Published by Radius Books. Text by Sarah Sentilles, Makeda Best, Nomi Stone, Roy Scranton.
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.
Published by Radius Books. Text by Moazzam Begg, Fred Ritchin.
Welcome to Camp America is Brooklyn-based conceptual documentary artist and former civil rights attorney Debi Cornwall’s vivid and disorienting glimpse into the US Naval Station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—known as “Gitmo”—through photographs, once-classified government documents and first-person accounts.
The book gathers three series: Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play showing residential and leisure spaces of both prisoners and guards; Gitmo on Sale, depicting the commodification of American military power through gift-shop souvenirs; and Beyond Gitmo, investigating life after detention with 14 men once held as accused terrorists, now cleared and freed, living in nine countries from Albania to Qatar. Environmental portraits in the free world replicate conditions of military regulation photography at Guantánamo Bay: no faces are shown.
With unique construction in English and Arabic, the book seeks common ground while asking provocative questions about compromises made between humanity and fear in the post-9/11 era.