Commoditised Warfare

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Exhibition Setup (Photo by Joe Plommer)

Exhibition Setup (Photo by Joe Plommer)

Project Description

Commoditised Warfare proposes an alternative world where spectacular events are custom designed to replace traditional warfare as a means of solving seemingly chronic conflicts. Whether it be a made-up sport, a bizarre ceremony, or an extravagant technology, each event is specially designed to reflect the cultural and geopolitical characteristics of the opposing sides. Examples are presented as a series of spectacles centred around toy-models such as mechanised ‘Deluxe’ models, graphic packages, TV adverts, model-nerd’s video and so on, encouraging audience to imagine how these events might be operated and consumed.
Case A: North Korea vs South Korea + Japan + USA, Case B: India vs Pakistan, Case C: The Falklands War.

COMMODITISED WARFARE #01:East Asian Dispute

- Participants : North Korea vs South Korea + Japan + USA
- Spectacle : Synchronised Baseball
- Stadium : Stadium Ship “DONG-GIHWA”

In 20XX, North Korea once again puts East Asia on edge when it announces it will launch a nuclear missile. Alarmed by this, and on appeals from South Korea, Japan and the United States, the UN Security Council resolves to send a peacekeeping operation theater to North Korea, dispatching former NBA player Dennis Rodman to Kim Jong-un’s side as an advance party. Known to be a major basketball fan, Kim responds agreeably, and shows a positive stance toward participating in peacekeeping operations by eliminating nationalistic expressions from the year’s Arirang Festival. What has been sent to North Korea is the peacekeeping operation theatre, and world’s largest stadium-ship, “DONG-GIHWA.”

The sport of “Synchronised Baseball” is created for this operation, which combines the mass gymnastics heritage of North Korea with the baseball heritage from the three other countries. To let this bizarre sports make sense, players from each country naturally started negotiating, improvising, and forming a friendship. Bringing an opportunity for people to be bonded, “DONG-GIHWA” is celebrated as a symbol of peace in Far East Asia.

“1:200 DONG-GIHWA” precisely replicates its original spectacle. You can see a fantastic aesthetics which combines a passenger ship and a stadium, and players enjoying the synchronised baseball.

COMMODITISED WARFARE #02 : India – Pakistan Conflict

- Participants: India vs Pakistan
- Spectacle: Silly Walks Contest
- Stadium: Decorative Trucks “HATHA-MILANA”

Conflict between India and Pakistan has continued endlessly since the partition of India and independence from the British Empire in 1947. In 20XX, two “decoration truck” artisans rise up from across the national borders. What has caught their attention is the “lowering of the flags ceremony,” conducted daily at the Wagah border, in which, to much fanfare and cheering, soldiers engage in simultaneously aggressive and silly pageantry that concludes with a handshake at the opened border gates. Their fantastic idea is to convert this into a friendly ceremony mounted on decoration trucks wheeling around the border.

Finished with distinctive retrofit techniques, the pair of decoration trucks will be named “HATHA-MILANA” (Hindi for “handshake”). When the two trucks face off, the catwalks that rise from their pallets will transform into a stage that spans the border. Two locals will then be anointed to perform silly walks while gradually moving toward the center of the stage, where they will conclude the ceremony with a handshake.

“1:50 HATHA-MILANA” precisely replicates its original spectacle. While the quality of handmade decoration of trucks remains, other details such as transforming mechanism have been added.

COMMODITISED WARFARE #03 : Falklands War

- Participants: UK vs Argentina
- Spectacle: Robot Territory Game “MINESWEEPERS”
- Stadium: Mine fields

The 1982 conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falkland Islands left behind more than 10,000 anti-personnel mines after it concluded, the majority of which had yet to be removed by the year 20XX. Now inaccessible areas, the old minefields have become a paradise for the light-footed local penguin population, and are being repurposed as a major tourism resource for the islands. Taking note of this, the United Kingdom and Argentina have set aside their intermittent political maneuvering over territorial claims to the islands, and are developing “MINE-SWEEPERS” as a national-scale tourist enterprise.

In this scheme, unmanned vehicles have been developed for sweeping anti-personnel mines in the Falkland Islands. Using specific design principles inspired by the countries distinct engineering histories, these unmanned devices provide both a service to society and a spectacle as they blow up mines. British sweepers and Argentine sweepers attempt to blow up as many mines as possible, thus claiming the newly ‘liberated” section of land for their respective nations. The local penguin population, which have thrived in the minefields because they are too light to detonate the mines, have now become employed as camera operators.
“1:33 MINESWEEPERS” precisely replicates its original spectacle. Details are rigorously modeled such as British machine’s gigantic hammer and Argentine machine’s “brit thrower” to avoid killing penguins.

1:100 MINE-SWEEPERS (Photo by Joe Plommer)

1:100 MINE-SWEEPERS (Photo by Joe Plommer)

MINE-SWEEPERS

MINE-SWEEPERS

Aims and objectives of project

The primary aim of this project is to encourage audience to think of how warfare in our real world is created and designed, and how unmindfully we are consuming it as a spectacle. Having the first question in my mind, I purposefully designed uneconomical and not-rationalised events: a sport called “Synchronised Baseball” played on a massive stadium-ship sent into the Asian ocean, a hand-shaking ceremony on decorated trucks running along the border between India and Pakistan, and a competition of mine-sweeping in Falkland Islands using an extravagant development of technology. This approach can be considered as a critique of the tremendous amount of both economical and human resources spent on real warfares and conflicts.
The form of the outcome, a toy model and its graphical package, is employed with both conceptual and practical reasons. Conceptually, it reflects how citizens in this alternative world would ultimately consume and celebrate the events created. Practically, a toy model works as an attractive and enjoyable gateway to a more complex narrative which lurks behind it.

Credit

Model Making : Design Office BRIDGE (Hiroshi Takenouchi, Takashi Miyoshi)
Film Production :
- Producer : Takayuki Takei
- Director : Hiroki Yokoyama
- Director of photography : Kimihiro Morikawa
- Editor : Jun Kitajima
- Voice Over : Bin Shimada
- Production : Studio Interfield Corporation
Sound Design : Sean Clarke, Mark McKeague
Production Support : Amina Abas-Nazari, Channing Ritter, Daniel Tauber, David Chatting, Johanna Schmeer, Marcel Helmer, Mohammed Ali, Shiori Clark
Tutoring in Royal College of Art : Noam Toran

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