Operation Urban Terrain

Anne-Marie Schleiner

Evening of August 28, 2004
Midtown: 5th Avenue & 45th Street (10 - 10:15PM)
Harlem: 125 Street & St. Nicholas Avenue (11:15 - 11:30PM)
Dumbo, Brooklyn - To view call 212-206-6674 ext. 2 on 8/28 for location (1 - 1:20AM)

Photo © Anne-Marie Schleiner

Supported by the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund Challenge to the Field Award and Creative Time.

Popular military simulation games move out of game space and onto the streets of New York when Anne-Marie Schleiner and her team project the violent and realistic imagery of war onto building facades. Operation Urban Terrain (OUT) is a one-night live-action intervention of online military games played out in public spaces by art activists using high tech gear, strategy, and humor. The work will be presented in New York on August 28, on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

Schleiner and her cohort, clad in futuristic military garb designed by the artist, will be on the street carrying a projector and a laptop. They will be connected through a mobile wireless bicycle to an online team of five game players located in various global locations. The team intervenes on servers in a popular online military simulation game with performance actions—simulated grenade suicides, propaganda, playful and absurd dance performances. The revised game will be projected live onto city buildings, and they can be viewed at the sites or through web cams on the OUT website.

OUT takes its name from MOUT – a military term for Military Operations in Urban Terrain.
Infiltrating and masquerading as games, some military simulation computer programs, such as the popular “Full Spectrum Warrior,” are marketed to civilian players and training them in MOUT combat. “Simulation games implicitly express certain ideologies of their makers, and the war games are particularly telling of how the American government’s power structure is upheld through military intervention,” states Schleiner.

OUT confronts the dual reality of these “games,” raising important questions about their social implications and underscoring the danger of blurring boundaries between what is entertainment and what is “real.” OUT also critiques the increasing militarization of civilian life that has been implemented since 9/11, from The Patriot Act to surveillance of private and public spaces to the increased powers assumed by the military. Ultimately, it challenges the U.S. Army and Pentagram computer game developers to get OUT of the minds of civilian gamers.

View Images and documentation of the project here.

Watch video footage of OUT here.

Please join Creative Time for a lecture by the artist at Postmasters Gallery on September 2, 2004 at 7.30PM. Postmasters Gallery, 459 West 19th Street

For more information, visit the project website Operation Urban Terrain.

This event is presented as part of the Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues & Ideas. www.imagine04.org