Survival interventions in GTA: on the limits of performance in virtual environments

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The subject of survival in virtual environments has emerged as a potent site of critical and artistic intervention in video games. Influenced by traditions in performance art practices, in particular the critiquing of socio-political power systems through the radical, performative use of bodies, many artists effectively use existing game platforms to address conflicts at the intersection between the individual and system. This essay explores the performative affordances of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game worlds as a research tool, subject of critique, or theatrical stage. Though survival is difficult to address successfully in virtual interventions, the trope of survival as coded in game environments can be mobilized by virtual performance artists to address problematic limits and constraints dictated by the algorithmic systems framing gameplay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages12
JournalVideogame Art Reader
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Video games
  • Game art
  • Media theory
  • Performance
  • Violence
  • Survival
  • Dgital art
  • Machinima


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