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A link between violent video games and actual bodily harm perpetrated by gamers has never been substantiated. Sure it’d be nice to not have games where you can pick up prostitutes before beating their pimps to death, but they exist so we must acknowledge and intelligently challenge such platforms of “entertainment”.

We should be quick to challenge all forms of manipulation and abuse as they occur within the infrastructure of gaming culture which, let’s face it, is pretty much exclusively aimed at youth.

Air Power Over Hampton Roads air show, Hampton Roads, Virginia #2 by Christopher Sims

US military recruitment relying on the allure of gaming seems like such an abuse.

Sims’ Hearts and Minds is a sharp view at a nation’s collective hopes for a significant body of its (male) youth.

Christopher Sims operates a lot like Paul Shambroom in that both their photographies prod at our military-infused society without ever showing us real blood or even real warriors. To this extent, Sims has even stalked fake blood.

Hearts and Minds should be exhibited in the future in parallel with the results of Alyse Emdur‘s project Photograph a Recruiter that asks high school students to submit their own photos of military recruitment drives. As captivating as Sims’ work is we should not be fooled into thinking that we are privileged witnesses to an unusual or rarefied event; young people are routinely manipulated by institutions.

Emdur’s project acts is the compliment to Sims’ endeavour and both would prosper in mutual visual dialogue.


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