why don’t the cops fight each other? is a 2-channel video about an attempt to modify the relationships between police officers in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V. The game itself is comprised of an absurdly detailed urban simulation that allows the player to navigate the city in thousands of modes, but as the title suggests, the player is encouraged to do so as a criminal. The backdrop against which these actions are performed include massively complex urban systems, including taxi drivers, ambulances, wildlife, commercial flights, and a police force that acts as an antagonist to the player’s goals.
This work examines the “modding” scene for GTA, a community of people and tools that enable modifications to the game world. While these mods are almost limitless in scope, Earle discovers one property that is completely immutable: the police will never fight each other. Through an exhaustive forensic analysis of the game’s source code and engagement with mod developers, the artist shows the extent to which the cultural imaginary concerning the police is projected into the game space.
* Continuing his work from previous fellowships at Pioneer Works and Media Art Exploration (New York City), Earle is expanding his existing research on this subject into a multi-channel video installation to be featured at the Digital Art Festival in Taipei.
Grayson is here with the support of a grant from Media Art Xploration (NYC) for artists working with Artificial Intelligence systems.