[ISEA2011] Paper: Hugh Davies – Weaponising Play


Recent disclosures of the CIA Funding Abstract Expressionism as part of a cultural battle during the Cold War have understandably changed popular perspectives on the art of that era. But such revelations also raise contemporary questions. With a similar ideological battle being fought today, and with arts funding ever shrinking while military budgets increase: in what ways might the creative industries be enlisted and even secretly militarised?

One certain approach that is being taken is through popular computer games.

Today, the U.S. Military is openly using the game “Americas Army” to recruit young soldiers. Although computer games are regularly demonised as being influences of school shootings in the US, in that same country, the military s employment of games for training seems hidden in plain view. The U.S Army itself readily admits that the game Americas Army is a propaganda device and is gladly considers it to be a cost-effective recruitment tool. It aims for the game to be to become part of popular youth culture.

This paper discusses the ethics and implications of militarising todays most popular entertainment format.

  • Hugh Davies is an artist, producer and is currently a PhD candidate in Media Philosophy at Monash University. He has presented and published papers on pervasive and alternate reality experiences and continues to research the uncertainty between reality and fiction in a range of immersive experiences. Hugh is the founder and Artistic Director of Analogue Art Map whose creative works have been widely exhibited internationally. Previously, Hugh has served as the Board Chair for the Australian Network for art and Technology, and worked as Regional Producer at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Television Multiplatform Division), where he won the Australian Teacher of Media Award for Best Digital Education Tool. Hugh continues to lecture at Monash and RMIT universities in Digital Media Arts and as a consultant with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Innovation Department.  analogueartmap.blogspot.com

Full text (PDF) p. 590-592