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    Fauxist Associated Project by Regrette Etcetera

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Fauxist Performance Lecture Costumes and Props (2013)

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on January 13, 2014

Regrette Etcetera “The Anthropocene Queen”. Character and props from The Fauxist International’s “Francinestein’s Emasculation Nation: Recent Fauxist Forays into Endocrine Disruptors, PostNatural Whiteness, Settler-Colonial Solastalgia, Transsexual-Nationalism, and much more…” (Performance-lecture series, Sydney, 2012) and “Nearly Normal NIMBY” (protest-action, various locations, 2012-ongoing).

Regrette Smiley

Regrette Etcetera “Miss Telepathology”: Character and props from The Fauxist International’s “Schizo((Aliens//Trannies//Noise))Science” (Performance-lecture series, Aus./USA 2012) and “Saint Schreber’s Centenary” (performance/action, various locations, Australia 2011)

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New Interview with Regrette Etcetera, Fauxist Editor

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on November 11, 2013

Regrette Etcetera at home.


(Photo by Lui Rincon)

— For more images from the photoshoot, click the image below —

Regrette Etcetera Lui Rincon

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Fauxist Editor Regrette Etcetera interviewed for Artlink Magazine

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on October 1, 2013

Regrette Etcetera Artlink

​Artlink Magazine 

Vol. 33 No. 3, 2013​

“​Werq The Runway Darling!: What Drones Taught Me about being a Better Tranny“​ 

An interview with Regrette Etcetera, by Rachael Sweting.

$14 buys you a copy

or click image below to read online…

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(Another) New Fauxist Editor Interview

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on October 8, 2012

Watch full-size HERE

“Regrette Etcetera” by Elliot Hughes,  HD video, 2012.

A maximalist video portrait featuring Regrette Etcetera on the relationship between identity, performance, architecture, economics and culture.

This work was first shown as part of the solo exhibition “Containers of a Liquid Reality,” at Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney. “Containers of a Liquid Reality” documents the performance practices of participating individuals through the creation of interview-based documentaries. The work develops a dialogue about capitalist enclosure of physical space and about the way in which human bodies are treated within a capitalist system of economics. Through a discussion of their performance practices, the interviewees provide insights into the imaginative ways in which they redefine and reclaim their physicality. In addition to the video portraits, the exhibition features an architectural inversion that utilizes engineering principles first used in the creation of Gothic cathedrals. The exhibition as a whole explores the link between ideology and architecture.

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New Fauxist Editor Interview (May 2012)

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on October 8, 2012

Regrette Etcetera interviewed, and featuring as centrefold in Slit Magazine (Simulacra edition)

See full Interview (inc. artwork credits) and (full-sized) Pictures

Regrette discusses: The Fauxists, trans activism & monumentality/hagiography, feminization hypnosis, performance, colonization, & Club META ETCETERA…


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“Schizo((Aliens//Trannies//Noise))Science”: Fauxist Lectures upcoming in 2012

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on November 19, 2011

Regrette Etcetera. at Harvest Festival, Parramatta, Sydney.

For the Schreber Centenary, and in leadup to the 2012 Fauxist Performance-Lecture series:


Showcasing Recent Work from The Fauxist International

The Fauxist International presents a new series of Our infamous performance-lectures (“Like Taylor Mac using Microsoft Powerpoint and a meat-filled piñata to explain Neocolonialism” UN Magazine) with outré Fauxist representative Regrette Etcetera.

Exhibiting Our trans-pedagogical, “genre-mashing queer scholarship of hallucinatory breadth” (Zund Magazine), and hot-mess antics,  Schizo((Aliens//Trannies//Noise))Science condenses one area of Fauxist theory & projects of 2011//12 into 3 content-heavy events.


Transfeminine Tele(path)ology & Mythinformatic Schizo-Science

Beginning with Psychology’s myriad misuses of Daniel Schreber- the German judge turned into “a woman with an ass irresistible to God” by cosmic telephoto-Rays- We elucidate the linkages in transfemme tele(path)ologies from hysteria to dysphoria to fetishism. Skipping from Schizoanalysis, Neurotheology and Parascience to millenarian postmodernism & media culture’s obsession with ‘the transsexual’, We inhabit contemporary cultural trans-techno-hysterias in accounts of Alien Feminizing Rays, transfemme ghosts, Spiritualism, EVP, & the strange new field of “Feminization Hypnosis”, & thus trace the intertwined trajectories of the occult psychoanalysis from1898-2011, and outline all the projects We’ve generated along the way…

Identity under Alien Science/Re-tracing the alien scalpel: Body Panic, Schizoid-Tech, & becoming the other Other (again)

From the history & apocalyptic/millenarian miscegenation politics of ‘Human-Alien hybrid’ identities & exo-communities to a typology of the alien-body-as-intent over time, We trace Fauxist engagements with sexo-hysteric discourses of the (Other’s) Body and fantasies of Becoming-Ethnic in fringe cultures. In interrogating ‘Alien Super-Science’, Panic Bodies and postmod mythinformatic techno-paranoias in the field of Alien implants, We interview implant doctors, and find out “Why Aliens make Stupid Scientists”. And finally, unpacking discourses of Alienated wombs, xeno-feminism and hysterical genealogies in Alien pregnancies (“Italian Woman’s 19th Alien Pregnancy!”) & alien-impregnation porn, We explore fantasies of transgression and subsumption of techno-reproductive fears & bodies.

Signal Decay in the Postmodern Bestiary: Fauxist Cryptozoologic Expeditions

Meet the Blobsquatch, the Martian Bigfoot, the Chernobyl Chupacabra & the LARP’ers re-enacting psycho-tropic architectures & mutant canids of S.T.A.L.K.E.R when Fauxist Cryptozoology meets the Military-Industrial-Entertainment-Network! From histories of restricted/toxic landscapes as spaces of imaginative monster production, Our CZ work draws in the hallucinatory expansion of signal-noise quandaries in CZ, econationalism, gender & class in Bigfoot lore, the “exosociobiology” of Martian Anomalists, and the Fauxist cryptid recordings project, whilst traversing the strangest biopolitical realms of SETI, Nuclear meltdowns, and gaming cultures in compiling Our critical postmodern bestiary.

