A work in progress
The warGames Tactical Media Collective uses socially engaged art games to critique the "military-entertainment complex" and challenge the recruiting practices of the US Military. This large-scale, multiyear project is currently in production, with an expected release on Memorial Day 2019.
From the popular game America's Army to the expanded use of remote warfare via drones, videogames have become a cornerstone of the US military's recruiting, training and operations. The project critiques the hyper-militarized aesthetics of contemporary videogames and challenges the ideologies embedded in their gameplay. The warGames Collective is an ad hoc group of artists who are military veterans and artists who make socially engaged new media. We are collaborating on a game about the experiences of a vet returning home and re-acclimating to civilian life.
The warGames project also includes a community component supported by Chicago Art Department. warGames Collective Members Eric J. Garcia, Steve Ciampaglia and Kerry Richardson are 2018-9 Core Residency Artists (Conversation Theme) at Chicago Art Department (CAD). The CAD residency is supporting our collaboration with a group of teen artists from Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen. In spring 2019, we will create a series of related mini-games for the project. This phase will then culminate in a public video arcade event in which the teens will engage their friends and family in a discussion of military recruiting and service.
warGames will be released (for free) to the Steam platform and app stores on Memorial Day 2019. This game will be accompanied by the body of research that we have compiled while producing the project, from a taxonomy of military-themed videogames to accounts of personal experiences from recent vets.
The warGames Tactical Media Collective is Steve Ciampaglia, Eric J. Garcia, Kerry Richardson and Amanda Dittami; past members are Jonatan Martinez, Igraine Grey and Michael Figueroa. The project is generously supported by Propeller Fund/ThreeWalls Gallery, Chicago Art Department, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shapiro Center for Collaboration and Research at SAIC, and Northern Illinois University.