ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION CAMOUFLAGE (2015)
acrylic paint on paper
4 paintings, 65 x 65 cm each
When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?
- Deuteronomy Chapter 20 Verse 19 -
Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.
- The Rio Declaration, Principle 24, 1992
Camouflage is meant to blend with the environment – and often for sinister reasons. Taken out of its own context, a specific camouflage becomes more striking than anything else, an easy target to spot, as a meaningless optical average of a different environment. But that is still a common denominator that can be misused to unite with nature.
So why pretend an idyllic nature to blend with, in the first place? After military action, nature changes forever and the old camouflage becomes useless. It is just more natural to plan for the next move, and design the camouflage fitting the new environment that traditional camouflage is used to help create. Lands defoliated by Agent Orange, deserts lit by flaming oil wells.
The camouflages in this series all match a specific, historical war-environment: the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and the advance of the Islamic State helped by the 2007 droughts. The characteristically pixellated UCP uniform that proved to be a failure for the US Army but was acquired by the Islamic State is here redesigned to reflect the arid, infertile lands.