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History and Theory

Camouflage Media

History and Theory
27 Sep, 2012

Camouflage Media

This talk proposes a history and theory of the drive to hide in plain sight. Camouflage developed in counterpoint to technological advances in photography, innovations in warfare, and as-yet-unsolved mysteries of biological evolution; its origins date to the turn of the last century. Today, camouflage is commonly thought of as a specific textile pattern of interlocking greens and browns, or alternatively its twenty-first century pixelated "digital" update. But it is in fact much more --- a set of institutional structures, mixed-media art practices, and permutations of subjectivity, that evolved over the course of the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries in natural, aesthetic, and military environments increasingly mediated by photographic and cinematic intervention.

Hanna Rose Shell is an Associate Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society.

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