(Photo by Morgan Carpenter)

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How Fauxists Disorganize Monumentality

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on May 22, 2011

Regrette Etcetera & Regrette Etcetera

at the ISGD (Intersex, Sex and/or Gender Diverse) rally,

May 11, Parliament House, Canberra, Australia.

(Photos by Huckleberry Spin)

For a full list of the demands & memorandums presented by the rally,

click HERE.

For press coverage, HEREHERE

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How Fauxists Advertise/Fuck

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on May 9, 2011

Regrette Etcetera

Photographed in mini-exhibition of Regrette’s entries for 

Interstitial BestiariesMagazine

at “Slut Shame”, 7/5/2011, Sydney.

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Animatronic Amputees in Mock-Afghanistanian Mud: Military Simulation-Urbanism, Performance & the Future of Global Warfare.

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 17, 2011

Part 1 of 2

(Forming part of the Fauxist ‘Military Cryptogeographies’, ‘Anthropology of Telepresence’ and ‘Speculative  Architecture’ projects).


The Sim World

– The rise of Sim Villages: MOUT Facilities

– The Future is Slum Wars

– “Architectural ornament as target criteria”: The Arab City in Orientalist Imaginary

– Global War-Games: Meta-MOUT’s & Urban Inter-penetrations

The ‘Populations’

– Employing Diasporas in Diplomacy: Role Players & Avatars in Sim-War

– ‘Amputees in Action’: Playing death daily.

Digital War/Urbanisms

– “The PlayStation to beat all PlayStations”: Telepresence & Digi-cartography

 The City as Digital Impedence

The rise of Sim Villages: MOUT Facilities

In his New Left Review article “War and the City”Stephen Graham takes us on a tour of the surreal – and more often than not, all-too-real – hybrid geographies of the Pentagon’s warfare-simulation industrial-complex that is gearing up American soldiers for an indeterminate future-long battle in the world’s urban centers.  “A hidden archipelago of mini-cities is now being constructed across the U.S. sunbelt,” he writes, “presenting a jarring contrast to the surrounding stripmall suburbia” where entire urban replications of Third World cityscapes are also rising out of the deserts of Kuwait and Israel, the downs of Southern England, the plains of Germany and the islands of Singapore.

“Unmarked on maps, and largely unnoticed by urban-design, architecture and planning communities, these sites constitute a kind of shadow global-city system. They are capsules of space designed to mimic the strategic environment of the ‘feral city’, as one U.S. military theorist has called it—now seen as a critical arena for future wars.”

Such ‘Middle-Eastern cities’ have sprouted at military bases in the US over the last few years, although in the assessment of the 2006 RAND Report these remain inadequate; casualty rates in urban combat for untrained soldiers are around 25–30 per cent. To address future ‘Military Operations on Urban Terrain’ training needs, theRAND team recommendations include the construction of four new ‘cities’, with more than 300 structures each. By 2012, the Pentagon plans to have over seventy MOUT training zones around the world. While some will be little more than air-portable sets of containers, others will be extensive sites that mimic whole city districts, with ‘airports’ or surrounding ‘countryside’. (For work on enforcement and emergency sim architectures, see Our article ” Temporal Slip in Crystal Architectures: Meth Museums, Meth Labs in Space, & The Meth-Architecture-Organism“.)

The biggest U.S. urban-warfare complex thus far is the continually expanding Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. “Eighteen mock-Iraqi villages are being constructed in this 100,000-acre site.” Another is “Chicago”, the $14 million mock-Arab city constructed at Israel’s Tze’elim base in the Negev desert. The site was explicitly built to generalize the lessons of Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities and refugee camps. The ‘town’ is split into four quarters, with apartment buildings, a marketplace, shops, a mosque and a refugee camp. It is wired up with the latest surveillance equipment to monitor the trainee Israeli soldiers as they practise blasting their way into Palestinian homes.

In what follows, We trace some of the currents of this ‘hidden archipelago’ through architectural/urban theory, and draw out some recent typologies of performance, focusing on military urbanisms, telepresence and diaspora.

Before We backtrack a little to explore some of the military theorizing behind the rise of the sim-MOUT world, We leave you with the trailer for the popular 2008 documentary “Full battle rattle” (below) based in the National Training complex at Fort Irwin, outside LA, California, which consists of 13 villages in the simulation-complex, and 300 Iraqi American role players to populate these villages. Army Brigades (approximately 3000 soldiers) travel through the simulation nearly every month. And a military city of 15,000 – Fort Irwin itself- exists to support the operation of the simulation.

The Future is Slum Wars

“The future is not the son of Desert Storm, but the stepchild of Somalia and Chechnya.” General Charles Krulak – Commandant – USMC

“They are . . . the post-modern equivalent of jungles and mountains – citadels of the dispossessed and irreconcilable. A military unprepared for urban operations across a broad spectrum is unprepared for tomorrow.” LtCol. Ralph Peters

“Some people say to me that Iraqis are not the Vietnamese! They have no jungles of swamps to hide in. I reply, “Let our cities be our swamps and our buildings be our jungles”. Tariq Aziz, Iraqi Foreign Minister, Oct. 2002

Urban areas are to be the future battlefield, according to, and “combat in urban areas now cannot be avoided”. Historically, Western military strategy was long premised on the avoidance of urban combat, with air strikes the preferred method of subduing large conurbations, and cities were seen as targets, not battlefields. In other words, strategies of attacking urban life have become slightly more sophisticated than the mass, total annihilation that characterized the 20th century.

Today, the cityscapes of the global South have emerged as paradigmatic conflict zones. Since the end of the Cold War, America’s militarized thrust into the Middle East and Central Eurasia has focused Pentagon planners’ attention on the burgeoning Arab and Third World cities that are now deemed de-facto sites of current and future warfare for US forces, due largely to the increasing polarizing forces of Neoliberal globalization, restructuring, “structural adjustment” (IMO, WTF, World Bank), economic re-regulation, informatization, etc.

