I was struggling to envisage a Rodney King computer game. Initially, one would be confronted with an interface asking you to choose one of two options, to be a Controller or to be a Transgressor. However, in response to your privileged position as custodian of the system, the role of Controller is set as a default, whilst transgressor is ghosted and inactive.
As the game opens on the first level you are alerted to the fact that your system has been infiltrated by a rouge ‘virus’, which you perceive to be crammed with transgressive algorithms. The ‘virus’ is moving at high speed along a communications bus, and you fear for the security of the cherished resources and privileged information stored in discrete locations elsewhere in the system. In response to this perceived threat you dispatch a series of devices programmed to ‘protect and serve’ and this level of the game develops into a scenario of cat and mouse. The object of the game at this point is to apprehend the ‘virus’, and to return it to the part of the system which has been labelled the ‘Trashcan’, a location within which all redundant, inconvenient, unsightly and transgressive elements are deposited, out of sight and out of mind. Once the ‘virus’ has been apprehended, this stage of the game is complete, and you are at liberty to move on to the second level. The second level of the game borrows elements from ‘Street Fighter II’. However, as the controller you have up to eight agents at your disposal, arrayed against the single transgressor. The object of the game is to determine an adequate response to transgressive gestures on the part of the ‘virus’. If for instance, the virus raises itself to an angle of 20 degrees or greater, you are presented with a choice of options ranging from administering a swift blow to the side of it’s head with a long handled baton, shocking it with a electrified prod, or placing your heel onto the back of it’s neck. This stage of the game is over when the ‘virus’ either assumes a position of absolute passivity, or lapses into unconsciousness,
On the third level of the game, you are confronted by the uncomfortable knowledge that the tactics employed on level two have been scrupuIousIy Iogged in the systems memory, and you
are caIIed upon to defend your choice of responses as measured against the perceived threat to the system posed by the transgressive ‘virus’. If you succeed on this level, if you are able to
create an argument which sufficiently demonises the transgressive ‘virus’ and amplifies the danger which it potentially posed to the continued smooth running of the system, then you are at liberty to play another game.
- Keith Piper, a British multimedia artist who began as a sound artist, he now creates interactive and video installation works throughout the world. For example, he recently participated in the Havana Biennial,representing Britain and is a featured artist at the upcoming Video Positive, UK. His work considers black masculine subjectivity through medic imagery.
Full text p.232-235