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Pavlovian: Conditioning America’s Inheritance

Patrick McCallum

Plaster, Steel, Video, Design Foam, Tile Grout, Acrylic Paint, Found Objects, 2022

Undergraduate
Pavlovian: Conditioning Americas Inheritance explores the relationship that United States citizens in Generation Z (born 1997 - 2012) have with the War on Terror, especially within gaming and popular culture. This body of work uses sculpture, video, and symbolism to translate the complexity of how violence is portrayed in pop culture without political critique. Generation Z has constant, easy access to first-person accounts of war. Footage of Apache attack helicopters firing on civilians can be found in the same space as direct advertising for Domino's Pizza and gameplay of the newest military inspired video game. There is no longer a distinction between the facts and the fictional narratives American culture creates to morally justify its actions overseas. This collage of culture, news, fiction, “reality” television, and collateral murder creates a jaded dissonance from the truth of American foreign policy. Unlike the radically anti-war movements of the 60s and 70s, Generation Z is quelled by simulation to normalize the cultural extermination of the Middle East. “Exterminate, instill, and extract” is the motto of the American modern age.