Training the eye for war: A politics of spatial fictions

Author(s): Licha, Emanuel


Fort Irwin National Training Centre is a United States Army facility situated in the Mojave Desert in California used for training soldiers before they are deployed in various conflict zones. Simulated environments, such as mock Iraqi or Afghan villages, are used for this purpose. In this essay, I consider the use of fiction in preparation for reality, but also as a means to augment and orient it. Looking at how three different groups of users are moving about this training facility, namely the soldiers, the role players, and the journalists, I discuss its function as an optical device that is used to frame the experience of each of these groups. This framed experience is not only bound to this camp, as it is prolonged and has repercussions outside of it as well – and this is how the real gets influenced by the fictionalised reality of the camp. I look at historical examples of creative fiction in politics to show that the deceptive strategy that was at stake then is what differs fundamentally at Fort Irwin. The last section discusses Mirages, a film on this training camp that I directed, and the role that the images from this film play in producing a critique of the image, acknowledging the fact that they participate in the dissemination of a framed vision of war.

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Licha, Emanuel: Training the eye for war: A politics of spatial fictions. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 6 (2017), Nr. 1, S. 145-166. DOI: 10.25969/mediarep/3382.
 author = {Licha, Emanuel},
 title = {Training the eye for war: A politics of spatial fictions},
 year = 2017,
 doi = {10.25969/mediarep/3382},
 volume = 6,
 address = {Amsterdam},
 journal = {NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies},
 number = 1,
 pages = {145--166},
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