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GTA V's Los Santos Sans Textures Is Beautiful, Melancholy

Los Santos in grayscale - 01

Ever wondered what Los Santos, the setting of Grand Theft Auto V, would look like if you stripped out the game’s textures, replacing them with shades of black and grey?

Wonder no longer, because artist Kim Laughton has done just that. More images below the fold.

Laughton’s work is part of’s Flanetrie exhibition, hosted at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China. The exhibition is based around a modern post-internet spin on the concept of ‘Flânerie’, as explored by French poet Baudelaire: “to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world”. The act of walking and experiencing metropolitan environments, their architecture and their citizens, is probably the most basic way of explaining it. If anyone wants to have a stab at a better Cliff Notes summary, be my guest: it’s a long while since I read any Baudelaire et al.

These manipulated images give a completely different impression of Los Santos. With colour and inhabitants stripped away the city looks drab and desolate, evoking loneliness and melancholy. I can’t imagine Rockstar making a GTA game that centred around urban themes that reflected this re-interpretation, but it’s interesting to imagine what they would do with a city like, say, Detroit, with its empty and abandoned factories and buildings – the sad result of industrial closure, economic downturn and widespread foreclosure.

Let’s hope for a mod that can replicate this once the PC version of GTA V finally launches in 2117.

Anyway, enough of my words. We’ve reproduced all the images below, but larger versions can be found alongside the work of other artists on the exhibition’s site.

Los Santos in grayscale - 02

Los Santos in grayscale - 03

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Los Santos in grayscale - 09

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Shaun Green


Writes music, book and film reviews at Writes about videogames at Plays guitar in Occasionally sleeps.

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