Whatever the causes, the military deigns to presume that high-tech military dominance directly influences the urbanization of resistance. As the long-term trend in ‘open-area combat’ is toward overhead dominance by US forces, in which battlefield awareness may prove so complete, and precision weapons so effective that “enemy ground-based combat systems will not be able to survive in the deserts, plains, and fields that have seen so many of history’s main battles” (Ralph Peters, US military commentator). As part of this misguided erasure of global economic and social shifts, the US military seems to see global urbanization as a dastardly plan to thwart the US military gaining the full benefit of the complex, expensive high-tech weapons the MI-complex has spent decades developing. (We return to this subject in the “Cities as Digital Impedence” section below)

Thus, while the ‘revolution in military affairs’ that had previously emphasized overhead dominance, the losing battle for the streets of Iraq has sharpened the Pentagon’s focus on battles within the micro-geographies of slums, favelas, industrial districts and casbahs, as well as on globe-spanning stealth and surveillance technologies. Indeed, as explored above, MOUT sites like NTC have superseded Los Alamos and the Nevada Test Site (nuclear weapons) to become the premier production set for the ‘next gen’ of US strategic superiority. (See for example:’s extensive MOUT theory listings, with articles like “Urban Renewal: Military Style”)

MOUT, indeed, is “the future of warfare,” according to the United States Army War College. As part of the US military’s rhetorical framing of our combat-prone, global future, the battlefield of future hostilities, as stated by the War College’s own journal, “‘lies in the streets, sewers, high-rise buildings, and sprawl of houses that form the broken cities of the world.'” Broken cities: Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Fallujah, Slough. (For a scary, in-depth exploration of the operational planning and rhetoric of these futures, see the Joint Operations 2009 Urban Warfare-Strategy Outline)

In fact, as Mike Davis writes, MOUT – or the military’s pursuit of urban design by other means – is indispensable to “Washington’s ability to dominate what Pentagon planners consider the ‘key battlespace of the future’ – the Third World city”. Third World city apparently offers only one true lesson: how to attack, and thus this is “the Pentagon as global slumlord”. The First World military, Davis continues, is “unprepared for protracted combat in the near impassable, maze-like streets of the poverty-stricken cities of the Third World. As a result, the four armed services, coordinated by the Joint Staff Urban Working Group, launched crash programs to master street-fighting under realistic third-world conditions.”

Producing so-called “realistic third-world conditions,” naturally requires constructing the decoy villages on rural U.S. military bases we have been discussing, and just what these realistic conditions are considered to be is made obvious with only the most shallow perusal of MOUT sites’ commissioned reviews. Evaluating existing MOUT sites for the features deemed most challenging in undertaking military operations within large, global-South cities, RAND researchers awarded the highest points to those with ‘clutter, debris, filth’, ‘slums, shanty towns, walled compounds’, ‘subterranean complexes’ and simulated ‘government, hospital, prison, asylum structures (such as the Marines’ Twentynine Palms facility in California).

Such urban-war simulations serve to demonstrate the shifts in US military doctrine in much more explicit form. Pentagon theorists no longer concentrate so exclusively on a planetary battlespace, over which the networked power of US air and space platforms rules supreme: instead, they have turned their attention to the spaces of the global South, on the street-level, the domestic and interpersonal. In addition, as Eyal Weizman has emphasized, both Israeli and Western military planners now stress the need not just to occupy, but physically to reorganizethe space of colonized cities, so that high-tech weapons and surveillance systems can work to their best advantage. Weizman calls this ‘design by destruction’. As he puts it: ‘contemporary urban warfare plays itself out within a constructed, real or imaginary architecture, and through the destruction, construction, reorganization and subversion of space’. Areas deemed to be too dense and complex to be penetrated by the gaze of drones, satellites and aerial targeting can be physically bulldozed, as was Jenin in 2002. (Again, see “Cities as Digital Impedence” below).

“Architectural ornament as target criteria”: The Arab City in Orientalist Imaginary

You can imagine the military wanting to practice blowing up a building full of insurgents in downtown Baghdad. That’s not something you can easily practice live.”  Perme

A generalized ontological insecurity now haunts and structures Western urbanity, and would seem to be part of a larger reversal of the historical association of cities with safety (from barbarism). Under the ‘insecurity state’, terror replaces the nuclear target criteria as marking urban space as threatened. The imaginary of the western city is penetrated by a multiplying array of invisible and boundary transgressing forces- bioterror, ‘dirty’ (radiation) bombs, terror- which form a continuum with to the car bombs, snipers, IED’s of the west’s war ‘theatres’, and constantly feed back into growing trends of architectural-social bunkering, capsularization- from gated communities, (those ‘Green Zones at home’) to SUV’s- weaponisation,  and architectural/urban ‘hardening’.

The infinitely plastic discourse of the “War on Terror” is often justified by recourse to indiscriminate Orientalist categorizations, and this language of the “new barbarism” works by separating the ‘civilized world’ from threat-exuding ‘dark forces’ such as ‘the axis of evil’, namely an undifferentiated, always potentially terroristic, Other. In this ascendant network of displaced urbanisms- the city conceived as target criteria, as surveillance capability, as ruins- an architectural-urban manifestation of such typologies is concretized.

In other words, as a form of urbanism that is at once speculative and reiterative, we can read a lot about the ‘Arab’ or ‘global south’ city, and indeed ‘Arab Urbanism’ as imagined (feared/desired) in the Western mind. The extent of the geopolitical and aesthetic power of the production of the military’s ‘realistic’ architectural ‘elsewheres’ currently proliferating around the world has led Geoff Manaugh to joke that we may call it the “new International Style, or perhaps Military Arabesque” (as evidenced in the photographs below).

Most obviously, We must ask what are the long term psycho-urban implications of training thousands of soldiers in certain mimic environments like these? Even though these places purportedly provide “immersive cultural training” and ways of interfacing with foreign places and people, how do these arenas for war-play also actually condition to some extent ‘our’ military’s racial perception of the ‘Other’? How do these spaces naturalize conflations of urbanism and ‘race’, geopolitical power, and certain urban forms/geographies as spaces of threat, chaos and destabilization of the Subject?

