PUBLISHER
Radius Books

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 7.5 x 11 in. / 172 pgs / 70 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2020 p. 93   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781942185697 TRADE
List Price: $55.00 CDN $77.00 GBP £50.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

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RADIUS BOOKS

Debi Cornwall: Necessary Fictions

Text by Sarah Sentilles, Makeda Best, Nomi Stone, Roy Scranton.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Debi Cornwall: Necessary Fictions.'

From the author of Welcome to Camp America, an eerie exploration of America’s performance of power and identity in the post-9/11 era

What are the stories we tell ourselves, the games we play, to manage unsettling realities? Made on ten military bases across the United States since 2016, Necessary Fictions documents mock-village landscapes in the fictional country of “Atropia” and its denizens, roleplayers who enact versions of their past or future selves in realistic training scenarios.

Costumed Afghan and Iraqi civilians, many of whom have fled war, now recreate it in the service of the US military. Real soldiers pose in front of camouflage backdrops, dressed by Hollywood makeup artists in “moulage”—fake wounds—as they prepare to deploy.

Brooklyn-based conceptual documentary artist and former civil rights lawyer Debi Cornwall (born 1973) photographs this meta-reality—the artifice of war—presented in the book with a variety of texts to provoke critical inquiry about America’s fantasy industrial complex. The book includes an essay by PEN Award–winning critical theorist Sarah Sentilles.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Debi Cornwall: Necessary Fictions.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Los Angeles Review of Books

Gregory McNamee

...It’s hard country to photograph, featureless and dismal even at the sweet hours of dawn and dusk, which makes Debi Cornwall’s aptly titled photographic suite Necessary Fictions all the more remarkable," with "well-written text that accompanies her arresting photographs...Cornwall has a clear penchant for exploring the uncivil nature of the world in which men and women are paid to 'hurt people and break things'...preparing for real hell by means of real make-believe. Novelist Ben Fountain calls it the Fantasy Industrial Complex, and Debi Cornwall’s book is an extraordinary chronicle of its Disneyland.

British Journal of Photography

Izabela Radwanska Zhang

...The images guide us through the narrative, the accompanying text builds on the already compelling attention to detail of these scenarios"..."the wealth of factual references–contracts, lawsuits and statistics–reflect Cornwall’s thorough, investigative method...

Debi Cornwall: Necessary Fictions

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/11/2020

Debi Cornwall's 'Necessary Fictions' makes for interesting 9/11 reading

Debi Cornwall's 'Necessary Fictions' makes for interesting 9/11 reading

Featured photograph is reproduced from Necessary Fictions, Debi Cornwall's new book investigating American military bases where role-players enact highly realistic training exercises in a fictional country called “Atropia.” Cornwall tells the following story. "In the years after September 11, an American friend of mine traveled for the first time to a Muslim country. Malaysia, maybe. Or Indonesia. He was awakened by the early-morning azan as muezzins around the city lifted their voices to call the faithful to prayer. It terrified him, he confided.
For all the mosques in the 'ville, I have never heard a call to prayer here. Five times a day, action does not stop. The faithful do not gather, wash, place their shoes outside, and kneel side by side to pray.
On my last rotation I encounter a fellow civilian, carrying a radio and a notepad. A consultant, he says. His job is to report back on how the scenarios play out, how realistic they are, where there is room for improvement.
'If the 'ville is a stand-in for Afghanistan or Iraq,' I ask, 'why no call to prayer?' 'Interesting,' he replies, nodding. 'That's a good idea.'" continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/11/2020

Debi Cornwall's 'Necessary Fictions' examines the secret world of American military roleplay

Debi Cornwall's 'Necessary Fictions' examines the secret world of American military roleplay

"Insurgent" is reproduced from Necessary Fictions, Debi Cornwall's new book of conceptual documentary photographs related to highly realistic role-playing exercises at American military training camps. A book that is provocative and fascinating in the revelatory strangeness of its subject alone, like all Radius books this is also a beautiful piece of photobook publishing, featuring copious supporting primary text materials, several deluxe papers, exquisite printing, a bound-in booklet containing transcript from a 2009 training exercise gone awry, and an envelope containing studio portraits of soldiers dressed for their roles as injured or deceased combatants. We learn that contemporary combat training includes not only exposure to "the visual stimulation of MST prosthetics," but scent oils that "simulate scents in the most unpleasant of scenarios." These include Decaying Flesh, Dead Body, Feces, Gunpowder, Burnt Flesh, Vomit, Urine and Car Bomb. Islamic prayer beads for Ramadan are sourced; authentic meals are cooked by Iraqi role-players; realistic remains are identified. "Cornwall's photographs demonstrate the paradox of this fictional mode," Makeda Best writes: "the photographs are not 'authentic' documents, but they are documents. They are documents of the fictions of this ongoing conflict and the fiction of photography as something that could tell us the truth about war." continue to blog


DEBI CORNWALL MONOGRAPHS + ARTIST'S BOOKS

Debi Cornwall: Necessary Fictions

DEBI CORNWALL: NECESSARY FICTIONS

Text by Sarah Sentilles, Makeda Best, Nomi Stone, Roy Scranton.

RADIUS BOOKS

ISBN: 9781942185697
USD $55.00
| CAN $77 UK £ 50

Pub Date: 9/1/2020
Active | In stock


Welcome to Camp America

WELCOME TO CAMP AMERICA

Text by Moazzam Begg, Fred Ritchin.

RADIUS BOOKS

ISBN: 9781942185314
USD $45.00
| CAN $60 UK £ 40

Pub Date: 9/26/2017
Out of stock indefinitely | Not available



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