Configuring the Other: Sensing War through Immersive Simulation
This paper draws on archival materials to read two demonstrations of FlatWorld, an immersive military training simulation developed between 2001 and 2007 at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. The first demonstration is a video recording of a guided tour of the system, staged by its designers in 2005. The second is a documentary created by the US Public Broadcasting Service as part of their “embedded” media coverage of the system while it was installed at California’s Camp Pendleton in 2007. I critically attend to the imaginaries that are realized in the simulation’s figurations of places and (raced, gendered) bodies, as well as its storylines. This is part of a wider project of understanding how distinctions between the real and the virtual are effectively elided in technoscientific military discourses, in the interest of recognizing real/virtual entanglements while also reclaiming the differences that matter.
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