Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential theatre play, No Exit, is the point of departure for the work, which is named after the play's title. In the video, an updated version of the play is enacted by computer-game avatars within an operational military simulator.
The military simulator is located in an Israeli army base and serves as a testing ground for situations in which soldiers are taking over a civil apartment located in enemy territory, during a military operation. It is a 1:1 model of an Arab family apartment, while the view from the windows is replaced by digital screens with a simulated street environment and avatars instead of real people.
The work juxtaposes the existential undertone of the play with a military context by superimposing the digital figures on rare video footage of the apartment and its surroundings. Interestingly, the apartment-simulator was designed by the same people who designed the set for Netflix’s hit series Fauda, hence serves as a peculiar demonstration for the intertwining of military and entertainment imagery and modes of operation.
No Exit’s complex integration of material and immaterial spaces, as well as its constant transition between different mediums (theatre, cinema, video games and reality TV shows), explores the conditions of reality as simulation. The work asks what can be considered as ‘real’ in a world made of models, copies and well-designed imitations. Given the extremely charged reality of the middle-east, the ramification of reality as permanently located up in simulation gains political and ethical meanings.
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