Thursday the 19th February, I went to listen to an interview at the Goethe Institute between the filmmaker Harun Farocki and artist Kodwo Eshun. Harun screened a rough-cut of a work-in-progress entitled Immersion. Immersion is based on a first-person shooter games engine developed by the US military to train troops for service in Iraq.
Clunky graphics pan, track and zoom to reveal pixilated deserts, palm trees, 'arab' avatars, explosions, smoke and ruined buildings. The games-engine, with head mounted display and (plastic) XM8 interface has been released to a consortium of software engineers and psychotherapists. Cut to a therapist. The therapist is using the software to lead a traumatized soldier back, back to a scene of explosion, mutilation and death, back to site of their trauma.