Necessary Fictions is a forthcoming book and multimedia installation exploring the performance of American power and identity in the post-9/11 era. In this time of perpetual war, constant vigilance, and political division, what are the games we play, the stories we tell, to distract from unsettling realities? How are fictions deployed or embraced, and to what end?
Chapter 1, Atropia, documents mock-village landscapes in the fictional country of “Atropia” and its denizens. Costumed Afghan and Iraqi civilians, many who have fled war, recreate it 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.
Chapter 2, Jade Helm, is a found-footage short film about what happened when entire communities mistook wargames for the real thing.
Chapter 3, Pineland, if funded, will be a pair of short films simultaneously reenacting a real-world incident in which distinguishing reality from fantasy became the difference between life and death.
Necessary Fictions is a 2019 finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant.
Production of this work-in-progress has been supported in part by the Harpo Foundation, a Center for Emerging Visual Artists fellowship, an Outpost Artist Resources Cuts & Burns residency, the Puffin Foundation. and a 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in photography. Fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Tax-deductible donations can be made through NYFA here.