to the fundraiser campaign
“An improvised bomb device detonates in a village. While no one directly claims responsibility, the attack is timed to go off when border patrol guards are in the village. These events could be part of a coordinated action against both the villagers and army troops deployed there to keep peace. How will the counterinsurgent forces respond to this escalating crisis?”
The above series of events were not taken from headlines depicting an international conflict. Rather, it is a scenario presented to a group of soldiers as part of a simulated counterinsurgency exercise, which the army calls COIN, (counter insurgency), protocol. Protocols are directives, guides and “how-tos” that present different scenarios that a soldier may face along with the “correct” response to each of these situations. The training exercises take place in facilities constructed to simulate towns or cities targeted by the country of occupation at the 29 Palms Marine Base in Joshua Tree, California.
I am interested in the texts, architecture and performative aspects of these training exercises as both social and physical theatre. The protocol’s text is used as a rough guide for the script; some parts I cut out while other parts I rewrote according to my own experience serving in the Israeli army. The architecture of the facilities is similar to the idea of the “Folly”: a dummy (carrier or container) of fiction, regardless of what the real truth is on the outside. Similarly, foreign policy handed down as written and spoken “protocols” ultimately becomes its own kind of theatrical language.
Performance has been always part of my practice. However, with this project I plan to challenge traditional conventions of theatre and performance by creating “exercises” based on series of rules without the larger expectations of an end 'result'. This series of exercises will be performed by the audience, which will assume dual roles in the process, as spectator and actor, as they both observe and create dramatic meaning. Protocol X will be presented by High Desert Test Sites from May 9 -11th in a remote desert location near 29 Palms. The “performance" will unfold over three days in the space of six individual Units, which will be constructed to simulate an urban village or training center. All of these exercises will be well documented and the footage will later become material for a full-length video.
I am thrilled to be so close to realizing this project. It is a very complex work of art, and is based on the voluntary participation of everyone involved. I have spent over two years researching, planning, writing and brainstorming the event, without any financial assistance. In the meantime, High Desert Test Sites has been working hard to raise funding for the project through grants, including a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts, the FCA Foundation for Contemporary Art and Artis. However, I am still missing the final $5,000 needed to cover the remainder of my production costs. These funds will go directly toward providing the rest of the resources needed for the many people involved.
With just 15 days left, I have a long way to go before reaching this goal, but with your help, I am excited to see this project realized. If you would like to know more and help support this project please check out my *Hatchfund fundraising campaign and consider making a tax-deductible donation today, (within any range from $25 and higher). you can find, special editions, unique rewards and selected works in return to your donation.
Thank you so much for taking the time and for your support.
All my best,