The pistols, submachine guns, rifles and sniper guns reconstructed in paper by Motta and Lima were taken from several popular video games commonly known as shooters, a fairly wide subgenre of action games in which the avatars use some kind of weapon. In their turn, the guns featured in these games are digital renderings of actual popular firearms, most of which can be associated with a specific conflict or country. As well as making fairly accurate replicas, in-game weapons designers usually attempt to emulate the functioning of real guns to create a more realistic experience.
Motta and Lima have hacked the games in order to extract the original 3D files, which were then transformed into 2D files that were subsequently printed and assembled as life-size paper models. Arranged on the gallery wall in the style of a traditional gun collection, from a distance these pieces resemble real weapons, as their three-dimensionality gives them volume and ‘weight.’ But as visitors approach them, it becomes evident that these are only reproductions, as the polygonal simplification and the pixellated quality of the game files have been maintained.
This series addresses the complex issue of how perception is affected by technology, raising the question of whether virtual experience is any less real than what is experienced in the ‘real world.’ The link between exposure to video game violence and aggressive behaviour is a contentious subject that has been widely debated over the last decade. Brought back into the physical world, these weapons seem to regain— albeit temporarily—the gravity they have in the real world.
Other work by Leandro Lima et Gisela Motta in this exhibition: Alvo
Leandro Lima and Gisela Motta were both born in São Paulo, in 1976. Between 1996 and 1999, they studied Visual Arts at FAAP in São Paulo, and since then they have been working in partnership. Their solo exhibitions include Sob Controle (2009) and Vivendo at Galeria Vermelho in São Paulo (2006) and Foreign Element at HIAP, Helsinki (2007). Their recent group exhibitions include the 10th Havana Biennale, Havana (2009), We Used to Be Painters at Plan 9, Bristol (2008), I/Legítimo at MIS, São Paulo (2008) and Aktuelle Videokunst aus Brasilien at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2007). Motta and Lima were artists-in-residence in the UK for a three-month period in 2008 through the Artist Links/ British Council program. In 2006, they were awarded the prestigious Marcantonio Vilaça Prize and they also won the Incentive bursary at the Sergio Motta Art & Technology Awards in 2004.