The Camoufluers and the Day-Glo Battleship


HMS Belfast is to be lit up with a kind of day-glo dazzle camouflage pattern. It's part of a project called Switched on London that will take place from the 7th to the 14th Feb.

It's by a company called Mindseye who describe their role as 'camoufluers':

"Harking back to the era of dazzle ships, where colour and shape were used to disguise the shape and direction of battle ships from the new predatory threat of the u-boats, the Mindseye scheme is inspired by the Imperial War Museum exhibition 'Camouflage'. With the combined use of theatrical moving head projectors and RGB LED projectors, Mindseye will be injecting colour and dazzle patterns onto the ship through the use of gobos. Fittings are placed on the deck and off the ship covering large surface areas of the hull and upper decks. Projections of geometric dazzle patterns obscure the vessel; after a short length of time they begin to merge and intersect each other to form very complex and disruptive patterns, almost making the vessel unrecognisable. Using colours that react with the current colour scheme as well as overlaying colours and patterns over the ship's facade, HMS Belfast is the 'razzle dazzle' of the Thames."

Though camouflage is originally a means of disguise - an optical illusion that you are not really there, or not that shape, or that you are actually something else entirely – it has enjoyed a civilian life where it is paraded as a visual fetish. It's part of what you might call the continual perversion of function by late capitalism: the kind of inversions that see workwear becoming leisurewear, peasant food becoming gourmet dining and so on.

On another note: I wonder if there is any truth to the story that HMS Belfast's guns are trained on Watford Gap service station - as though poised for some future North v South conflict?

Posted by sam at January 25, 2008 11:30 PM

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