To pose such questions in another form, We ask what inherent racism exists in the fabricated architectures of mock Iraqi villages set out as mere objects of war across the innocuous flatness of the Mojave desert? Are these the disposable architectures of a new racialized landscape; the subliminal artifice of geopolitical brainwash; are they the ultimate spatial commodities of a new MOUT marketplace? Indeed, what is being sold, reinforced, advertised here?

One effect is to naturalize Arab and global-South cities as little but physical battlespace, populated, when peopled at all, by dehumanized and racialized ‘terrorists’ that must—necessity is one of the rules of the game—be erased by Western, or Israeli, military intervention. At the same time, the militaristic gloss and relentless sanitization serve to produce an ideological reinforcement and subliminal legitimation of US foreign-policy imperatives.

Urban-Architectural Destruction comes full circle

The essence of MOUT would appear to be that it prepares one for the conditions of an elsewhere; it is an active (and actively surreal) ghost town this way empowering its subjects to descend on cities the other side the world and enact their will wherever they see fit. It is another manifestation of this military urbanism’s contemporary elasticity; it is the capability of bringing the complexities of a foreign city home in order to practice the art of conquering it there first.

In the various sections of this work we focus on both reproduction and simulation. But, as we will explore further below, building a training base architecturally (or digitally) ‘in-specific’ enough to be used for numerous cities of the Global South (for the future of global warfare, see the subsequent section on slum wars), and creating an architectural and simulation ‘database’ of real cities to run games and endlessly rehearse their destruction and occupation, is another key element of MOUT development and use. For example, Strategic Operations mobile MOUT facilities (discussed further below) feature:

“lightweight composite structures (movable by four people or a forklift), interchangeable facades (Iraq today, Afghanistan next week, or any other place in the world the following week)”

This in-specificity shares geo-temporal complicity with the digital-cartographic realm, linking place to sim in an ever tightening loop. One example of such a linkage is the increasingly instantaneous incorporation of urban weaponry and concealment tactics from urban theatres into the sim MOUT realm. Thus descriptions of new bomb-making, operation and concealment tactics from Afghanistan- to keep apace with the constant evolutionary staccato of roadside bombs and “Improvised Explosive Devices’s” (IED’s)- are fed back from ‘theatres’ into training facilities and scenarios “in minutes”, according to army promotion.

Diaspora: Diplomacy & Role Play

Understanding Afghan culture is seen as more important than ever in keeping Afghan villagers onside… Because US military operations are increasingly about not just guns and gung-ho, but also building bridges and nations”    Kaplan

A new function of this future ‘urban warfare’ is that there are of course more citizens than ‘soldiers’ on the ‘battlefield’. In his strategic review of the war effort, leaked this summer, Gen. Stanley McChrystal sounded desperate for more nonmilitary help, writing: “ISAF cannot succeed without a corresponding cadre of civilian experts to support the change in strategy and capitalize on the expansion and acceleration of counterinsurgency efforts,” including “immediate and rapid expansion into newly secured areas.” To that end, the United States expects a surge of civilians in Afghanistan. In a traditionally human-resources take on colonization and control, it is expected that such civilians will have a “force multiplier” effect, both by improving military efforts in restive villages and by hiring and training Afghans. Moving from the private-security-military and media arena to all levels of the societal structure. “We’re focusing on a whole-of-government approach,” he said. “And the feedback loop is what we missed before”.

Thus the civilian-military ‘feedback loop’, like that of IED’s, has become an increasing focus of the MOUT. Since 2008, the military and State Department have also been sending  ‘civilians’ and non-military through MOUT training to interact with the spaces, aesthetics and custums/practices of the occupied zone, amounts to a multi-faceted HR force to be deployed & populate the society at all levels. (For more on this “partnering with the civilian surge” see for example “Joint Civilian-Military Training at MUTC makes The Army Better”)

"Vignettes are designed to realistically create events which they may find themselves a part of in Afghanistan"

As we have seen, much of the rhetoric behind the sim-war cities is one of diplomacy and experientially-based cultural sensitivity- these apparently new factors of urban warfare and contemporary colonialism/imperialism. And thus with an ostensibly older architectural/urban reproductive realism, comes an increasing focus on that of population/cultural/behavioural realism. While  PSYOPS/PSYWAR engaged with the ‘enemy mind’ and mass psychology, (leaflet drops and propaganda through to the structural torture psychologies and practices used in Iraq- See Our work on Music Torture for example), the range of PSY-technique has been expanded and brought to the level of the individual soldier, who is then psychologically responsible for representing the diplomatic intent of a gift-wrapped invasion/occupation.

In this regard, many of the sim-sites hire experienced role players who use action and behavioural scripts developed by returned soldiers, psychologists and theorists. At Fort Polk, Louisiana, for example, trainees also contend with ‘civilians’– up to 1,200 role-players who act as Iraqi mayors, imams, journalists, humanitarian aid workers, and ordinary citizens (necessarily with the “appropriate mix of Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds”). More than 200 of the role-players are Arab Americans, many of them Iraqis, bussed in from around the US for ‘extra realism’. A three-week exercise can cost up to $9 million.

At Fort Polk, “al-Qaeda terrorists” are based in an off-limits bit of the wood called ‘Pakistan’, and Taliban insurgents living in 18 mock villages. Another 800 role-players live with them, acting as western aid workers, journalists, peacekeepers, Afghan mayors, mullahs, policemen, doctors and opium farmers, all with fake names, histories and characters. Some 200 Afghan-Americans are augmented by local Louisianans in Afghan garb. The ‘final element of realism’ in the training comes from a gaggle of role-playing media who roam the training area, cover life in the villages and write about the military operations. ‘In-game’ journalists produce three daily newspapers, a radio show, and a nightly reel of video highlights. These role-players, some Iraqi and the others local residents with journalism backgrounds, publish a daily newspaper called the Talatha Times as well as radio and television reports, which are broadcast in the villages. The soldiers in charge of the exercise track how many positive and how many negative stories the units in training generate. The coverage was all bad the day after insurgents “kidnapped” four soldiers and a role-playing journalist, who was permitted to witness the mock executions of the troops and then released in time to write a front-page story.

