Sunday, March 01, 2009

Galleries for the Art of War Play

[Image: MOUT structures fabricated from Conex containers for military training application. Photo courtesy of CMOUTS (]

I was telling a friend recently about various MOUT facilities militaries use around the world to play war in quasi-urban and eerily racialized mock training environments, or (as Pruned recently put it): “where soldiers rehearse over and over again like actors in a Hollywood studio” […] “with props on hand or littered about, they perfect their stage presence, try out some new moves and hand gestures, and fine tune their dialogues in front of cardboard cutouts of generic terrorists,” where they “practice their showstopper: walking through walls” before “it's time to step out in front of live television cameras, the whole world already a captive audience, to play out their well-choreographed routines.”

Later my friend asked me about specific developers, architects, and other contractors who are involved in these types of projects, and I had very few names for him.
This piece I posted earlier here on subtopes (which has been slightly amended for a forthcoming issue of Crit, the AIA Student Journal) gets into it a little bit, and there is some more in the links posted at the bottom of this post, but in doing a quick search I came across this “small female owned” business CMOUTS ( who, like many others, specializes in reusing and repurposing old shipping containers for future applications, military and commercial.

The company uses a widespread network of fabricators and its vast connections with international intermodal industry partners to modify a number of container types that can fit the needs of any client, they say – in the case the US Military, for whom the company spells a handy set of spaces that can be stacked and scaled to the dimensions of whatever warplay gamespace they imagine. Perhaps something close to the equivalent of sitting down to play a first person shooter on your X-Box while deciding which arena you want to play you toggle through various architectural options (tunnels, ducts, hostage rooms, trap doors, arenas, open street, etc.), only vaguely realized now.

Conex containers are rugged and durable enough to stand up to the rigors of troop training. MOUT structures made from containers are re-locatable, reconfigurable, and deployable via standard means of national and international transportation, namely truck, rail, and ship. - CMOUTS.

False cities made from scratch out of disused containers to store a new ideology of war -- like rough and tumble galleries housing the performance art of urban violence.

Anyway, I thought these images were worth reposting. The stark ready-made building blocks of future wars situated on their sales lot in perfect radiant marketing bliss. Like the new 'ghost town' film-sets of the modern Western.

Also check out: The "Village"; Tracking Blackwater in Potrero; Sim Baghdad; War Room; Peripheral Milit_Urb 5; Cities Made by War; Good Buildings, Bad Buildings; Bldgblog: A miniature city waiting for attack; War Play; From 'Happy Meal' to 'BattleBox'; Peering into the Arenas of War; Policetown, UK; MOUT Urbanism.

[All Images, courtesy of CMOUTS (]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is kind of post-industrial, adobe...

7:46 PM  
Blogger Subtopia said...


11:29 PM  
Blogger The Red Son said...

It is funny that you say that because there is a company which is now converting cargo containers like these into houses for victims of foreclosure and others desperate for houses.

12:25 PM  

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