Why Photogenic? is an architectural dispositif inspired from the actual site of Fort Irwin, a US Army training center that includes a mock Iraqi village. The dispositif is made of plywood and forces the spectator to go through the space in a pre-defined sequence. It is conceived as a viewing device, proposing a mise en abîme to the viewer, allowing him to perceive himself watching. It allows the viewer to approach Fort Irwin's reality through the filer of three different kinds of media: mass-media, cinema, and architecture.
The first viewing station shows a 7mn video, considered as a 'visual caption' showing a spectator watching a computer screen. A window is open showing a news broadcast produced by a local Californian TV network (KCAL), reporting live from Fort Irwin. This is how the spectator first learns about Fort Irwin: through the media perspective. The Why Photogenic? dispositif proposes to the viewer to experiment a reconstitution of what it is to approach For Irwin.
The spectator is then lead to another room, in which he will watch the two-channel video Mirages. The spectator watches the video through an opening in the wall which has the proportions of a movie screen (16:9). This opening makes an echo to images shown in the video. One shows the observation deck from which journalists are encouraged to film the theatre of operations; the other shows the mock hotel room in which journalists are invited to stay when they report on Fort Irwin. The window in that room also has the proportions of a movie/tv screen, as if what the military wanted the journalists to film was already framed for them. Those observation platforms confirm the idea that beyond the fact that Fort Irwin is a training camp for soldiers, it is also a training camp for viewers. Where the spectator's gaze is educated through the images produced by journalists. After watching the video, the spectator exists the dispositif through the 'back stage'.