"Necessary Fictions is an arresting follow up to Cornwall’s Welcome to Camp America.”
— Suzanne Révy, What Will You Remember?
Necessary Fictions is a forthcoming book and multimedia installation exploring the performance of American power and identity in this militarized, post-9/11 era. In this time of perpetual war, constant vigilance, and political division, what are the games we play, the stories we are told, to manage unsettling realities? How are fictions deployed and embraced, and to what end?
1. Atropia documents desert villages and their inhabitants in the fictional country of "Atropia." Costumed Afghan and Iraqi civilians, many of whom have fled war, recreate war in the service of the U.S. military. Real soldiers are dressed by Hollywood makeup artists in “moulage”—fake wounds—for immersive realistic pre-deployment training scenarios.
2. Jade Helm is a found-footage short video about what happened when entire communities mistook wargames for the real thing.
3. Pineland, if funded, will be a collection of short films in several genres—or one experimental creative-nonfiction feature—reenacting a real-world incident in which distinguishing reality from fantasy became the difference between life and death.
Necessary Fictions was shortlisted for the 2019 & 2020 Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award and the 2019 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant. Production of this work-in-progress is supported in part by a 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, a Leica Women Foto Project Award,the Harpo Foundation, and a Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellowship.
Fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).