Although the Army’s use of mock villages populated by native speakers dates to Vietnam and included soldiers bound for Bosnia, it was not provided to the troops who most recently invaded Iraq. Ralph Peters, a retired Army intelligence officer, said the expectation that combat troops will conduct nation-building missions in Iraq makes Fort Polk’s training imperative. “You’re dealing with a foreign people, some of whom are truculent unemployed locals with access to guns,” Peters says. “The military’s training program became very sophisticated to do that.”

Der Derain traces a number of changes in the development, sourcing and relative sophistication of these role-playing populations. Beginning with the earlier “female marines wearing white bedsheets”, and the palm-cards given to marines which sought to remind them of ‘diplomatic skills’- based on a cartoon character mono-cultural version of the ‘other’ that closely resembled the essentialist portrayal of Ralph Petai’s “Arab Mind” (1983), one of the central texts of US ‘Middle Eastern’ policy/mythology, and reportedly still used to develop torture and interrogation techniques in U.S war-prisons like Abu Ghraib)- to hundreds-strong live-in role-players, participating in scenarios scripted by specialist theorists, investment.sometimes outsourcing internationally.

Increasingly, these role-played locals are temp. agency employees- from firms like the hydra-giant L3. Most are members of the diaspora, people who worked as interpreters for the United States in Afghanistan or Iraq and then immigrated, and nearly all of whom are seeking U.S. citizenship if they do not have it already. Unsurprisingly, in the sim-war world, Iraqi role-players often occupy the bottom of the pecking order on site, and generally receive no health or employment benefits. The opinions they can express to the media are tightly controlled by site media-relations managers, resulting in a generalized picture of hyperbolic, repetitive statements about the ‘nobility’, ‘national responsibility’ of their work, they ‘would do it for free to help US-Other relations’ (an interesting position in proving civic worth and citizenship in an anti-Arab U.S). Many role players have refused to be identified or photographed, citing fears of Taliban retribution against relatives in Afghanistan. Reports of role-player re-traumatization from violent scenarios- notably suicide bombing scenarios- are also played down.

The chronology of the rise of this form of diasporic performance culture is also interesting. Such a seemingly uncanny intermeshing of terror discourse and citizenship-performativity  appears yet stranger considering the post-9/11 rise of militarized discourses of domestic (as in ‘domestic front’) security policy enacting a overall policy of “cracking down on diaspora”- through state surveillance, racial/ethnic profiling, bordering processes, and not to mention massive state violence directed at the supposed ‘sources’ of diasporic threat.

It is unclear how long the MOUT’s will keep their lavish population resources. Since early 2003, every training rotation has been geared to preparing a brigade or battalion for a mission in Iraq or Afghanistan. As America withdraws its troops from Iraq—whenever that will be—non-mission-specific training will resume, and the training budget will be cut.

The military has been duly seeking cost-cutting cultural training methodologies, and after having briefly explored this strange diasporic performance genre, We now turn to a new area of cost-conscious diplomatic training- the U.S military’s recent adoption of avatar training. A prominent example is a training environment known as ELECT-BiLAT, in development and testing to soon be used by soldiers being deployed to Iraq. ELECT-BiLAT is a prototype game-based simulation for soldiers to practice ‘conducting bilateral engagements in a cultural context’- in army-speak: “a culturally sensitive negotiations simulator”.

In the development of ELECT-BiLAT, there has been a heavy focus on the avatar’s cultural-racial realism . The University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (USC-ICT) in Playa Vista researchers are feeding a detailed analysis of such cultural behavioural differences– the nods and smiles, pauses, eye gazes, and gesticulations that would ostensibly serve to differentiate ‘Cultures’. The emotional believability of a Hollywood avatar, so the thinking goes, should help soldiers “become sensitive to cultural issues in the way they dress, behave and raise delicate subjects”.

While similar animations are increasingly used in popular movies, game designers and film animators still struggle with how to make ‘faces realistic’, considering the sheer amount  that is unknown about facial expressions, behavioural cues and so on. Kaplan details the depth of investment in this military-entertainment industry development and research on animation and behavioural-body modeling technologies to create sim-training avatars. In this area, even the mega-budgets of the big screen are being eclipsed by investment from the military. “Ninety-five per cent of our budget comes from the US Department of Defense,” says Randy Hill director of the USC-ICT, which specialises in avatar design. (USC’s Game Innovation Lab was involved in the game design as well as creating a compelling set of scenarios that would be appropriate for the training objectives identified. USC-ICT also makes PTSD, variously ‘wounded’ and traumatized soldier avatars to train military social workers and psychologists. Video HERE).

Avatar-based diplomatic role-playing has thus far garnered good reviews. “It seems to work. In three hours, the new environment allows soldiers to achieve the same proficiency in cultural interaction as they would achieve from six to eight hours of interaction using traditional methods. At the moment, however, learners must indicate their actions – “I’m taking off my helmet”, “I smile” – through keyboard or mouse inputs. True interactivity requires the avatar itself to recognise such actions and expressions without being told, and react accordingly.” (Kaplan)

And shouldn’t it succeed? Pixelated automatons (in white bedsheets) running trumped up palm-card scripts of programmed diplomacy further remove any association with diaspora, hybridity, and the ‘effects of war’ that the role-players re-present.


“We can shoot anything short of nuclear weapons here” (29 Palms)

There are multiple MOUT facilities all over the world, but in addition to two that already exist at Twentynine Palms, there is a brand new site cropping up along the fringes that’s being called CAMOUT, or Combined-Arms Military Operations in Urban Terrain. “K-MOUT” is expected to be the Mecca (*groan* ed.) of the entire MOUT program, spread over a 20-by-20 km area centered around an urban core of 280 acres.

