Grand Theft Bicycle

Funder: Canadian Foundation for Innovation / BC Knowledge Development Fund


Team:Steve Gibson (Northumbria University); Justin Love, Jim Olson (University of Victoria).




Timeframe: 2007-2017

Grand Theft Bicycle is a game-art installation that uses the kinetic interface of a bike, modified with sensors, to allow users to ride through a 3D “mod” of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The original game has been altered to include political leaders of various stripes. Choose between the roles of an insurgent, an invader or an onlooker. Ride through the chaos and join in on the hunt for the main targets: Donald Trump, George Bush, Obama, Tony Blair, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il (among others). Grand Theft Bicycle is meant as an ironic commentary on the connection between gaming and war, but it remains a heart-pounding shooter game that will let you vent your anger at the parties who are in command. Best yet through our revolutionary sensor-equipped bike, you can get rid of your flab at the same time. Grand Theft Bicycle (GTB) is part of a growing genre of “game art.” In short, game art uses the forms and techniques of commercial gaming, but inverts normally banal or uncritical gaming content to include critical, ironic reflections on issues such as the nature of violence in media culture. Grand Theft Bicycle borrows from game culture, but provides a new take on gaming in that the content is critical, satirical, and absurd in the Dadaist sense.

------- CoCreate members working on this project:

------- Publications related to this project:

Gibson, S. (2017). “Repurposed Interface, Repurposed Medium, Repurposed Content,” Proceedings of the 3rd Biennial Research Through Design Conference, 22-24 March 2017, Edinburgh, UK, Article 34, pp. 535-551. DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.4747036.


Gibson, S. (2012). “Dadaist Game Art and Absurdist Appropriation: Grand Theft Bicycle,Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus, Fall 2012 Edition: “Found, Sampled, Stolen: Strategies of Appropriation in New Media,” Vol. 8, Issue 2, pages 49-56. Web version: