Mirages focuses on a mock Iraqi village in the middle of the Mojave dessert in California. Conceived and used by the US Army for the training of the troops before being deployed in Iraq, this village was built and is operated by Hollywood professionals. The extras playing the roles of the inhabitants are hired among members of the Iraqi diaspora in the US.
This training facility is an optical device. It is used not only to train soldiers for combat, but also as a device to guide their gaze. It familiarizes them with the "reality" of Iraq, as it is fictionalized by the army and Hollywood. Soldiers are trained to recognize the enemy, to differentiate the "good people" from the terrorists and taught that every Iraqi is a potential enemy. It is also used as a narrative tool to produce a war utopia, through operations of framing and the training of the viewer via the media which are welcome to cover the activities of the facility.
The 2-channel video Mirages shows images of the camp and interviews of those who work behind the scenes: the set designer, the make up artist, the pyrotechnic artist, as well as actors and extras, all evoking their perception of the reality they're hoping to create. The role played by 'war journalists' is also brought up in sequences showing the apparatus helping them to produce the right images.