Sex Worker

Digital video (1920 x 1080), color, sound, 54′ 43”, 2021.

The work is both an autonomous part and an integral part of a larger project focused on investigating and documenting the routines of NPCs that began in 2020. Here, the term routine is not only understood in the sense of “technical programming”, but also as a dimension that lies parallel to and beyond our approaching, conceptualising and relating to virtual prostheses and simulacral identities. I have used – and I still use – three triple-A open world video games as a field of testing and investigation: Grand Theft Auto V (2013), Fallout 4 (2015), Rage 2 (2019). In this type of games, NPCs are interesting for a twofold reason: they represent a virtually real sociality and externalize different types of interstitial fractures with their pre-purposed function. They function – and conceptualise – not simply as a mere virtual counterpart of a simulated population, thus making explicit a real anthropological potential. What do NPCs do in their lives (expressed in seconds, minutes, hours)? Where do they go? In what way and why are their behaviours triggered that are opposed or complementary to the system that governs them? Are they subject to secret reactions and actions, or do they refer solely to their daily lives? And how is this supposed daily routine configured? In a way, their daily routines and our relationship with their existence are often no different from the ‘ordinary’ relationship between human beings. Take, for instance, the great subways: interfaces, screens and extras of flesh, bone, blood and synapses spurt – more or less quickly, more or less swirling – past each other without questioning each other’s wandering. Instead, from an exquisitely technical perspective, NPCs often demonstrate that they do not respond (or counter-respond, as the case may be) to the roles imposed on them by the system, while others seem instead to be seduced and subjugated in an essentially infinite loop-cycle. Sex Worker is the prolonged ‘pursuit’ of a prostitute in Grand Theft Auto V, a documentation of the behaviour of this type of virtualised identity subject. As such, it is (and is) invested with a series of rhetorics and idealisations. The work is inspired by both artistic theory and practice. On the one hand, the researcher W. J. T. Mitchell’s questioning of the will of images, their organicity and their being alive and vital. On the other hand, the performance-routine of the artist Vito Acconci in his Following Piece (1969). A final source of inspiration probably concerns the unspeakable: fractures, fragments, archives and cognitive and mnemonic collections that have guided my practice up to this point, and of which, perhaps, I remember nothing.