The need for the Meta-MOUT comes arises from a project study determining that urban training facilities, which have been in use for many years by the Marine Corps at its various bases, were too small. Many contained 35 or fewer buildings, which Bryan Robertson (Assistant CAMOUT Project Manager) says is hardly enough to provide the level of training needed to prepare troops to conduct operations in big cities. “Trying to train for urban combat in 35 buildings is like trying to train for jungle warfare in a botanical garden” he said.

And so the idea of a mega-MOUT, one big enough to accommodate a full Marine Air-Ground Task Force — 7,000 troops — was born. In 2004, the Marines began developing the concept and design for CAMOUT. And indeed, what will a quarter of a billion dollars get you? Well, we learn that CAMOUT, if completed as planned, will include 1,560 buildings (some as high as five stories) in seven separate districts: the urban core (as previously described), east and west stadium districts, a hospital district, an ‘old town’ which will actually be modeled on Sadr City (a suburb of Baghdad), and finally an industrial district as well as a diplomatic district (see video below). “A city like no one has ever seen,” it will be “bisected by a river, already in place, that’s up to 80 feet wide in some spots,” even though in reality we are told it will contain absolutely no water. “Some areas will have buildings that have been reduced to rubble and there will be shanty towns around the city” that will almost certainly lend a theme park-like and surreal credence to Mike Davis’ claim, quoted above, that the Pentagon is the world’s largest slumlord.

Interestingly, the report also looks at garrisoning abandoned sites and structures throughout the US: abandoned factories, strip malls, schools, hospitals and entertainment complexes. There is an old copper-mining town in New Mexico that has apparently been used to perfect the art of the suburban raid, an outfit that even employs the few remaining residents there as actors. A network of ‘low-population’ towns in North Dakota is also being considered for such a role, and the RAND Report recommends further investigation into the use of abandoned factories, offices, strip malls, schools, hospitals and interestingly, entertainment complexes.

We wonder how reconfigurable these simulated cities may actually become in the future. The idea that CAMOUT could one week be fancied into a city based on the exact dimensions of Sadr Cty, and then the next week be converted into a startlingly real carbon copy of Port-au-Prince, or Darfur, smacks of both exciting and sinister potential. Imagine an entirely fake city that is the architectural combination of, say, Rio, Tijuana, and Johanasberg—toy cities, hybrid cities; imagine the Lego cities of anti-western extremism and other counter imperialist pirates coming to life. CAMOUT is a city waiting not only to be destroyed over and over again, but one eager to be remade in the alternating images of Third World cities all over.

Other questions arise. What if these military bases were the vanguard of architecture’s simultaneous progression and regression? What if CAMOUT became a new dismal suburban model of sorts for the future? What is the ultimate architectural trajectory of this program–bases the size of small countries? Will MOUT one day see its infusion somehow into our normal lives, into the fabric of our common society? In other words, will MOUT one day expand to a utilization of real-life western cities? Overseas US bases permeating the cities that surround them?

Hyper-Realism  & ‘Amputees in Action’

“We sit in a muddy puddle for hours on end, waiting to jump out and scream and shout, cold and miserable – but then you remember these guys are heading for something far worse. Every amputee is vetted and put through specialist training beforehand to see if they are up to the job. For some it is too close to the mark, too realistic. The last thing we want to do is traumatize someone, stymie their rehabilitation.”  John Pickup, of Amputees In Action.

In that Combat sims necessarily implicate ‘violence’ and ‘death’, We now tour another tier of the MOUT-LARP employment pool- the wounded and the wound-makers.

See: Amputees In Action


In training medics and soldiers for the realities of war, MOUT facilities employ private contractor and military medical-sim training groups that offer services and scenarios which “have been carefully designed under the guidance of a military and civilian medical advisory counsel, along with military medics on staff who have recently served on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan”, replete with sophisticated MOUT prop-making departments covering all areas of medical-bodily reproduction and simulation.

The blending with the entertainment-complex is present here too. Strategic Operations, the San-Diego based movie studio-cum-training facility (as discussed in the cinematic simulation section) offers a medical simulation capability that “goes well beyond moulage and typical make up techniques”, into an heady area Strategic Operations deigns to calls “Hyper-RealisticTM“, which employs a host of variously role-players and technician-artists to simulate battlefield wounds and victims. Indeed their literature is worth quoting at length here:

“In a typical scenario… Trainees encounter head wounds, penetrating chest wounds, burns, and shrapnel, and basic life support, including airway management… his very realistic wounds are actually sutured and his vitals stabilized. Hyper-RealisticTM life support challenges include pneumothorax management, uncontrolled bleeding, burns, blast injuries, and penetrating eye injuries, as well as lacerations and embedded glass… wounds complete with active bleeding that stops when a tourniquet is applied properly… large bags of special effects blood are delivered to the injury via hidden tubes, and air is delivered to a chest injury site, controlled by the role player so air bubbles appear at the chest wound site with each breath. Strategic Operations simulates the effects chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive (CBRNE) events with amazing fidelity. Special effects make-up, engineering techniques, and role playing provide Hyper-RealisticTM simulations of anthrax (cutaneous), with “malignant pustules”; cyanides, with pink skin; nuclear radiation exposure, with epilation, erythema, dry desquamation, and wet desquamation;  plague, with purple skin lesions; smallpox, with macules, papules, vesicles, and pustules; vesicants, with blistering; and vomiting agents, with erythema and edema at the site of dermal contact – just to name a few effects”.[2]

If this level of simulation seems outlandish, consider that medics at the Fort Polk complex practice on a $70,000 mannequin that bleeds, blinks, breathes, and makes five different kinds of bowel sounds.

In the quest for visceral (hyper)realism, stunning equivalences- stunning in both their economics and metaphorics- are generated. Prevatt reminisces about a mass grave they created, a charnel pit of bound mannequins with simulated head wounds. “We put a bunch of bones and meat in there and buried it for a couple days so it would smell right,” he says. (Click HERE For more video examples of MOUT Hyper-realism).

