Disrupt, 2018, polyester and nylon elastane fabric, wood, metal, dimensions variable, and; Dazzle, 2016, series of 3 serigraphs on Moulin de Couzi paper, each 76 x 56 cm, photo: Scott Massey
Dazzle and Disrupt are part of an ongoing body of work investigating “dazzle” camouflage, a technique developed in the first decade of the twentieth century and used briefly on Allied naval battleships during World War I. The intent of dazzle or disruptive camouflage was not to conceal but to confuse: its graphic patterns of intersecting geometric shapes made it difficult for the enemy to estimate a target’s range, speed, and heading. In this series of works, the use of dazzle camouflage is mapped alongside contemporaneous cultural anxieties in Europe and North America about women’s increasing social, economic, intellectual and sexual freedom, and the furtive undermining of patriarchal systems and domesticity such new mobility implied.
The three serigraphic prints are taken from several degraded photographs published in New York newspapers in 1919 that depict three women modeling self-made dazzle swimwear on a beach. The corresponding garments are recreations of these swimsuits, made in collaboration with a pattern drafter, and draped over an asymmetrical dressing screen, an invitation for visitors to model them.