by Jed D Watson
The disconnect between civilian society and those that serve in our nation’s military is a problem. This problem results in a lack of understanding of what those that serve are going through. Can experiencing the emotional story that veterans and their families experience when a major deployment takes place help to bridge the civilian / military cultural divide
It is well understood within the military and their families that long periods of deployment are commonplace
and this is true both during wartime and peacetime, it is not so well understood within the civilian community and it is my goal provide insight into that experience.
What does it feel like emotionally, to have a loved one deploy, what is it like when they come home?
What does it feel like emotionally, to be a loved one that is deploying? What does it feel like to come home?
What feelings does this experience evoke, what sounds, what sights?
While it would be a nice outcome of the project to have a member of a deployment population (military kids, service members, etc.) resonate with the content, my target audience are civilian populations if my goal is to help bridge the military / civilian divide.
Utilizing motion capture and virtual reality technology Deployment is an immersive installation that has taken the storytelling experience out of the VR goggles and into a shared space of video, light, and sound.
With cinematic techniques, Deployment draws the participants into the sensations of what it is to be part of a deployment.
Vignettes of sights and sounds of family members leaving and of family members left behind and the day to day that follows makes for a prescient and contemplative experience.
Using cinematic techniques drawing the participants into the sensations of what it is to be deployed.
Books on deployment, Interviews with members of the military and their families, Psychological studies on the deployment experience.
I am currently reading Redeployment, and The Great War and Modern Memory, by Paul Fussell
I have checked with the school Librarian for more info on the topic and she has referred me to several psychological studies and journals available by way of the library. There are also lots of websites on offer both from the
Department of Defense and members of this population that offer insight into the expectations of military members and their dependents during a deployment.
Further, I have gathered the stories of families and service members and the emotional and sensory experiences surrounding the experience of deployment, which I will be leveraging for a basis for the content of the experience.
Being a military dependent informed my choice of this topic, so it is pretty close to home. I worked on a storytelling installation last semester called Requeerium and I thought I may be able to apply some of the techniques I learned there to this project. There is a little understanding outside of the military of what this sort of sacrifice means to those in the military, but I believe that when people see what this experience is firsthand they will gain a new appreciation
for those in the military and their families.