In her photo series Disguise and Deception – A Mimetic Exchange of Strategies for Make Believe, the German artist Anika Schwarzlose questions strategies of (in)visibility, or more precisely: the principle of camouflage as an illusionistic tactic and form of visual deception. Originally founded as part of the National People’s Army of the GDR, “Disguise and Deception” is a special military unit, dedicated to researching camouflage techniques and building military decoys, which today belongs to the German armed forces. Schwarzlose photographed the military base’s workshops, collected archive photographs of the army unit, and took photographs of objects that she constructed herself.
In a conversation recorded for SITUATIONS/Strike, Anika Schwarzlose and Lijuan Klassen, researcher on Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam, speak about the book Disguise and Deception and reflect on camouflage in the context of critical environmental science. The conversation includes photographs from the collection of Fotomuseum Winterthur, excerpts from the film Shapeshift (2016, with Brian McKenna), and other contextualizing material from the artist’s image archive. Schwarzlose and Klassen discuss the phenomenon of camouflage and its entanglement between artistic strategy, military technology and biological mimicry.
More by Anika Schwarzlose: anikaschwarzlose.com