Game Art: Joseph Delappe's Elegy: GTA USA Gun Homicides (2018)
Joseph Delappe's new project - developed in collaboration with Albert Elwin (coding) and James Wood (consultant), Elegy: GTA USA Gun Homicides, is a self-playing version of Grand Theft Auto V that - starting each midnight CST (Central Standard Time) - reenacts/recounts/represents the entire body count to date from January 1st 2018 in-game.
In other words, the project visualizes real life gun-related homicides in the United States of America though the filter of a video game. (As NRA fanatics love to say, "Guns don't kill people, video games do.")
Each daily update represents - in a graphic, literal way - the body count reported by a gun violence website. The next day, the program scrapes the new data and starts again, in a perverse Groundhog Day-sort of way, while "God Bless America" - both the original version by Irving Berlin (1918) as well as Kate Smith's iteration (1938) - plays in the background. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the composing of this song.
"From the mountains
To the prairies To the oceans White with foam God bless America My home sweet home"
As the camera slowly recedes - a peculiar "kill cam" - all is left on the screen is trail of blood and agonizing avatars. Launched on July 4, 2018, Delappe's intention is to run Elegy 24/7 until July 4, 2019.
The message is clear: in the US, everyday is The Purge.
Joseph DeLappe is Professor of Games and Tactical Media in the Division of Games and Art (School of Design and Informatics) at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland. He's also a bold, daring, and uncompromising American artist.