Jan Babnik (born 1977) lives and works as an editor, curator, writer and educator in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is editor in chief of Fotografija / Membrana, a Slovenian magazine on photography, and director of Membrana Institute – publisher of the magazine Fotografija and Membrana, books on photography and photography theory, and organizer of education modules (School of Photography Criticism). He has been a member of the Slovenian Society of Aesthetics since 2005. In 2008 he finished his MPhil in Philosophy at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. He holds a PhD in the Philosophy and Theory of Visual Culture course at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska.
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.
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.