Why Don’t the Cops Fight Each Other
2-Channel Video installation
Why Don’t the Cops Fight Each Other? is a 2-channel video installation about an attempt to modify the relationships between police officers in the popular video game "Grand Theft Auto V." The game is a detailed urban simulation that allows the player to navigate the city in myriad ways, 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 engages 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 officers in the game 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. The artist asserts that the elements of the game which are immutable reveal the underlying political assumptions of the simulation.