)
Individual 3D objects can be purchased for commercial use via online stock libraries. The series “Assets” presents these kinds of objects as photographic still lifes in an isolated, context-free setting. “Spherical Harmonics”, a film commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery, takes the viewer on a journey through the virtual worlds that can be constructed with these objects.

Rob Wetzer – Lost Worlds (NL)
The gamer is invited to venture into a journey of discovery through pristine territories. The 3D designers behind these kinds of landscapes make frequent use of the ideal images embedded in our collective consciousness. It is an idyllic image of unspoilt nature, which in its artificiality stands as a symbol for the contact we have lost with real nature.