“The PlayStation to beat all PlayStations”: Telepresence & Digi-Cartography

In our fear of the real, of anything that is too real, we have created a giant simulator.We prefer the virtual to the catastrophe of the real.” Baudrillard

Audiovisual speed will be for our interior domestic architecture what automotive speed was for the architecture of the city, for the whole layout of the region”. Virilio

Within a cavernous hanger in Wiltshire sit 140 giant metal containers, an installation named the “Combined Arms Tactical Trainer”. Each externally indistiguishable room of this demountable container city contains a different simulation of an urban space in an international theatre. Enter one and you are in the cockpit of an Apache helicopter above Sangin, another and you are driving a Warrior armoured vehicle through desert terrain, a third and you are manoeuvring an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Kajaki.

A brigade preparing to take over in Helmand can use simulators that replicate the terrain they will face in Afghanistan. New computer graphics, rendering and digital image gathering on site in Afghanistan will allow “a soldier heading for Musa Qala to drive the very road she will need to negotiate in a few months, past the same mud compounds and mosques…” while officers “issue orders from a mock-up of the headquarters in Lashkar Gah in the next room”. Afterwards, the scenario is played back to observe mistakes made not only in terms of the battle but the consequences of such actions on locals.

According to Armed Forces minister Adam Ingram “It’s a case of Disney World – eat your heart out. But the serious side is that it prepares our people for the realities of combat.”

Increasingly, the military is linking up live training exercises with such virtual simulations and spaces. It also allows them to provide a wider variety of training situations,  and also gives them a chance to peek into the future by introducing weapons and tools that don’t yet exist into their battle scenarios, again exhibiting a deep interlinking with entertainment industry and technologies, as evidenced in the video below.

With such developments in computer sim, media dissimulation, global surveillance and networked warfare, wars are increasingly fought in the same way they are broadcast or represented- real-time surveillance and ‘live feeds’ and databases of target criteria. Like the cartographic tension implicit to such a ‘world’ (i.e territory is not map), these kinds of systems exhibits a combination of environmental (as moral value and as sheer space) erasure and summoning, borne out in another of Adam Ingram’s unwittingly revealing statements: “The army can train under any conditions almost anywhere in the world at the flick of a switch – without environmental impact or the cost of moving men and equipment over long distances.”

The City as Anti-Digital Impedence

A group which dreams of a miraculous correspondence of the real to their models, and therefore of an absolute manipulation“.  Baudrillard

“A map of Esmeralda should include, marked in different colored inks, all these routes, solid and liquid, evident and hidden. It is more difficult to fix on the map the routes of the swallows, who cut the air over the roofs, dropping long invisible parabolas with their still wings, darting to gulp a mosquito, spiraling upward, grazing a pinnacle, dominating from every point of their airy paths all the points of the city.”   Italo Calvino Invisible Cities

Thus we may ask, what is the ‘environment’ or terrain of such warfare? How is it constructed and maintained? What appears to lie beneath the surface of such a drive is the deployment of a myriad of digital-cartographer-machines, documenting urban environments to be exported/transcribed into computer spaces. In this, surveillance and mapping inextricably overlap. (Considering the U.S Biometric recording programs in Iraq and Afghanistan in this context forms the basis of an upcoming Fauxist publication.)

See, for instance, “Urban Resolve“: put together back in 2004 to create an unparalleled virtual model of almost the entirety of Iraq, with scaled cities and buildings that boast being within 1 metre of perfect accuracy. The $195,000 program is a combat simulation on a massive scale. In other words, it’s one part “Risk”, one part “The Sims” and one part raw supercomputing power. “[U]sing concepts borrowed from artificial intelligence research,” “Urban Resolve”functions somewhere between high-tech city planning assistant and future warfare prediction device, “helping military leaders determine which types of sensors – CIA agents, spy planes, listening devices and so on – are best for tracking enemy forces that are hiding in a modern city.” In the latest experiment- Urban Resolve 2015– the setting is Baghdad, but, according to its promotional literature, “can be tailored to resemble any major urban area from Iraq to Indonesia“.

Efforts at constantly refining and shortening the feedback loops between urban space, sims and planning have become increasingly central, and have entered the realm of a global panoptic fantasy. Put simply, it runs something like this: “Imagine if the first soldiers to enter an enemy city could map it street by street, recording every window and doorway of the urban battlefield in an accurate 3D model that could instantly be relayed to their comrades at base”. An article from New Scientist, “The speedy way to capture a city” describes exactly this:

“Virtualised reality scans the urban landscape using lasers and digital cameras mounted on a truck or plane. A laser measures distances to objects such as lamp posts and building facades, while the digital camera takes 2D photos. Another laser calculates the movement of the truck and checks its position against data collected from the aerial laser aboard the plane. These measurements and pictures are fed into a computer that combines them to create a photo-realistic virtual 3D model of the area.”

Annoyingly, in this context, cities, as physical objects, simply get in the way of the US military’s technophilic fantasies of trans-global, real-time omnipotence. And thus We witness the ‘design by destruction’ discussed above- the physical reorganization of colonized cities, to ensure that high-tech weapons and surveillance systems can work to their best advantage.

Such electronic mapping and satellite-image technologies provide digital urban renditions that can be experienced ‘immersively’, forming a database of the global south. Entirely lacking in even virtual people, these simulations render places like Iraq as pure digital battlespace. The threat of violence from a distance– backing the Drone/UAV warfare with a bringing of ‘there’ to ‘here’ in real-time and with near-versimilitude- means that virtuality has become the ‘fifth dimension’ of US global hegemony. In the MOUT context, such electronic simulation technologies thus blend seamlessly into physical constructions and ‘recreation’.

Cities, as they exist in First World military simulations, are virtualized yet further through inclusion in  Department of Defense video games. Such computer simulations are increasingly the norm “in a growing number of defense exercises. With ever-more-sophisticated simulation and modeling technology, the First World military meets the entertainment industry – the so-called “military-entertainment complex” – via urban design and building contractors.

