Explored in this body of work are several “Live Fire Villages,” which are desert hamlets/compounds, each containing five to ten structures, and the “Victory Village,” a cluster of buildings common to European towns. Live Fire Villages are constructed using shipping containers, often with concrete boulders forming the periphery walls. These structures represent primitive urban spaces with dwellings, businesses, and mosques. The grounds are covered with gravel to simulate arid desert lands of the Middle East. The containers are painted in earth tones. Often they are wrapped in life-size textures of adobe, printed on flex. The Victory Village consists of several cinder block buildings representing a bank, clinic, police station, school, church, motel, etc. These buildings are fitted with cameras, microphones, smoke machines, and loud speakers (emitting sound effects such as wailing women, screams, calls to prayer, barking dogs, and helicopter landings) to simulate, according to the Fort Riley Public Affairs office, “every imaginable combat situation.” The experience of these spaces is paradoxical and fascinating. On one hand, they offer a distinct (almost attractive) sense of place, characteristic of a tight-knit community, which can seem rare in today’s world. On the other hand they appear to be analog versions of the theater of violence, typical to many computer games.
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