Artwork #3 Intervention – Law Abiding Citizen (GTA)

by | Nov 10, 2017 | Artwork #3: Intervene, Projects

Documentation video:


About the Intervention:

So my intervention piece is based in the online world of GTA 5. In a world full of killers, robbers, explosions, lootings, street races, I decided to become a law abiding citizen for a while on a GTA online server. With that said, I drove my car around the city following the traffic laws. So I stopped when the light was red, I looked at the sides before cutting lanes, I got stuck in traffic, and most importantly I didn’t speed. Without any weapons to defend myself, I was left with the middle finger to give to players who followed me. Some of the players that followed me ended up killing me and destroying my car. I also walked around the streets, smoking cigarettes and drinking. I didn’t make my character run at all. Some players walked with me, but again some players just ended up killing me numerous times. Finally, after a few tries, I decided to drive to the airport and fly a plane like an actual pilot, following real world procedures. With that said, after my smooth departure, I ended up being shot down by other players. After flying, I decided to go on a long road trip down the highways of Los Santos with my truck. I ended the journey by parking at a diner and enjoying a nice meal there.

I thought this intervention was very interesting because in a world where all this violence happens, I decided to put some neutrality to that. I decided to play against the game rules and the game mechanics, to see how others would react, and to see what other gameplay experience I’d get out of that. It was certainly an interesting experience, a different one. I enjoyed it because of how others reacted. Some people laughed, some people didn’t care, and some people just followed along. Overall, I feel that this intervention was successful, because I was able to take this virtual world and modify it in a way.


I was inspired by many of the videos that we watched in class, such as the Youtube channel Improv Everywhere, and the use of the chat system in America’s Army. I thought it was really interesting to see how people would react to their interventions such as freezing in public, or lining up for a fake Apple store, or dressing up as BestBuy employees. By taking the usual everyday scenario and changing it, people were often shocked and confused, which was really funny to watch.

I was also inspired by the Youtube channels of LSPDFR and GTA Flight Crew. For LSPDFR, they enact different kinds of environments in the game with other players, such as escorting the president to the airport, cruising the city as police and fighting crime etc. They take the existing gameplay of GTA and modify it to give a different experience, thus really inspiring me to do my intervention. GTA Flight Crew is a channel that does realistic flying tips in GTA 5 with the planes in the airport. They follow real world procedures and try to implement those procedures in the world of GTA. Instead of flying like crazy, they fly professionally, thus bringing another experience to the aviation aspect of the game. Other games that have inspired by to do this intervention is Euro Truck Simulator, where you are required to drive to different destinations following proper road laws. So you could get fined for speeding, crashing, crossing red light etc. This game takes the conventions of driving in video games and takes it to another level. Finally, the mod of Atlas Life in Arma 3 was also a huge inspiration for mine. It is a mod that intervenes the combat gameplay of Arma 3. You play as a civillian and you can do all kinds of things like working, growing plants to sell, selling drugs, or joining law enforcement. Rather than shooting enemies, this mod brings a way different experience to Arma 3. Players live normal lives in the world, with laws to follow, in which they can get arrested and put in jail by other players if they break those laws. So the main inspiration for my intervention piece was how all these different examples intervene the existing gameplay, and modifying them to give different experiences to players.

I feel like many of Yoko Ono’s work, especially her scores in Grapefruit really create different kinds of interventions and have played a big role in the inspiration for my piece too. By instructing people to do what they wouldn’t usually do, things that were out of the norm, it really made her work unique forms of interventions. I think a good example is her “Walking Piece” in 1964, by asking the person to walk in the footsteps of the person in front in different places, it again really breaks the social norm and really changes the existing everyday scenario of walking on the streets into something fun. That piece is one of the many that inspired me to break the norm of GTA Online, to see how people would react, to see what experience I would get out of that intervention.