Abigial Collins, Out of Play, 2018, single-channel video. 21min
Out of Play In this video shots of military training exercises within Medina Wasl, one of twelve simulated Iraqi villages at San Bernardino County’s Fort Irwin Training Center, are interspersed with footage of film set fabricators working in a warehouse. Resonances emerge between special effect techniques of the Hollywood film industry and those employed for producing realistic enactments of military combat scenarios. Complementing these scenes are audio clips of interviews between the artist and an Iraqi role player at Fort Irwin. This role player performed the role of the police chief of Medina Wasl for eight years, living in character for each training session.
The next section presents a conversation between the artist and her father, an actor who has played military personnel in both film and television productions. The two discuss the evolution of his method acting techniques over several decades while clips from episodes of JAG, in which he appeared as the Secretary of the Navy, play on a computer screen in the Collins family home. In the final chapter, the artist’s father attempts to apply his acting strategies to a read-through of an official court martial transcript from Desert Storm. As the camera records him, he decides in real time how his recitation might account for the unknowability of specific words and phrases redacted by the Department of Defense.
- Text by Jeanne Dreskin
Abigail Raphael Collins is an interdisciplinary artist working with video, installation and photography. Her work troubles documentary, journalistic, and conceptual practices to reconsider relationships between media and systemic violence. She received her MFA from UCLA, 2015 and BFA from Cooper Union, 2009. Recent exhibitions include: Angels Gate Cultural Center, PØST, Torrance Art Museum, USC Station Gallery, and Yeosu International Art Festival. She is the recipient of the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, UCIRA grant, and a former resident at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon.