How do we socialize our children to war? How do we explain institutionalized violence? Children have played with toy soldiers for almost as long as adults have been killing each other. At what point does the essence of play separate from the inherent violence represented by these toy soldiers?
These days, children can indulge their homicidal fantasies online with friends through video games. These are usually extremely graphic in nature and don’t leave much to the imagination. Video game graphics are advanced enough now to properly depict what the human body experiences when hit with a bullet or eviscerated by shrapnel from a grenade.
Before video games, however, children utilized something much more diabolical to create these dark scenarios: their imagination. When I was a child, my soldiers suffered through many grueling campaigns, from the backyard trenches to the assault on the kitchen. These fine soldiers were melted, shot and disfigured, all in the name of my entertainment.
My hope for this project is to provide an opportunity to open a dialogue about war. Our focus should not be about how “cool” it is, or about what gun or aircraft is the most effective or sexy, not about who is right or wrong, but about how we are constantly exposed to war through our culture as well as our media and what that does to our perception of conflict.