Nearby a middle-class suburb in Southern California is a simulated battlefield designed for entertainment, but that ultimately serves to reinforce a cultural complex of persistent conflict and detachment from the corporeal horrors of violence and war. As youngsters suit up, load weapons, and get briefed for the afternoon mission, I assumed the role of conflict journalist to chronicle an event that blurs the lines between soldier and civilian, journalism and art. In serial photographs of the players, a look inside the game, and the gestural impacts that are left behind, the ramifications of this enterprise are exposed for critical review.
At this confusing time in our advanced history, it is imperative that we pay more attention to our societal failures relating to gun violence. We can direct our gaze at the disturbing systems that facilitate and sensationalize a mentality of ongoing bloodshed. While these games might be passed off as weekend fun, arenas like these push beyond the realm of innocent play. Each of the participants is a son or daughter that is learning at a young age the sensation of an adrenaline spike caused by the being in, or placing your adversary in, the crosshairs of a deadly weapon.