Thus a cartographic ‘Cyber-deterrence’ becomes the holy grail of contemporary war-as-peace. As nuclear weaponry proliferates and begins to ostensibly level the playing field, digital dominance- here conceived of as a complete cartography- is a realm still only available to the few (richest) nation-states. Cyber-deterrence bears further similarities to nuclear deterrence, as it does not actually have to work to be effective, i.e the power lies in its symbolic exchange, here it is a knowledge-possession of territory, and a demonstrative/spectacular rehearsal of invasion and destruction. (We have your city on file).

In this sense, overhead surveillance from drones & space platforms, high-precision, high-lethality smart weapons, multi-spectral sensors, real time battle-data, networked commands, justi-in-time simulations and so on are all part of the dream of “full spectrum dominance”, where the battlefield has shifted from the geopolitical to the electromagnetic. The cartographic panopticon enacts at once a physically retracted, invisible colonialism (like that increasingly prevalent in Palestine, as provided by surveillance/teleoperation/UAV’s), and a virtualization of urban space (violence), both ensuring disappearance. (See for a glimpse of the possible omnipresence of such a normalized surveillant culture).

And despite the life-saving rhetoric and reality-dreams of the SIM-War realm, the traffic between map and place is fraught with slippage. The virtual urban models we are discussing have such an reality-impact on troops that CSC has to warn: “if you put a door on the side of the building, the soldier is trained for that. If he gets to the real environment and the door is on the wrong side of the building, he can get killed”. Another sinister take on the virtualization of urban control can be found in SEAS, participants in Urban Resolve 2015.

In concluding part 1, We acknowledge the Borgesian currents beneath Our interest in this topic by including a quote from Borges’ work “On Exactitude in Science”, in which an emperor sends out his royal cartographers to make the perfect map of his empire, only to have them return years later with a map that dwarfs the now-shrunken empire; the emperor naturally comes to prefer the model to reality:

“In that Empire, the Art of Cartography reached such Perfection that the map of one Province alone took up the whole of a City, and the map of the empire, the whole of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps did not satisfy and the Colleges of Cartographers set up a Map of the Empire which had the size of the Empire itself and coincided with it point by point. Less Addicted to the Study of Cartography, Succeeding Generations understood that this Widespread Map was Useless and not without Impiety they abandoned it to the Inclemencies of the Sun and of the Winters. In the deserts of the West some mangled Ruins of the Map lasted on, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in the whole Country there are no other relics of the Disciplines of Geography.”

Part 2

In Part 2 of “Animatronic Amputees in Mock-Afghanistanian Mud: Military Simulation-Urbanism, Performance & the Future of Global Warfare”:

– “All but war is simulation”: MIME-NET & Gaming

– Blurring the Base: A Typology of Military Performance in ‘civilian’ space

[1] Computer Science Corporation

[2] see also: SIMULAIDS,


Caroline Wyatt “Tackling the ‘Taliban’ in Norfolk”
“War Games”
“Iraqi village recreated at new Bragg training site”
Amit Asaravala  “When War Games Meet Video Games”
“Mock Village Prepares U.S., NATO Forces for Deployment”
“Marines train at Calif. post’s Afghan ‘village’: Training equips troops with insight into terrain, Islamic culture and customs”  9/30/2008
“Troop Preparation – Mock Afghan War Village in Norfolk”—mock-afghan-war-village-in-norfolk
ANNIE LOWREY “My Trip to a Fake Afghan Village: How the U.S. military is preparing civilians for a surge of their own”.  DECEMBER 18, 2009
Heidi E Loredo “Hollywood magic prepares Marines for combat” 
“Combat Wound Medical Special Effects & Simulations”
SUSAN WILLIS “EMPIRE’S SHADOW” New Left Review 22, July-August 2003
Dan Orzech “Cybertroops Keep War Games Real”  Wired Magazine 08.24.05 
BBC News “Soldiers train on giant simulator” Wednesday, 27 November, 2002 
Terri Judd “Welcome to Afghanistan? No, Norfolk” The Independent, UK, 11 March, 2010 
BRYAN FINOKI (Subtopia) “GoogleMapping War” JANUARY 22, 2006
BRYAN FINOKI (Subtopia) “MOUT Urbanism” FEBRUARY 23, 2008
BRYAN FINOKI (Subtopia) “Peering into the Arenas of War” APRIL 17, 2007
Vince Beiser “Baghdad, USA” WIRED magazine, Issue 14.06 – June
STEPHEN GRAHAM “WAR AND THE CITY” New Left Review 44, March-April 2007
Pasquinelli  “Warporn! Warpunk! Autonomous Videopoiesis in Wartime”, Sarai Reader 05: Bare Acts, Amsterdam-Delhi: Sarai, 2005.
Emily Singer “The speedy way to capture a city” New Scientist, 5 May 2005
“How to Do it Better” The Economist Magazine, Dec. 14 2005
James Der Derian, “Virtuous War: Mapping the Military–Industrial–Media–Entertainment Network”, Boulder, CO 2001.

Posted in Fauxist Architecture, Fauxist Psywar | 5 Comments »

“Saint Schreber’s Centenary”: Fauxist Members in Sydney Performance

Posted by Regrette Etcetera on April 17, 2011

Regrette Et Les Trous

The mega-no-show with 10 simultaneous stars to assuage all yr performance pococurantism!

A celebratory work to mark the centenary of the death, and continuing psychoanalytic case-study trans superstar status of Daniel Schreber  (see: & marked 10 days late to fall on Easter.


Glace Chase                    LaDonna Rama               Justin Shoulder

Regrette Etcetera           Lori Keat                            Dolly Rotten

Asha Zappa                    Pony Glitter Pony             Pony (Melb.)


Mega-spectacle, heavy twinned costumes, opera singers, glossolalia, tranny snaps, Freud/Schreber-Christ, diagnostic chants, vomit.


Pretty Peepers Cabaret, April 24th

Post-Performance Photos:

Matthius the Libidinous & Justin Shoulder: "The Peach Twins"

Glace Chase as Saint Schreber/Glace Chase

LaDonna Rama

Asha Zappa and Regrette Etcetera

Regrette Et Les Trous

Posted in Fauxist Events | Leave a Comment »

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