As a site of collective image production of fictional policing, television is a repository of public knowledge reproduction depicting state-sanctioned mythologies. In Casting Crime, I investigate the production of contemporary fictional crime television dramas in collaboration with aspiring actors that work as non-union background extras on NBC’s police procedural television show, Chicago PD. Together, we interpret the archetypes of cinematic crime genres and embody desires for representation, reimagining our roles in this city and proposing alternative stories for the screen. In an ongoing workshop and performance for the camera, I ask the actors to interpret this minimal set to explore the question, “who do you want to play?”.
Through a process of exchange, dialogue, and community building, this collaboration activates the voices from the background to disrupt the power structures of the lens, bringing into focus the stories and desires of people that lend their labor to plotlines. Casting Crime aims to expose the fabrication of law-and-order ideologies and host a space for counter-narratives and dialogues around internalized systems of power and representation.