Installation / 2 Channel video projection / Speakers / HDV / 33’ / 2011
Grafenwöhr is the biggest US army training camp outside the United States. The camp, comprising a total area of 276km2, was set up under the Kingdom of Bavaria and has been US property since 1945. It lies within a nature reserve, public access is prohibited. Soldiers stationed at Grafenwöhr usually undergo a three weeks training before being sent off to Iraq or Afghanistan. At the same time, students, unemployed persons and other German nationals are employed as extras at the training area. For three weeks, they are supposed to act the part of Arab civilians to assist the soldiers in their training.
The accounts of two former extras build the backbone of “Setting”. The recordings that I made with the extras are reinterpreted by an actress. This voice-over creates another shift in which realities, staging and facts, which have been transferred to different arenas, reappear. Attention is therefore focused on the actual starting point of this “staged war in Bavaria”.
These shifts are also present at the audio-visual level. I worked with sound designer Daniel Hug on the narratives of the extras. We created a soundtrack containing references to films and war films, and the different sounds associated with these. The sound manufacturing process is filmed with static video cameras in the radio play studio, in order to allow sound, in its visual form, to take centre stage. This provokes questions about staging and realities.
These video recordings are assembled as a rhythmic image composition and installed in the room as a dual projection, alongside the audio track. However, for a large part of the narrative, no pictures are visible. The sound fills the whole room and the video images appear unexpectedly at various dramaturgical points in the narrative.
There are two versions of the installation; one in German and the other in French.
With support from the City of Bern Cultural Department, Canton of Bern Cultural Office and the Migros Cultural Percentage. TPC – Technology and Production Center Switzerland AG, Basel and the Département Cinéma / Cinéma du réel at Head, the Geneva University of Art and Design.