Study for Dazzle, 2013

The practice of painting naval ships with disruptive pattern camouflage, known as Dazzle, was initially used almost 100 years ago in the First World War. Ships were painted in bold coloured abstract shapes and patterns, with areas of dark and light tones placed next to each other to break up the outline and shape of the ship when it is viewed from a distance.

Schwenk and Zahalka propose to contemporise this naval history of camouflaging by creating a work of art made from human bodies.

A side view of a naval ship covered in Dazzle camouflage will be created on Middle Head Oval, Sydney, with military personnel and civilians lying down side by side.

This socially engaged work of  performance art will be filmed and photographed from a Navy helicopter and the ground to capture this historic event in all its nuances to be re-produced as finished artworks.

Schwenk and Zahalka, Study for Dazzle, 2013

 

 

Schwenk and Zahalka, Study for Dazzle, 2013
The practice of painting Naval ships with disruptive pattern camouflage, known as Dazzle was initially used almost 100 years ago in the First World War. Ships were painted in bold coloured abstract shapes and patterns, with areas of dark and light tones placed next to each other to break up the outline and shape of the ship when it is viewed from a distance.

Sylvia Schwenk and Anne Zahalka propose to contemporise this naval history of camouflaging by creating a work of art made from human bodies. A side view of a Naval ship will be marked out on Middle Head Oval with military personnel from HMAS Penguin and civilians lying down side by side to create a ‘naval ship’ covered in Dazzle camouflage. This participatory performance will be videoed and photographically recorded from a Navy helicopter to capture this historic event in all its nuances to be produced as finished artworks.

The project will encourage people to become performers and actively participate in the creative process of making a new work of art in a public space. It will also act as a bridge between the military, civilians and everyday life allowing for exchanges of ideas and creativity, making the Navy more accessible to the general public and vice-versa.

While the Navy and Mosman Art Gallery think Dazzle is an amazing project and would like to support its realisation, HMAS Penguin (a base with around 100 Naval personnel) does not have the resources to support such a large project.


Study for Dazzle is being shown as part of the exhibition Middle Head: 33° 50' S, 151°14' E at Mosman Art Gallery.