Camouflage Class

A 1943 “camouflage class” at NYU – students prepare for jobs in the Army or in industry by making models from aerial photographs. The models are themselves photographed and used to develop camouflage schemes; simulacrum of a landscape, encrypted with the fantasies of war.

A lot of artists have grappled with the effects of facsimile in this context – from Don Delillo’s most photographed barn in America, to the photography of Oliver Boeburg and Thomas Demand. In each case, with the continued replication of a scene comes a peeling-away of its original signification; uncanny and auratic, it becomes a place of unbridled potential, unsettled and pushed into a realm of the fictive and imaginary, hitherto camouflaged in geometries and landscapes of the everyday.