Infiltrators

Infiltrators is an installation that takes its cue from the common police
tactic of infiltrating riots to spy on and eventually arrest rioters.
On display is a series of sketch-like drawings of known police
infiltrators. Spanish law prohibits showing or using photographs of
police infiltrators—despite the fact that they operate in public and
thus can be (accidently) photographed—by anyone documenting the
riots, because the authorities believe such actions will compromise
the infiltrators’ safety. The distribution of photographs of protestors,
however, is not illegal. The outfits worn by the police infiltrators are
based on standardized or stereotyped “models” of rioters that have
permeated the cultural imaginary for many years. On the wall are a
series of framed engravings of rioters from the end of the nineteenth
century that gives a historical perspective to the production of such
models. The engravings connect with a video that deconstructively
demonstrates software used by the contemporary gaming industry
to sculpt characters, including “bad” ones such as rioters. The video
shows how the workings of the software mimic the ways in which
traditional sculptors shaped their material. Another component of
the installation features sketches of rioters from games, as if they
were sketches from classical sculptures or simply sculptures in their
own digital right. In a montage of clips from the Internet, a second
video shows how these models are applied to game action that depicts
violent confrontations between police and public. The clips are
juxtaposed with footage of actual confrontations, encouraging reflection
on the relationship between what is happening in the game
and what is happening in the streets. The different material testifies
to the antagonistic construction of reality that the police and video
games take part in. But as documentary footage of rioters occupying
a building in Barcelona and raising a pirate flag on a rooftop reminds
us, the rioters themselves are constructing a different reality.

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