The Many Faces of Camouflage

An Essay on Camouflage, Surveillance, Control Society, and Cuttlefish

The Many Faces of Camouflage

An Essay on Camouflage, Surveillance, Control Society, and Cuttlefish

Fig. 1. Callibration target, Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona, USA. Google Earth screen capture.

The article investigates the relationship between social control and camouflage in contemporary conditions of new visibility from the perspective of digitalisation of photographic image and its increased integration into military and surveillance technologies. The author investigates the play of visibility and invisibility, of hiding and exposing, implied in traditional understanding of camouflage under the changed conditions of referentiality and visibility through a number of examples, ranging from surveillance projects aimed at preventing human rights violations to the military use of drones and artistic projects that either critique the new means of social control, or offer strategies of resistance to individuals.

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Camouflage repels “evil” gazes. In this game of concealing and revealing, identity and non-identity and over-identity, of the real and the unreal, camouflage just will not relinquish its “excessive” magical function, which both attracts and repels in a sort of a deeper experiential sense, just as it both attracts and repels looks.
Reading time: 33 min.

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