Necessary Fictions is a book and multimedia installation exploring American "state-created realities." What are stories we are told, the games we play, to manage unsettling realities? How are fictions deployed and embraced, and to what end? What happens to a society that cannot discern fantasy from reality?
Photographs and sound document 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—during immersive realistic pre-deployment training scenarios.
My book layers photographs with other materials to ask larger questions about the blurring of fact and fiction in American life.
Short films act as case studies exploring what happens to a militarized culture that can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality:
- Pineland/Hollywood is a 10-minute experimental piece about a traffic stop in which discerning fact from fiction becomes the difference between life and death.
- Jade Helm is a 15-minute fair-use found-footage documentary about what happened when entire Texan communities mistook wargames for an actual invasion by the U.S. military.
Production supported in part by a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, a Leica Women Foto Project Award, a
Speranza Foundation Lincoln City Fellowship,a Harpo Foundation visual artist grant, and a Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellowship.
Shortlisted for the 2019 & 2020 Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award and the 2019 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant.
Fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).