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UK Cops Practice Riot Maneuvers In Fake Town


The UK police is beefing up its “riot control” maneuvers in some bizarre ways. They have erected an entire fake town. It looks like a dystopian Potemkin village or a movie studio set, where police trainees go to play out a variety of riot scenarios and strategize controlling violent crowds in complex city environments.

After seven months of petitioning, British photographer James Rawlings was granted limited access to photograph the Baudrillardian scene as an art project.

(Image: James Rawlings via Wired)

His strict limitations include only photographing the exercises from above and omitting any photos of faces in order to keep the individual police officers anonymous. The resulting images are eerily devoid of action, and the most compelling are those documenting the artifacts of this ersatz conflict zone: a faceless mannequin next to a bottle of gasoline, an opened package of empty bottles meant to represent molotov cocktails, stacked riot shields awaiting their next practice session.

(Image: James Rawlings via Wired)

Wired writes:

The logical next step for the series seems to be military training centers, but Rawlings says that for him, the topic is broader than that. The spaces where we play out conflict, ideally to learn from the experience, can be external or internal, literal or metaphorical. The only limitation seems to be whether he’ll be allowed to bring a camera.

We will be fascinated to see which surreal environment he brings us next. More of Rawling’s work on this project and others is viewable on his website.

(Image: James Rawlings via Wired)

 

(Image: James Rawlings via Wired)